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Innovation in Swansea: Building a Brighter Future

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Building brighter futures is high on the agenda at University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), where a speaker-led event co-hosted with Ship Shape celebrated innovation happening in Swansea by sharing entrepreneurial skills and expertise from business start-ups and academia.

The Innovation in Swansea: Building a Brighter Future event, organised by Ship Shape and the University’s Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Kathryn Penaluna, was developed in collaboration with Fintech Wales with the aim of bringing together technology businesses and the ecosystem that fuels innovation.

A collaborative partnership between UWTSD and Ship Shape to help Universities and industry identify potential Venture Capital investors was announced during Global Entrepreneurship Week in 2021, and this event was the first in a series of initiatives that aim to support the region.

Daniel Sawko of Ship Shape says:

Swansea has innovation in its DNA. Bringing key players together means more opportunities to find ways of making the pie bigger and continuing to punch above our weight. We are excited about more events like this and there seems to be a high demand for it!

Kathryn Penaluna says:

To further develop our ability to be a dynamic force within the Welsh (and beyond) eco-system, UWTSD has invested in Ship Shape, whose search tool finds funders for business founders. It is a clear need, and the expertise will extend our offer significantly to our students and graduates. It is a win-win partnership.

Based in the city’s HQ Urban Kitchen and opened by UWTSD’s Pro Vice-Chancellor of Skills and Lifelong Learning Barry Liles OBE, the focus was showcasing the success of Technology businesses with roots in Swansea and to help to guide future innovation in the city.

Expertise was shared by Matt Warren, CEO of Veeqo, Paul Dennis of Awen Collective, Sarah Williams-Gardener, CEO of Fintech Wales, TJ Amas, CEO of Quoteonsite and Daniel Sawko, CEO and Co-founder of Ship Shape.

Insights were also offered by Steve Phillips of Community Bank, Monmouthshire Building Society, Richard Scott founder of ConTech business, Richard Harris – Head of Trade, Welsh Government, and Anthony Miles, CEO of DST Innovations.

Guests included Swansea Lord Mayor, Councillor Mike Day, Professor Andrew Campbell, chair of Welsh Government’s Economic Advisor Board, Simon Ripton, Innovation Specialist, Welsh Government, and Swansea Council Deputy Leader David Hopkins.

The University also shared its plans for The Innovation Matrix – a new platform for UWTSD’s research and knowledge exchange to connect with and support cross-sector MNEs, SMEs, micro-enterprises, entrepreneurs and investors. The Innovation Matrix’s aim is to stimulate commercial growth for Wales’s expanding digitally empowered economy.

UWTSD has an international reputation when it comes to developing the entrepreneurial and creative skills of its students and graduates, and such skills are deeply embedded into programmes. Last month, the University was named European Entrepreneurial University of the Year at the 2022 European Triple E Awards Ceremony in Florence, Italy.

Government figures confirm the success this brings, as the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) ranked UWTSD in 2020-2021 as:

#1 in UK for start-ups that are still active after 3 years.

#1 in the UK for total number of active firms.

Universities are key to a thriving economy post Covid, and UWTSD encourages the development of new inventions and knowledge to add commercial, social, and cultural value to society.