Baird urges businesses to go for Olympic gold7 August 2012
.UK Trade & Investment's (UKTI) chief executive Nick Baird has stressed that the effects of the Olympic Games can be felt across the UK for years to come.
Speaking to Insider, he said the business opportunities were not confined to London and he expects more than £1bn worth of deals to be struck during the duration of the games.
"With the Olympics, the eyes of the world really are on the UK at the moment," he said. "There is real interest in businesses here at the moment and we have to capitalise."
Baird said UKTI events are taking place across England and Wales to highlight how companies can get involved, while online network the British Business Club will provide a business guide to the games for those wanting to make the most of this opportunity.
"We are an internationally focused country, but there are opportunities to become substantially better than we are at the moment," he said. "Domestic demand is constrained so we have to get even better in the international space to get growth back into the economy."
Baird said a string of deals have already been done since the games started, many of them being struck at the British Business Embassy at Lancaster House in London. The embassy has been set up to showcase the UK's strengths and provide meeting and networking opportunities.
"I have been working with a group called the Chinese Entrepreneurs Club last week, for example, which is a collection of some of China's largest privately-owned businesses," said Baird.
"They are fantastically impressed by the opportunities in the UK for their businesses. Some of them are already here, but the large majority of them are not here yet."
Baird added: "I strongly believe that virtually every business with a product that is competitive within this economy can be selling internationally.
"We have to see the Olympics as a platform on which to build in the years to come. That is why I am urging more businesses to look internationally and take advantage of this fantastic opportunity."