By Kate Madley

As the Olympic and Paralympic summer of sport comes to an end, Welsh firms have a unique opportunity to build on the legacy of London 2012 and improve bilateral links with the next Olympic host, Brazil.

“The 2012 Olympics have proved to the world that British enterprise is second to none,” says Trade and Investment Minister, Lord Green.

“The Rio 2016 Games now present firms from around the UK, including in Wales, with a golden opportunity to export their expertise.”

Twenty contracts worth £50m have already been awarded to British firms linked to Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

The UK is the fourth largest investor in Brazil, and British exports to this emerging economy grew by 23 per cent in 2010 and a further 9 per cent in 2011. Brazil is one of the world’s most rapidly developing economies with a GDP per head greater than either India or China.

Lord Green continues: “UK Trade and Investment’s legacy programme is helping companies of all sizes identify and win contracts in areas like architecture, design and event management, and high profile trade missions and embassy events will ensure British companies maintain the profile they need to win news business in Brazil.”

During the Olympic Games Brazil had representatives from 24 industries visiting the UK in sectors such as security, aviation and health.

Casa Brazil set up camp in London’s Somerset House, displaying exhibitions promoting Brazilian culture and selling official Rio 2016 merchandise.

“We have worked hard to ensure that Wales benefits from the 2012 Olympic Games before, during and after the event, through maximising the economic, sporting and cultural legacy for Wales, boosting tourism and enhancing Wales’s global reputation,” said a Welsh Government spokesperson.

In a bid to build relationships with Brazil, Welsh universities Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea were represented on a UK Trade and Industry trade mission to Brazil in March 2012.

Cardiff and Glamorgan universities are also participating in the ‘Science without Borders’ scholarship that aims to bring 10,000 Brazilian students to the UK over a four year-period.

Total bilateral trade between the UK and Brazil stood at US$7.7bn in 2010, an increase of more than 25 per cent from 2009, with British exports to Brazil totalling US$3.1bn.

Welsh Government representative continues: “Longer term, Wales will benefit from a number of sporting and cultural legacy projects, with over 1,000 schools in Wales actively engaged in the 2012 bilingual education programme, GET SET and 99 Inspire Mark projects, which are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games underway or planned. Over 50,000 people, across all ages are also engaged in the Cultural Olympiad which will see many events being held in Wales.”