Businesses in North Wales have increased turnover, created a better environment for staff and unveiled expansion plans after managers and bosses took part in a prestigious leadership course.
And many of them were at Bangor University for a celebration to mark the successful completion of another 20Twenty Business Growth Programme.
More than 1,000 businesses have successfully navigated the popular qualification – in partnership with Cardiff Metropolitan University – which includes seminars, workshops and talks from some of the country’s top names in industry, among them Penderyn Whisky managing director Stephen Davies and BBC Business Doctor, Paul Thomas.
Liz Rowlands, Funding and Strategy Director at Kickstart2Employment, spoke about how joining the programme helped her to shape new processes and plans for the Wrexham-based training provider.
“There were many strategic aspects to it but the lightbulb moment for me was that we should be working on the business, not in the business,” said Liz.
“Another was that ‘failure is feedback’, which gave me confidence to make mistakes and know I’m not failing because of that.”
“20Twenty has given me mental resilience and toughness, and for that I am eternally grateful.
“It also covered everything from critical analysis, perseverence, willpower and reflection to courage and knowledge – I am incredibly proud to have completed it.”
Also in attendance were graduates of the ION Leadership programme and Professor John Williams, Head of Bangor University Business School.
Created by Cardiff Metropolitan University Professor Brian Morgan, who also founded Penderyn Distillery, the 20Twenty Business Growth Programme targets firms in Flintshire, Powys and Wrexham and is up to 70% subsidised by the European Social Fund via Welsh Government.
Professor Morgan says the experience and skills picked up on the course would add value to any business owner, manager or senior member of staff.
“The 20Twenty programme will introduce you to all types of leadership, whether it be transactional, transformational or distributed,” he said.
“Good leadership is about taking people with you and achieving successful change under conditions of uncertainty.
“That is what a true leader does, and that is just one of the elements of the programme that would benefit you and your business, as well as being innovative, creative and having a sharp focus on the position, marketing and brand of your organisation.”
Project manager Gwenllian Owen added:
“It’s always a source of pride for the team to see each cohort come together to celebrate passing the course, but also to hear the stories of how 20Twenty changed their businesses, and in some cases, their lives.
“Congratulations again to you all.”