This week representatives from SMEs around Wales have been participating in the first ever Business Wales Growth Week, dedicated to fostering a growth environment in the Welsh market.
On Monday (27 February), William McNamara, CEO of Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire shared his experience with an exclusive group of local business leaders.
Guests at the event heard first-hand about the history of Bluestone; the vision for which began more than two decades ago. They heard how, in less than 10 years, visitor numbers have reached an all-time high of 130,000, with occupancy rates averaging 95% and turnover reaching £22m.
During his talk, Mr McNamara offered advice to key business leaders, emphasising the importance of perseverance and focus, often in the face adversity. The farmer-turned-entrepreneur who conceived the resort, and steered it through to the award-winning, five-star reality it is today, said: “Every business should expect to tackle obstacles along the way, I know I have, but if you have a dream and a passion you should never let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve them – obstacles are there to overcome.”
Attendees also heard from Bluestone’s Director of People Services, Debbie Rainbow, who showcased the resort’s unique employee engagement programme and explained how Bluestone sees the wellness of its workforce as crucial to safeguarding its future.
“Employees are the beating heart of our business. Ever since the business was established, their health and wellbeing has been our priority. We are always looking at innovative ways to develop, nurture and upskill our workforce – which can be challenging with a headcount of 700 – but we like to see ourselves as one big Bluestone family, which underpins and shapes our approach.”
Guests at the exclusive event were also given a tour of the resort’s luxury accommodation and facilities, as well as being given the opportunity to take part in a Q&A. Bluestone features in the Business Wales Growth Week line up alongside Wales’ fastest growing company, AerFin in Caerphilly; international media producer and distributor Tinopolis in Llanelli, and engine manufacturer, Toyota, in Deeside.
All four host companies have demonstrated strong growth in recent years and each event is being attended by business representatives from the local community, whose companies and business ventures have been identified as strong candidates for growth.
“It’s been great to be involved in the Welsh Government’s Business Wales Growth Week and I hope that by sharing the Bluestone journey I’ve been able to inspire other ambitious business people to do extraordinary things in pursuit of their own goals.”
The Welsh Government’s Business Wales service launched Business Wales Growth Week to inspire entrepreneurs, pioneering start-ups, and businesses of all shapes and sizes, across a myriad of sectors, with the objective to think big and grow sustainably.
And on a truly practical level Growth Week aims to educate those businesses about the actual support on offer to reach that next level of growth. Whether it’s via finding new markets, developing new products and services, or exploring international trade, ultimately the intention is to equip SMEs with the skills to grow.
Speaking about the events, Ellie Fry, National Manager at Business Wales, said:
“We are extremely delighted with the success of these signature events during Business Wales Growth Week.
We always aim to showcase the very best of Welsh business and we are proud that this week has given aspiring entrepreneurs across the country the opportunity to gain a behind-the-scenes insight and learn from leaders who have achieved outstanding growth in their businesses.”
Business Wales, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, supports the sustainable growth of small and medium size enterprises across the country by offering access to information, guidance and business support. To find out how Business Wales can help start or develop your business, call 03000 6 03000, follow @_businesswales or @_busnescymru or visit www.businesswales.gov.wales or www.busnescymru.llyw.cymru for further information.