Victorian Industry prepare for Rio Olympic Games following success in London
Australia’s major sporting event expertise was showcased recently at the London 2012 Olympic Games with over 50 companies contributing to what has been widely recognised as one of the most successful Olympics. With the conclusion of the London Games, all eyes now turn to Rio 2016 Olympic Games and Industry Capability Network (ICN) Victoria is already focused on ensuring Australia’s expertise will be equally influential.
 
Victorian companies were well represented in London, involved with everything from stadium cleaning to event management, surface manufacturing to sporting equipment supply.
 
The team behind Melbourne based Event Planning Group (EPG) have been part of every Olympic Games since Atlanta in 1996. In London, EPG provided over 100 staff to assist the venue and infrastructure (V&I) department within the London Organising Committee (LOCOG) manage nine competition venues and three non-competition venues in the Olympic Park.
 
EPG Director Jake Benson was the Deputy General Manager of the Olympic Park, managing over 200,000 spectators to the park every day across the Olympics. “London provided a great opportunity for EPG to apply lessons learnt from previous major events”, said EPG Director and V&I Group Lead Andrew Sharp. “London delivered more temporary overlay infrastructure than any other Olympic Games in history and EPG’s team worked with LOCOG to project manage that delivery across all venues.”
 
Cleanevent, also involved with every Olympic Games since Atlanta, continued to lead the way in delivering world-class cleaning and housekeeping services, with a workforce of almost 4,000 covering 12 venues within the main Olympic Park, 10 other Olympic stadiums and three Olympic villages.
 
Victorian based Sports Technology International (STI) continued to reinforce Australia’s leading position in artificial sporting surfaces. STI’s blue and pink ‘Poligras Olympia’ field hockey pitch was the centerpiece of the Riverbank Arena and imposed a striking image for the global audience. “We are very proud our company assisted LOCOG and the International Hockey Federation creating a great legacy for London as well as the sport of hockey”, said STI Director, Martin Schlegel.
 
Victoria’s influence on the hockey also continued on the pitch. Kookaburra Sport has been the official Olympic ball supplier since Los Angeles in 1984, and in addition supplied their class leading hockey sticks to many of the Olympic players.
 
On behalf of the Victorian Government, ICN’s International Program Manager, Candida Costa-Wong travelled to London during the Games to connect Australian companies with key stakeholders in the Rio 2016 Games. These included industry seminars and one-on-one meetings with the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, Brazilian Olympic Committee, the Rio Municipal Olympic Company and the Brazilian National Development Bank.
 
“The ICN-led Victorian Government trade mission to London, combined with the Australia Unlimited campaign, provided great assistance to Australian companies like STI to continue their export activities” said Mr. Schlegel. “It is important to remember that other countries have hosted major events and their respective governments identify and support their own companies to compete with Australian expertise. Government backing can make the difference between having to line-up at the procurement office or engaging with decision makers directly.”
 
"The support provided by ICN and the Australian Government is now more critical than ever”, added Mr. Sharp, “as the UK Government are really ramping up their own initiatives to compete against established Australian companies in the major events sector following the London Olympics”.
 
From January 2010 to December 2011, ICN delivered a Supplier Access to Major Projects (SAMP) program that assisted 50 companies and generated $38M in export orders related to Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil. In November this year ICN will be supporting a trade mission to South America that will continue to build on these relationships to identify additional opportunities in sports, major events, infrastructure and water.