A pioneering new centre for regional engagement has been launched in South West Wales by leading local entrepreneurs, with a membership of more than 150 businesses.
4 The Region is taking over from Swansea Bay Futures as the primary regional engagement organisation for South West Wales. Led by Managing Director Zoe Antrobus and Directors Dawn Lyle (founder of iCreate) and Georgios Dimitropoulos (entrepreneur/academic), members include First Cymru, UWTSD, NPTC Group, Gower College Swansea, Coastal Housing, Urban Foundry, Home from Home and Castell Howell Foods.
Managing Director, Zoe Antrobus, said:
“As businesses and individuals, the future of this region is in our hands. Our aim is to get everyone involved in a conversation about South West Wales, to help shape a vision for the region. We are putting our heart and soul in to making change happen, and we are convinced that by working together, we can create a flourishing future for all of us. We’ll be running events, sharing good news and promoting what’s great about the region.”
Rob Stewart, leader of the Swansea Bay City Deal, said:
“The success of the Swansea Bay City Deal depends on all four local authorities working together, with businesses and other organisations, to deliver on a shared vision. We also want to see businesses and individuals playing their part in shaping the future of the Swansea Bay City Region.
“The Centre for Regional Engagement is a private-sector led initiative that promises to enable better partnerships, more sharing of information, and a can-do mindset for this region, and I fully support this collaborative approach.”
Co-founder, Dawn Lyle, said:
“South West Wales is the most economically deprived region in Western Europe, which is pretty shocking. So we need to find new ways of working together, in an era of Brexit, austerity and global change, to improve people's’ lives. We know there is so much wisdom, so much resource and so much potential in this region. We are determined to unlock that potential through better engagement amongst all types of people.”
Co-founder, Georgios Dimitropoulos, added:
“4theRegion will enable and facilitate multi-directional communication for business and social innovation, to ensure maximum knowledge exchange, collaboration, co-creation and co-production. We want to ensure a healthy flow of information, ideas and innovation across the four counties.”
The first major event to be hosted by 4theRegion will be held on Thursday 14 June at the Liberty Stadium. Supported by EFT Consult and sponsored by Schneider Electric, Empowering Future Generations will explore the challenges and opportunities of implementing the principles of the circular economy in line with The Well-being of Future Generations Act, which became law in 2015.
With high calibre guest speakers including Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, and Dr Jane Davidson (UWTSD), former AM who was instrumental in the formation of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, this event will address how the region can promote and embrace the circular economy, giving businesses the tools they need to deliver the aims and objectives of the Well-Being for Future Generations (Wales) Act.
Keynote speakers include Professor Steve Evans, Director of Research in Industrial Sustainability at the Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge University. Over 200 decision makers are expected to attend.
Zoe Antrobus said:
“Our first major event, Empowering Future Generations, is looking at the issues of sustainability and the environment, which are clearly critical to the future of this region and to the quality of all our lives. We are calling on everyone with any interest in this topic – personal, professional, academic, political or otherwise – to be part of this one-day summit, which aims to unite the region around a shared sense of purpose as we move towards a circular economy.
“We will hear from leading circular economy experts from across the UK. They will share knowledge, insight and expertise whilst demonstrating the opportunities available for collaboration.”
As well as running events and sharing positive news from across South West Wales, 4theRegion is developing the digital platforms that will enable the region to better engage with itself. This includes an iMap – an interactive map of everything that's happening across South West Wales, and the #4theRegion Directory, which connects the businesses, projects and people who are making things happen in the region.
Empowering Future Generations will take place at the Liberty Stadium on Thursday 14 June. Booking information is available at www.4theregion.com