Get set for Olympic business

Published: Wednesday 27th July 11

With just one year to go today until the start of the 2012 London Olympic Games the council is urging local firms to start preparing for the challenges and opportunities the competition will bring to the capital.

Traders are likely to experience significant disruptions during the Games as the city's transport network copes with an enormous surge in demand.

Journeys made by employees, customers, visitors and suppliers could all be affected.

For many Wandsworth businesses the Games will also be a very lucrative trading period and a chance to make new contacts with customer and suppliers from all over the world. 

In particular the borough's leisure, retail, catering and tourism industries will be looking forward to a boost in earnings which could begin some weeks before the opening ceremony.

There are already opportunities to win contracts linked to the Games through the CompeteFor service which links suppliers of all types and sizes to the Olympic delivery authorities. Signing up is free, and subscribers also get the chance to bid for work from other major organisations like Crossrail, TfL and the Met Police. 

Following the Games there could also be a legacy of increased investment across London as a result of the city's heightened global profile. Previous host cities have experienced lasting commercial benefits including a rise in regeneration activity and tourism.

Leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia said:

"The Games will be huge opportunity to showcase the best of London and we will be working hard to make sure Wandsworth catches the eye of international investors. Areas with obvious potential for growth and regeneration, like Nine Elms, Wandsworth Town and Tooting, will be of particular interest to overseas companies looking to take a stake in the London market.

"There will also be serious challenges involved in running a business in the host city. Transport routines will be heavily disrupted by the four million or so extra visitors we expect to have in the capital and normal trading patterns will significantly change. With just one year to go today until the start of the Games it's essential that every local firm begins to examine how they will be affected, and prepares a plan for how it will cope.

"This is particularly important for the borough's thousands of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) which are more vulnerable to delays and hold ups as they tend to operate with relativity low levels of cash flow, stock and staff.

"There is some very good advice available [see links below] on how businesses can capitalise on the opportunities presented by the Olympics and how to avoid the potential pitfalls. I strongly recommend that local firms begin developing their strategy now so they reap the maximum benefits from this once in a lifetime sporting event.

"Another very important step smaller firms can take in the run up to the Olympics is to ensure they are receiving their full entitlement to small business rates relief (SBRR). Many traders are missing out on annual savings of up to £2,500 which could make a vital difference during London 2012. 

"The council has also introduced the option of spreading rates payments over 12 months instead of the standard ten to help businesses of all sizes manage their cash flow better."

For more information on how to apply for small business rates relief visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/businessrates

For more information on the council's business support services visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/business

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