Tonight is the big night.
I have always been interested in business. Before going to university I had a couple of minutes of agony – thinking that I might instead attend theatre school – but I never felt confident enough in my acting ability to chose that line of work.
Having said that, I have always had great admiration for those with extraordinary talents in arts and sports. My father, a marine archaeologist, was a good example of someone who managed to turn his passion into his life’s work and who very much enjoyed his job. The arts and sports are like the cherry on life’s cake. The fun stuff professionally just meant for the bold and beautiful.
And today, one of the absolute most important sporting events in the world opens in the UK – London 2012. At 9pm BST, the Queen will open the Olympiad in London during a spectacular opening ceremony. The preparations have been long, the expectations are high and the weather – well, we are keeping our fingers crossed.
I am particularly keen on following the football. The Euro 2012 was a great start of the summer and I will most probably not miss a single game in the Olympic football – men’s or women’s. But not “only” the sports are celebrated during the coming weeks.
We are also taking the opportunity to make this global sports fete into a time where we jubilate international business and trade.
We are gathering 4,000 world leaders, policy makers and investors in London for something called the Global Investment Conference and the British Business Embassy – a series of global business summits being held in London to celebrate international trade and investments and to showcase the UK during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We hope this will be a magnificent opportunity for people to meet, develop further expertise within their business sector, and promote increased trade and globalisation.
At the same time, we have prepared tirelessly and plan to announce £1 billion in trade and investment deals this summer, as businesses capitalise on the Olympics.
Or, as Business Secretary Vince Cable put it, “In these difficult economic times we also need to redouble global efforts to build a genuinely open and competitive international trading environment.” I would say that this is one of the best times to do so – to boost business with an incredible sports celebration.
Let the games begin!