Olympic investment drive to generate £1bn for UK economy

Canape. Glass of champagne. Gander at the velodrome. And bingo! A new joint venture for a housing development is born. At least, that's what David Cameron is hoping...

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
After yesterday’s dire GDP figures, the Prime Minister is under more pressure than a Bulgarian Olympic 56 kilo weightlifter to try generate some good news for the economy. Plan A: to schmooze some serious cash out of wealthy dignitaries, arriving to watch London 2012.

A host of ‘investment events’ will be held at Lancaster House in Central London, where more than 4,000 business leaders and politicians will sip Olympic-themed cocktails – a Strongmanhattan? A Long Jump Island Iced Tea? - and talk shop.

These informal events will hopefully generate an estimated £1bn in investment deals for the UK. Although, there is actually no way to prove that they will do any such thing. This is the proverbial finger in the wind from UK Trade and Investment, which is hosting the 17 London events (one of which is geared solely toward a country with very deep pockets indeed: China).

Of course, sport and deal-making do go hand in hand. Connections are made in corporate boxes at footie matches. Deals are done on the golf course. Ideas fleshed out between lunges at the gym. But with government forecasting £13m in inward investment as a result of the Games (through deal-making and tourism), David Cameron better have his tongue especially silvered for the occasion.

Here’s his starting pitch: ‘At a time when it is global business partnerships, new investments and start-up ventures that will help get the world back to growth, nothing symbolises the opportunity of partnership and collaboration more than the Olympics,’ he said today. ‘I've got a job to do this summer, and a big part of that job is to get behind British business, and do everything I can to help secure the trade and investment that will help get the world back to sustained, global growth.’

It’s too early to say whether that pretty speech will prove a billion-pound money-spinner, but you certainly win a gold medal for effort, Dave…

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