The possible opportunities available to local business owners when the Commonwealth Games come to the Black Country in 2022 have been outlined at a special forum.
Chief Executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Colin Crane, described it as an ‘exciting opportunity’ and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership 2022 Games representative Lindsey Flynn said it was a ‘game-changing moment’.
The forum, at West Bromwich Albion Football Club on March 20, highlighted opportunities in culture and, along with how Birmingham could be better promoted and how it would build a positive reputation following the event.
Using current resources to capacity as well as engaging with local businesses to secure contracts were part of the six main areas identified.
Lindsey Flynn said: “The games coming to Birmingham and the Black Country is an absolutely once in a lifetime, game-changing moment for us, for our businesses and for our communities.
“The eyes of the world will be on Birmingham for two weeks, 1.5 billion people watching this event, how can we use that positively?
“The economic impact it will have, the jobs which are being created along with people spending money in our area, it’s a massive opportunity.”
Smethwick based Techniswage Limited was involved in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games and director Paul Fellows said his company would be happy to be involved again for this ceremony.
He said: “We got a call back in 2010 asking if we could make some parts for a UK-based company, they asked for specific sizing and after a few changes we started making the parts, to us it was totally new tooling.
“We agreed on a price, we were told to make around 126 of these items and they needed to be ready for the following April, we were set a specific date and we were told that it had to be delivered on that very day.
“We signed the NDA and produced the parts, we weren’t allowed to know what it was going to be for, and we were told it was top secret, code name Betty, something in the smoke for a big event.
“Later in that year, I was at a concert with my family, watching the opening ceremony on the big screen, it’s then I realised as the teams were filing in, our parts were on show!
“The whole thing was just incredible, I could not believe it.”
Mr Fellows said if the right opportunity came up, his company could again play a part in the upcoming Commonwealth Games development.
The guest of honour, was 2018 Commonwealth Games silver squash medallist Sarah-Jane Perry, who discussed her sporting experiences and her preparation ahead of Birmingham 2022.
Sarah-Jane passed around the silver medal she won in the previous games and said there were many opportunities for success in the upcoming games.
“You’ve heard about the business side, but I think the sporting side is also important, the two can support each other for the upcoming games,” she said.
“For an athlete, squash in the Commonwealth games is the pinnacle of our careers, it only comes once every four years and it’s just huge.
“As soon as I heard Birmingham 2022, I started preparing my mind for it, I asked myself how can I improve this time and clinch a gold medal?”
The next Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 forum will be on June 4 at Higgs and Sons in Brierley Hill, at 7.45am.