James Caan: “Don’t leave entrepreneurs out of the Olympics”

“£20bn will be poured into the country’s economy from the Games. Surely small firms should be a part of that?”

Caan has been liaising with the likes of Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and twice gold medallist, to put together a new TV show called The Golden Entrepreneur. "I’ll be travelling around the country looking for entrepreneurs who can make a difference to the Games," he says. "I want to get this country excited. And I want to make sure the Olympics has a national appeal.”

He says the show’s judging panel will include a “celebrity” Olympic athlete who will help evaluate the line-up of entrepreneurs.

“The characteristics of an athlete mirror those of an entrepreneur. They go through the same journey; they have to have passion, tenacity and learn to bounce back from the knocks.”

Sir Alan Collins, the UKTI Ambassador for London 2012 and a fellow speaker at today’s CBI Business Summit, says he supports Caan’s attempt to bring the Games into the national consciousness.

“We have to raise interest levels and unleash national pride,” he says. "We need to market the event in new and exciting ways. This shouldn’t be about filling out forms, it should be about YouTube clips and new media.

“We must use the country’s political might, economic strength and the buzz around the Games to create ‘Brand UK’ and market ourselves to other countries,” he continues.

Truett Tate, a group executive director at Lloyds TSB, a tier one sponsor of the 2012 Games, reckons the event will help pull Britain out of a slowdown and springboard participating businesses into the limelight.

“This is a chance for small companies to go from local to regional to national to global. Every company involved will get ‘bragging rights’.”

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