Glasgow 2014: Opportunity knocks for business

Games banners in Glasgow

As the countdown continues to the start of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July, businesses reflect on the opportunities the event presents for them.

In a high-roofed factory on an industrial estate in Glenrothes, Fife, sheets of metal are fed through a machine to be bent into what will eventually be ventilation ducts.

The mainstay of family business Ductform, which now employs about 80 people, is the manufacture and installation of ventilation duct work, mainly in construction but also in the marine and oil and gas sectors.

The company has recently completed some work on a number of Games venues.

"As far as Ductform is concerned, it's had a huge impact on our business," says managing director Stacey-Lee Ferry.

"It came at a critical time when many sectors were going through difficulties. It's been just a saviour really."

Welder working at Ductform Ventilation duct firm Ductform says the Games have been "a saviour"

The factory may be busy now with noisy machines punching out metal and sparks flying from welding, but there have been hard times over the past few years, including pay cuts and reduced working hours.

It was really "survival", explains Ms Ferry. She credits the workforce with supporting the company through it.

"I think the legacy for us," she says, "was that it was the beginning of the upturn, the beginning of security for us and some improvement we could build upon for the future."

In various parts of Glasgow colourful banners announcing the Games have been put up, part of the drive to get things ready.

Start Quote

For some businesses this will be a major platform for them to go out into the circuit of major events around the world ”

End Quote Stuart Patrick Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

Some businesses have already benefited from work. A legacy evaluation report published in April by the Scottish government found that building firms had won £313m worth of contracts relating to the Games so far.

During the Games, restaurants, hotels and other services will be much busier than usual, with 6,500 athletes and officials in the country as well as visitors.

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, says: "For some businesses this will be a major platform for them to go out into the circuit of major events around the world that occur year in, year out.

"But really for the city it's about telling a new story of Glasgow's economy and selling the strengths and assets that we have to new customers."

He points to other cities like Barcelona, which he says have made changes on the back of big events.

He is keen to emphasise Glasgow's strengths in areas such as engineering, life sciences, financial services and energy.

The chamber will be running a series of events during the Games designed to connect businesses from around the world.

Aerial view of Barcelona financial district Business leaders say cities like Barcelona made changes thanks to big events

But it is not just the Commonwealth Games which is happening this year.

In November 2013, the Federation of Small Businesses conducted a poll among its Scottish members about what impact they expected major events such as the Games and the Ryder Cup to have on their business.

Most felt they would be good for the Scottish economy as a whole but less than a quarter thought they would have a positive impact on their business.

Some businesses though do expect to feel the benefits: "It's just really exciting for me as a hotelier," says Duncan Johnston, general manager at the Carlton George Hotel in Glasgow city centre.

They have had extra business in the run-up to the games from sponsors and contractors and expect to be pretty much full during the Games.

He says "responsible hoteliers" won't be putting up rates which were submitted in 2006.

"We're thinking of the big picture and the long-term benefits for us as businesses."

'Spotlight on Scotland'

Some businesses are also busy preparing their staff for the event. In a smallish room at the offices of First ScotRail, a group of employees is gathered round tables, listening. Later in the day they will be doing some role-play.

They are learning how to welcome and help some of the many visitors from around the world who are expected to make the trip to Glasgow.

"They'll be people coming from all areas," says Joanne Beavers who works at a customer service centre.

"The spotlight's on Scotland - I'm looking forward to it."

Central Station, Glasgow Rail staff in Glasgow are learning how to welcome visitors attending the Games

First ScotRail is one of the Games' sponsors.

"Clearly we want to be associated with the games," says managing director Steve Montgomery.

"We see it as a major achievement, we think it will say what Scotland's about and what ScotRail is about."

The Games have a number of legacy ambitions. In an economic sense, these include building business capacity and awareness, showcasing Scotland's goods and services and employment and training opportunities.

On the eve of the Games, a business conference is taking place in Glasgow.

"I guess it's all about confidence-building through what we call the winning years," says Professor Joe Goldblatt, executive director of the International Centre for the Study of Planned Events at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.

He points to the number of big events taking place in Scotland this year.

"There really could be an opportunity to drive this forward from an economic and a business perspective but it's going to require confidence," he says.

