A new member of Wales’ successful diaspora has joined GlobalWelsh as the latest investor to offer their support to the burgeoning community. GlobalWelsh Founder Walter May has announced that ‘Travel Leaders’ Founder and Chairman Mike Batt is the latest high-profile entrepreneur to offer financial support to the CIC (Community Interest Company).
Aberbargoed-born Mike Batt is one of Wales’ most successful exports, having founded ‘Travel Leaders’ – a $21bn travel agency network with more than 40,000 agents in its network. The travel group is widely recognised as North America’s largest luxury travel agency and was developed through a management buy out of Carlson Leisure Group and a subsequent merger with New York-based Tzell Travel Group.
Travel Leaders Group manages the operations of more than 7,000 company-owned, franchised and affiliated travel agencies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Greece, Ireland and Australia. Mr Batt began his career in the UK with Mars and eventually became Marketing Director of British Airways.
Before becoming founder and chairman of Travel Leaders group, Mr. Batt also served as an executive with Carlson Companies where he was President of Carlson Leisure Group (CLG) and a Board member of Carlson Wagonlit Travel. He joined Carlson in 1996 and was responsible for leisure travel operations in the US for 11 years as well as Carlson’s investment in the Thomas Cook Group in the UK.
In recent months, GlobalWelsh has attracted investment from private donors and entrepreneurs including Heath Davies, Phil Buck and David Buttress – and is set to announce another investor in the coming weeks. The CIC has also partnered with Tiny Rebel, who are carrying the GlobalWelsh brand on more than 80,000 of their cans and partnered with LA-based Pelican Products on an initiative to bring 6 aspiring entrepreneurs to the HQ of Global Manufacturing company Pelican Products, Inc for a week-long funded masterclass.
GlobalWelsh is funded by donations from community members and private investors. Its aim is to become a home for Wales’ global diaspora, offering opportunities to grow Wales’ reputation overseas and provide countless opportunities for its members to grow (through trade and investment opportunities; share (through mentoring/shadowing opps) and connect (via the GlobalWelsh website and social media platforms).
Through its engagement activity and the newly-formed ‘GlobalWelsh Academy’, the CIC is looking to create more investment/growth opportunities for community members, pioneers, patrons and investors.
Michael Batt said:
“Now is the right time for business leaders and expats to get on board with GlobalWelsh – the next few years will be crucial for Wales to reach out to her allies as the UK negotiates Brexit.
“I’ve always wanted to maintain a link with Wales – and supporting GlobalWelsh ensures that those aspiring to make a difference in the world and those who want to strengthen Wales’ mark on the rest of the world can continue to do so…I may live and work thousands of miles away, but people like me can stay play a positive role in shaping the future for Wales.”
GlobalWelsh founder Walter May added:
“Mike Batt is a prime example of those in our diaspora who have achieved great things elsewhere in the world but still retain an emotional, passionate connection with Wales. GlobalWelsh strongly believes people like Mike are not ‘lost actors’ – they are national assets who can help us drive forward a new future for Wales.
“We want to change the conversation so that Wales is less focused on ‘distribution’ and more on supporting wealth creation. Our global diaspora can help us do this, as ‘tipping agents’ who can spark new opportunities for investment, growth, mentorship, knowledge transfer and opening doors for those on the way up.
“We’re delighted to have Mike involved as someone who is at the top of their game and recognised by his peers in North America for his entrepreneurial prowess.”