Speaker Series Launches With Expert From Sydney Games

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The RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series launched in October 2006 with Margy Osmond as the first speaker. Then Chief Executive of the State Chamber of Commerce of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia, Osmond created the Sydney 2000 Olympic Commerce Centre to guide businesses seeking Olympic contracts. Osmond made presentations in Vancouver, Kamloops and Prince George as part of the series.

The Commerce Centre gave businesses a single point of contact, assisted with lobbying activities and helped determine long-term legacies. The Games brought NSW $3 billion (AUD) in business benefits. Returns included direct investment in infrastructure and other improvements, long-term contracts for industries, and investment in regional communities.

"BC communities are very, very lucky to have the mechanism – the 2010 Commerce Centre – already in place to help them," said Osmond, adding that the RBC Guide for Business Opportunities was also a helpful resource.

She emphasized that regional communities need to "make some noise" to get attention from investors and media, noting that coverage of the Games equalled about $6 billion (AUD) in advertising. She urged communities to connect with their local Chamber of Commerce and Spirit of BC committee to determine how to maximize opportunities. She also cited hosting training camps for Olympic and Paralympic teams as a key way to boost regional economies.

Osmond also organized an Olympic Business Roundtable, a think-tank that explored business opportunities. To capture innovations unrelated to the Games, Sydney held the Australian Technology Showcase – the event brought in $30 million (AUD) in new contracts.

The biggest challenge of the Commerce Centre was engaging and motivating businesses, said Osmond. She encouraged businesses to think big and consider clustering with other companies to improve chances for a successful bid. Businesses also need to plan staffing schedules early to accommodate employee vacations during the Games, extended business hours, commuters dealing with traffic restrictions and related issues.

"The Games changed the level of confidence in Australia," said Osmond. "We see ourselves differently and the world sees us differently. That’s a sustainable legacy that no one can take away."

The RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series hosted ten internationally-acclaimed speakers who shared their Olympic and Paralympic expertise with businesses and communities throughout BC. From 2006-2008, these speakers visited several communities to share their knowledge and experience. They also participated in an interview which was webcast live and archived online at 2010LegaciesNow.com. The program was sponsored by RBC, CTV, the Province of British Columbia and the Vancouver Sun.