ABCs of scoring Olympic business 

A new guidebook has just been released for businesses interested in getting involved with the 2010 Games.

"There are a huge number of opportunities that people don’t really understand related to the Games," said Brian Krieger, director of the B.C. Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Secretariat, which produced the booklet with RBC Financial Group.

"People largely think (the Games) is about putting up huge buildings and speed skating ovals and things, so we really wanted to get the business community in British Columbia engaged in the real opportunities.

"We wanted to produce a piece that fired their imaginations about getting involved and what the possibilities were so that they could then move on to taking a procurement workshop or checking the Commerce 2010 website or talk to their local chamber of commerce."

Titled The Guide for Business Opportunities in the 2010 Winter Games it explains how businesses can find and bid on contracts, sub-contracts, sponsorship and licensing agreements related to the Games. It will be available at local Chambers of Commerce, RBC branches, Olympic information centres and Spirit of B.C. community committees.

The Whistler Chamber of Commerce also hosted a workshop this week on how to bid for procurement opportunities for the Games.

"There are opportunities happening right now," said Chamber president Bernie Lalor-Morton who, with the RMOW’s Bob Andrea, helped lead the workshop.

Both want to make sure that Whistler-based businesses are hooked into the process so that opportunities for contracting and sub-contracting can be followed up on.

Companies should be checking the Secretariat website frequently at www.2010commercecentre.gov.bc.ca said Lalor-Morton to find out more and partner with others looking for opportunities.

"We think this is an amazing opportunity," said Andrea, of the municipality’s Strategic Alliances and Events department. "It starts right now, goes through the Games, and will go on for 20 years after the Games."

But companies that don’t understand the criteria to win bids will lose out.

For example, said Andrea, VANOC and its related partners are very serious about choosing companies that have embraced sustainability. It needs to be reflected not just in environmental practices, but also in human resources, and economic policies.

"VANOC means what it says," said Andrea. "They are committed to delivering the most sustainable Games, not just environmentally but also with regard to everyday practices,"

The new government guidebook tells the stories of several companies who have received plum contracts after putting in bids for Olympic-related contracts.

One company, Mills Basics out of Vancouver, won the contract to furnish office supplies to VANOC. What made it stand out was that for years it had been giving disadvantaged individuals on the city’s poverty-stricken east side a chance to work and build self-respect.

The guide also outlines several things businesses can do right now. They include: registering companies with the government website so that opportunities can be matched with company profiles; attending workshops on procurement; consider sub-contracting or working in partnership with others to succeed; and don’t forget your core business while you plan and execute Olympic goals.

"Companies in B.C. owe it to themselves to start thinking about this and participate locally and get involved somehow," said Krieger.

"This is a once in a lifetime, the greatest marketing opportunity we have and the companies that can say that they supplied something are companies that are going to have a fantastic reputation afterwards."

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