This week aspirational entrepreneurs from SMEs around Wales have been participating in the first ever Business Wales Growth Week, a week-long series of exclusive events hosted at flagship companies across Wales, dedicated to fostering a growth environment in the Welsh market.
Events kicked off on Monday 27th February at Pembrokeshire tourism hotspot Bluestone. Their involvement in Growth Week follows a strong 2016 for the business which culminated in its announcement of a multimillion pound refinancing deal and the creation of 300 additional jobs by 2020. Since 2013, turnover at the resort has increased by over 50% from £14.5m to £22m in 2016 and staying guest numbers have increased from 95,000 to 130,000. Guests at the event heard first-hand from Bluestone CEO William McNamara about the vision and journey that began almost two decades ago.
On Tuesday 28th February the Business Wales Growth Week roadshow moved onto AerFin in Caerphilly. Last year the aviation services provider was named as Wales’ fastest growing firm in the Fast Growth 50 listings and achieved sixth place on the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 list for UK companies, both remarkable achievements for a firm that was only established in 2010. Guests heard first-hand about the AerFin success story from Sales and Marketing Director, James Bennett, who shared some of the reasons why the firm celebrated an incredible 1044% profit increase over the last two years.
St David’s Day saw the turn of the Toyota engine plant in Deeside to share their sustainable growth lessons with an exclusive business audience. In 2016, it was announced that more than £7million was to be invested in production facilities at the site to enable the next generation hybrid engine to be built. Following the introduction of the hybrid engine, the plant has seen an 18% increase in engine production over the last 12 months with 239,540 engines and 41,063 engine components produced throughout 2016. Guests heard first-hand from Keith Edwards of the Toyota Lean Management Centre about Toyota’s dedication to the management philosophy of lean manufacturing and the company’s long-term focus on adding value, reducing waste, and improving the customer experience.
Thursday 2nd March saw the final event in the Business Wales Growth Week schedule at Tinopolis in Llanelli. The event follows an impressive year for the independent media firm, which was named by the London Stock Exchange in its annual 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2016. Tinopolis produce television programmes for all the top networks in the US and in the UK and to date has accumulated 13 Emmys, 10 BAFTAs, 14 Royal Television Society Awards and four Broadcast awards in its award cabinet. Tinopolis Executive Chairman and Founder Ron Jones hosted guests for the afternoon at the city centre studios and discussed the links between creativity and growth, as well as explaining how Tinopolis’ strategic acquisitions led to impressive growth for the group.
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.
Guests at each event enjoyed a tour of the site and facilities, from AerFin’s giant aeroplane engine dismantling room, to an exclusive behind the scenes look at the make-up chairs and edit suites at Tinopolis.
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