British companies that played a key role in creating the London Olympics will be allowed to use their involvement in the Games to promote themselves under a new licensing agreement.
The unsung businesses that helped design, build and run the venues, including the Olympic Park in Stratford, will be able to apply to be recognised as participants in creating the 2012 Games.
“This should be a catalyst in creating new business opportunities and further growth for these companies, and that is an important economic legacy of the Games,” said British Olympic Authority (BOA) chairman Lord Coe.
The deal between the Government, the BOA and the International Olympic Committee is the first of its kind after an Olympic Games. It comes as companies are looking to use the experience built up in London to pitch for work at major sporting events in Brazil, Russia and Qatar over the next decade.
Brazil is hosting the football World Cup next year and the Olympics in 2016. Russia is hosting the World Cup in 2018, with Qatar holding the event in 2022.
Almost all the small companies and many of the larger ones that took part in the Olympics have been unable to use their involvement with Games in promotion work because of strict licensing agreements. Restrictions on companies that worked on the Games were some of the toughest ever created for a sporting event of its kind.
However, with billions of pounds of business currently up for grabs and many UK companies well placed to secure it, pressure has been growing for some kind of relaxation in the rules.
The move was welcomed by the Federation of Small Businesses, although it warned that licences needed to be issued promptly to allow British businesses to leverage the experience they gained at the London Games.
Many household names, such as construction companies Balfour Beatty (Other OTC: BAFBF - news) and McAlpine, worked on the Games for years leading up to the July opening. Although their participation is widely known about in their industries, they have not been allowed to trumpet their work elsewhere unless they paid to be sponsors.
Only official suppliers to the Games, companies that paid millions of pounds to carry the Olympic (BSE: OLPCL.BO - news) logo, have been allowed to associate themselves with the event. Around 40 companies paid £700m to sponsor the London Games in addition to the big, regular international sponsors of the event.
Companies that receive licences will now be allowed to promote their Olympic role at trade fairs and when going for international contracts.
The Government has put aside £2m to help fund the scheme, which will be operated by the BOA.