More than 500 people from local businesses attended a Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games briefing at the ICC last week, to hear about how they could benefit from the largest sporting and cultural event ever to be held in the West Midlands region.
The event, which was hosted by former Team England Commonwealth triple jump champion, Jonathan Edwards and John Crabtree, Chair of the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee, included a networking breakfast and presentations from Neil Carney, Birmingham City Council’s project director for the Commonwealth Game’s and Ian Reid, the Organising Committee’s Interim Chief Executive Officer.
Also in attendance were West Midlands Team England athletes Sarah-Jane Perry, who won squash singles silver at this year's Commonwealth Games, and Nathaniel Brown, who travelled to the Games as a wrestling training patner.
After the event John Crabtree said: “I was delighted to see so many businesses from across Birmingham and the region at the ICC. It was an excellent chance to explain how they can put themselves in the best possible position to benefit from the significant boost that hosting the Games will bring to the West Midlands.
“We know from recent editions of the Games that it’s possible that more than 80% of the Organising Committee’s contracts will be won by local or regional businesses and today’s event has kick started that process of ensuring the city and region is truly competitive.
“The Organising Committee is very much looking forward to working with local companies over the next four years, to ensure that we deliver a lasting economic legacy across the West Midlands and beyond.”
Jonathan Edwards, who shared with the audience his experience of competing at three and working at three different editions of the Commonwealth Games, said: “I was lucky enough to compete in Birmingham many times in my athletics career, so I’ve witnessed first-hand the passion that local people have for sport and today I’ve also seen how passionate the regional business community is.
“I have no doubt that working closely together over the next four years, the local business people I’ve met today will use that passion and determination to ensure that they take full advantage of the opportunity that having a major multi-sport event on their door step will bring.”
The event also included a panel session, with a chance for the audience to quiz Saqib Bhatti, President of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Ian MacLeod, Birmingham City Council’s Assistant Director for Planning and Regeneration, Rebecca Battman, Head of Brand at RBL in Leamington Spa, who have already won a contract to work with the Organising Committee and Laura Vernett, Marketing Director from Harper Macleod, the legal firm that won a major contract for Glasgow 2014.
Those attending the event, which was co-ordinated by FinditinBirmingham and supported by local and regional Chambers of Commerce, Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships, were given practical advice on how to apply for Games related projects and opportunities, contracting insights from previous Games and were encouraged to register on the new Birmingham 2022 Business Portal - birmingham2022.com/businessportal – which was also launched today. This website will advertise all available Games contracts, with the majority of contracts being available closer to the event.
More information about the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, which will be staged from 27 July to 7 August – twenty years after the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games and ten years on from the London 2012 Olympic Games – can be found at www.birmingham2022.com