He adds that from studying other events there is typically a three-year window of opportunity.

In autumn next year a post-Games legacy assessment is due out, with further updates in 2017 and 2019.

You can hear more about business surrounding the Commonwealth Games by listening to BBC Radio Scotland's Business Scotland programme at 6:02 on Saturday and again at 10:02 on Sunday.

The programme will also be available by free download.

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Scotland Live

    08:34: "Off day" for Bolt?

    He may be the most popular athlete in the world, but Usain Bolt has risked the wrath of Glaswegians by calling the Commonwealth Games "a bit s***".

    Usain Bolt poses with children at Glasgow 2014

    Speaking to The Times newspaper, Bolt, who is set to run for Jamaica in the 4 x 100m relay at Hampden on Friday and Saturday, said "the Olympics were better".

    A spokesman for the Commonwealth Games Federation dismissed Bolt's comments, and described Glasgow 2014 as "fantastic". He added that the athletics superstar must be "having an off day".

    08:30: Listen live
    Gary Robertson

    Click on the link at the top of page to listen to Gary Robertson and Hayley Millar on Good Morning Scotland.

    08:08: Record breaking

    Glasgow 2014 is Scotland's most successful ever Games following Tuesday's men's team gymnastics silver.

    Scotland's Jen McIntosh

    Swimmer Daniel Wallace added to that tally when he won silver in the men's 200m individual medley after arriving at the pool wearing a kilt.

    Shooter Jen McIntosh, pictured above, also won silver in the 50m rifle 3 positions - becoming the first Scottish woman to win five Commonwealth medals in the process.

    And a bronze at the end of the day for hammer thrower Mark Dry at Hampden Park took the host nation's medal tally to 37.

    08:02: Bigger and better Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    If you click on the Scotland Live link on the BBC News Scotland homepage, you'll notice that we've moved to a new and improved format.

    The main change is that the page is bigger, brighter and more lively and we'll be able to bring you more high quality pictures and video.

    If you click on the Key Video tab, you'll find video highlights of Team Scotland's successes in swimming, shooting and gymnastics, and footage of Princes William and Harry meeting Usain Bolt.

    We hope you like it - let us know what you think using Twitter #ScotlandLive or by email.

    07:35: Games travel BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    There's lots going on at the SECC precinct today, so Exhibition Centre station will be particularly busy.

    If you're going to the athletics at Hampden, don't forget to leave plenty of time for your journey - Mount Florida station is likely to be exceptionally busy. Shuttle buses are running from the city centre.

    On the roads, the Clyde Expressway eastbound is restricted near Finnieston Street, so only use it for essential journeys and expect delays if you do.

    In Edinburgh, diving gets under way at the Royal Commonwealth Pool this morning, with restrictions in place around Holyroodpark Road and Dalkeith Road.

    07:27: Good Morning Scotland BBC Radio Scotland

    Hayley Miller and Gary Robertson are live on BBC Radio Scotland with all the latest national and international news and analysis, including a preview of the day's sporting action at Glasgow 2014.

    Listen online here.

    07:15: Today's weather BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    It's a cloudy start for many of us with some outbreaks of rain across parts of the west from Argyll stretching across to Dundee and north of the Great Glen.

    The showers will become less frequent and more scattered during the morning and it will continue to brighten up as we go into the afternoon. It'll be mainly dry with some brightness in the east for much of the day, with more sunshine coming through for the afternoon.

    It'll be a noticeably breezy day with a fresh westerly - strong along the north coast and up through the Northern Isles. Winds ease as we go through the afternoon, with temperatures holding up at 20C to 21C at best, most likely through Inverness and down the east coast from Aberdeen, down through Dundee and Edinburgh.

    Closer to 18C in and around the Glasgow area, 17C for the Western Isles and a cooler and fresher 15C up through the Northern Isles.

    06:55: Welcome Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Good morning and welcome to BBC Scotland Live, your minute-by-minute guide to all the action and atmosphere at day seven of Glasgow 2014.

    We will, of course, also bring you all the latest news, sport, weather and travel from across the country.

    Let us know what you think and send us your pics. You can tweet us using #ScotlandLive, email us here or text using 80295.



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