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The EDP Business round table event on the Olympic legacy for Norfolk. From left, Peter Mitchell, Jonathan Denby, Jon Cockburn, Paul Evans, Danny Nobbs, Shaun Lowthorpe, Keith Fenwick and Phil Steele. Picture: Denise Bradley
Shaun Lowthorpe, Business editor
Monday, November 12, 2012
Businesses in Norfolk need to come together and help keep the spirit forged during the Olympics burning bright to help win new work in future and boost the local economy.
That was the key finding of a specially convened EDP Business Roundtable, which brought together some of our leading firms, business leaders and ex-Norfolk Olympians to ask whether the county had made enough of the Olympic legacy.
Supported by Marsh, the aim of the roundtable series is to look at some of the key issues affecting Norfolk’s business community, from training and skills, to infrastructure and corporate culture.
Keith Fenwick, chief executive of insurance giant Marsh in Norwich, said it was vital to build on the feelgood factor brought about by the Games.
“For me the Olympics were about the feelgood factor and the fact that we were very good at doing something,” he said. “I just felt really proud of what we did and what we achieved.”
Key themes to emerge were the need for the county to build on the success of the Torch Relay and focus on a select number of events which could be better planned and promoted.
Businesses which had succeeded in winning contracts for the Games were also urged to share some of the lessons of their success to help firms with future procurement issues from public sector work to the next generation of offshore projects.
Caroline Williams, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber, said: “I think it is confidence. Norfolk has got so much going for it at the moment. People are feeling positive and it’s just believing in yourselves and not being fed up any more.
“Overall, the business community is feeling positive, but it would be helpful to have the key events where people can actually get together. We are all a lot more isolated in this technological world, but people do need to get together. I think it’s important to have things around that people can get enthusiastic about.”
Robert Hughes, managing director of Hughes Electrical, which won a major contract to supply white goods to the Olympic Village said: “Aren’t we getting fed up with being fed up? In the Olympics we had the best four weeks of this year. We’d hoped there would be a continuing mindset of ‘let’s be proud to be British and let’s sort this out’. I would hope that would be the lasting legacy. If people are happy they will spend and I think this has added to that positive mindset. I am far more hopeful now than I have been at any point in the last four years. I’m not saying the light is at the end of the tunnel, but I think we are far closer to the end than we are the beginning of it.”
See pages 6-7 for special roundtable report.
Question marks surround the fate of several development projects in and around King’s Lynn after the developers behind the project went into administration.