£11bn four-year Olympic legacy target smashed in a year

Unprecedented economic benefit from UK businesses trading overseas announced during UKTI-led Export is Great week

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has announced that a four-year target to generate £11bn of economic benefit from the Olympic and Paralympic Games has been met in just over a year.

Businesses met the £11.06bn target through a combination of contract wins, additional sales and new foreign investment.

The figure includes £130m worth of contracts won by UK companies for the upcoming Brazilian World Cup and Olympic Games in 2014 and 2016, as well as 60 contracts won by mid-sized UK companies for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

UKTI launched the Olympic legacy drive last year through its ‘British Business Embassy’ programme, which included 17 events and a Global Investment conference.

Lord Green, trade and investment minister, said: “The delivery of London 2012 on time and on budget led to hosting nations turning to the UK to help deliver their own events with supply opportunities running into the billions.

“UK Trade & Investment has played a key role in helping British companies maximise these opportunities and the result is a £11.06bn boost to the UK economy from the Games, reaching our four year target in just over a year.

The announcement that the four-year target has been smashed came during the UKTI-run Export Week, a programme of regional events to encourage British businesses to look overseas for growth opportunities.

Around 5,000 companies took part in a series of events across the UK, which saw a raft of high-profile export deals announced.

Business secretary Vince Cable, who spearheaded the scheme, also led a trade mission to Russia this week as part of Export Week.

30 companies joined Cable on the trade mission, with one of the deals signed set to create a new £30m fund to help small firms export to the region.

Lord Green said, “The UK’s future prosperity will not come from relying on domestic markets alone and we have seen a major push to encourage firms across the UK to sell overseas during our biggest Export Week yet.”

Export Week also saw the launch of the national Exporting is GREAT campaign, which is set to target three million people in order to drive £1.2m in export revenue.

One of the businesses featured as part of the campaign was cheese producer Alvis Bros, which has grown its export volume from around 4% to 25% of its overall revenue in four years, targeting markets across the globe.

Alvis said its ‘Made In Britain’ designation has been a key selling point in overseas markets and has helped to drive this growth – with the London Olympics also providing a significant boost.

Another business featured was engineering consultancy Cundall, which prepared the engineering design for the white-water rafting event at London 2012 and recently won a similar contract to provide its services at the Rio 2016 venue.

Carole O’Neil, a partner at Cundall, said: “London 2012 showcased UK expertise and talent to the world and has helped us to win work at RIO 2016. Our ambition now is to win work at every Olympics.

“I would encourage other companies thinking about growing their business to look overseas and exploit the demand for products that are made and designed by British companies.”

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