Prime Minister David Cameron has launched a new campaign, ‘GREAT’, to showcase British firms and promote the UK as a place to visit and do business.

Companies including retailer Marks & Spencer, Deutsche Bank, National Grid, supermarket chain Sainsbury’s and mining company Rio Tinto have voiced their support for the campaign and said they will work with the government to drive it forward.

The government is taking advantage of the fact that the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be in London next summer.

“We are determined to make the most of this unprecedented opportunity to ensure we deliver a lasting economic legacy that will benefit the whole country.

“This campaign is simple. There are so many great things about Britain and we want to send out the message loud and proud that this is a great place to do business, to invest, to study and to visit,” said Cameron.

As part of the campaign, the prime minister announced plans for a ‘Global Investment Conference’ for investors and business leaders to be held in the capital on the eve of the Olympic Games. Over time, the initiative is expected to generate at least a £1 billion boost for UK businesses.

UK Trade & Investment will schedule business summits for the conference, which will include the ‘British Business Embassy’, which aims to highlight key sectors for global growth, and an online ‘British Business Club’.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: “We want to demonstrate the great products we already offer the world, from Formula One racing cars to innovative aerospace technology and cutting edge fashion brands.

"And we want to highlight the opportunities for world-leading businesses with global ambition to invest and grow in Britain.”

Other government initiatives to encourage business growth in the UK include the Enterprise Zones, which are areas of the UK that are intended to attract business by having superfast broadband, simplified planning rules and tax breaks for new businesses over the next four years.

An area in East London, dubbed 'Tech City', has also been designated as the place to be for digital and creative businesses, in an effort to create the UK's version of California's Silicon Valley.