How will you be remembered in 2013?
So far, 2013 has been an auspicious year. Great Britain has received more foreign investment in the last year than any other European country rising by 11% and the economy has grown by 0.6% in the last quarter. Andy Murray won the men’s singles Wimbledon title this summer, the first time a British man has held the title for 77 years and the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton has given birth to Prince George much to the delight of most of the world. Could 2013 be the most important year of your life?
Good news can have a lasting effect and the positive PR generated by happy events in the UK seems to result in people all over the world wanting to connect with us in some way and choose to do business with UK based companies. There is evidence that positive PR boosts the economy even though it is difficult to assess the extent of this factor partly because it takes time for the influence of positive events to take shape economically.
It is worth noting we are still reaping the benefits of last year. The public response to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was extremely positive psychologically and research for the UK Trade and Investment Department (UKTI) shows a resulting economic improvement as well.
Since hosting the Games this governmental department responsible for promoting business in the UK states there has been an increase of £9.9 billion in new contracts, sales and foreign investment, though this figure has been met with scepticism with suggestions that the Games are not wholly responsible. The level of influence the Games has had is debateable, but whatever the original trigger for speculation, it has spilled out beyond London. It seems that 58% of the £2.5 billion in additional inward investment has occurred outside London with particularly big increases of foreign investment coming into Wales and Northern Ireland.
The construction industry has certainly benefited directly from the Olympics with UK companies being asked to work on various venues in other host countries. Projects such as the Winter Olympic site in Russia where British businesses were involved have contributed to an estimated £1.5 billion worth of contracts outside the UK. Other foreign projects delivered by UK companies include the transport and urban regeneration sectors.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary is optimistic about this positive effect continuing and suggests that the UK could reap the economic rewards of as much as £40 billion by 2020. Patience is a key factor. Mike Cherry, the National Policy Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses is disappointed with the number of contracts generated outside London, but results do appear to take time. As the Olympics Legacy Ambassador, Lord Sebastian Coe has stated, just as the Games took ten years to win and deliver, the legacy for lasting change may take another ten years.
We have had a promising start and it is worth remembering that construction projects and the setting up of businesses require thoughtful planning and time for profits to accumulate. Just as the Olympic Games in 2012 are still serving as a catalyst for generating business, the positive events so far this year will continue to do so even if the influence is intangible, so if you are thinking of setting up a project then now is a good time to do it. Lord Green, the Trade and Investment Minister is confident the UK will continue to remain a world leader in business and the Government has stated it will create the most appealing tax system in the G20 to perpetuate the trend of foreign investment in Britain.
Is this going to be the year that you decide to take the plunge and become the entrepreneur you have often dreamt about? In 2113, are your descendants going to mark the 100th anniversary of the company you launched this very year with quaint holograms of your newly re-sprayed shopfront?