Ian Thorpe fronts Olympics comp for SMEs

One of Australia’s most successful Olympians has spoken exclusively with My Business as he launches a competition for SME owners to win their way to this year’s Games in Brazil.

Ian Thorpe will be fronting the competition as part of his new position as Optus Small and Medium Business (SMB) ambassador, a role that he said draws on the parallels between running a business and being an elite sportsperson.

“I’ve had my own small businesses, some that have been based more around swimming that I’ve been involved with; I’ve done a number of different products for different markets around the world,” Mr Thorpe told My Business.

“And I was also explained the analogy between small business and what it’s like to prepare for an Olympics, and I went, ‘Oh, this actually makes a lot of sense’ – those early morning starts, doing a similar thing each day, the loneliness that comes with that kind of pursuit, the sacrifices that you may make, getting home exhausted at the end of the day, and then realising you have to wake up the next day and do it all over again.

“But on the flip side of that, there’s the wonderful part of it that when it goes right, you realise that this is the thing [you are] meant to be doing, and you feel as though you are on top of the world and you can do anything. So I thought it was a really nice fit with what Optus was doing around the Olympics.”

Applicants need to register at olympicsforsmallbusiness.com and build their own web page, which will then be opened up to public voting. In addition, Optus will award points for speed, detail and the level of engagement each page delivers.

The competition is open to any Australian small business with 10 or fewer employees, with four trips to the Rio Olympics up for grabs. Each of the week-long trips for two includes tickets to seven events at the Games, tickets to the CoSport Hospitality Centre, return flights, four-star accommodation and all transfers, and is valued at over $67,000.

Rob Parcell, managing director of small and medium business at Optus, said: “At Optus, we see ourselves as the support network for small and medium business. We understand the challenges that SMB owners face each day and the sacrifices they make, so this is a great opportunity to reward them and give something back”.

Commenting on Mr Thorpe’s appointment as SMB ambassador, Mr Parcell said: “Ian has been chosen as the face of the campaign as there is [a] genuine link between preparing for the Olympics and starting a small business. The late nights, the early starts, the exhaustion, the sacrifices and the [idea that] you can believe big, take on the world and win”.

“These are all experiences that Ian has gone through with his athletic training and his personal small business ventures.”

Check out the full interview with Ian Thorpe as he details his experience in business, how to perform at your best and the lessons he has learnt on his path to Olympic glory, in the July issue of My Business magazine.

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