Olympics 2012 - A missed opportunity to promote small business in the UK?

With the London 2012 Olympics just around the corner, I’m wondering (in a personal capacity) if they’re a huge, missed opportunity to promote small business here in the UK?There’s no doubt that the games will be a fantastic sporting event, and despite various hitches and complaints by the media and politicians in the run up, I’m 100% sure that we’ll look back at London 2012 as an example of all that is good in sport and Britain today.

(The BBC in particular are using the event to push some truly groundbreaking innovations by providing live coverage of every London 2012 sport from every venue throughout the day, making the most of iPlayer, the ‘Red button’, a free mobile app, their website and social media channels).

Apparently 1 million visitors are expected in London between 27 July-12 August and with events taking place throughout the country there will undoubtedly be benefits to local shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels, whether deliberate or indirect.

However, the branding guidelines published by LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) are clearly all about protecting large, corporate, ‘official’ (and mostly international) sponsors of the games but do nothing to support small businesses or encourage entrepreneurial activity in the UK.

The London 2012 Olympics seem like a totally missed opportunity to me and I’m not along in thinking this with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) launching a crowdsourced ‘Open for Business’ Google map to promote small businesses and The Kernel publishing an excellent article on the topic titled ‘Whatever you do, don’t mention the Olympics‘.

What do you think?

With the current state of the UK economy, I’d like to ask readers if they think the Government should be using the London 2012 Olympics to support and encourage small businesses across the UK?

How do you think this could be done? Could the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 and branding guidelines be relaxed during the event? Will you be ignoring them and using the Olympics to promote your business regardless?

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