The Welsh business community is incredibly patriotic, with business leaders eager to promote the amazing opportunities the country has to offer. Today, we at Business News Wales celebrate Valentine's Day, asking Welsh businesses what they love about Wales. Here's what they had to say:
Gareth Edwards, Director of Executive Search at Acorn
As recently as last week Cardiff was one named as one of only three UK cities named in the World Economic Forum's top 90 cities worldwide for ‘the ability to grow, attract and retain talent', and I think this position will only be reinforced going forward.
Acorn was founded in South Wales over 25 years ago and has therefore been the recruitment agency of choice for businesses and jobseekers across the region for a long, long time. This has put us in a prime position to support the increasing number of companies that have come to us from around the UK and abroad to discuss the benefits of locating themselves in Wales and finding the right talent here. During the last few years we have seen this most markedly in growing sectors such as tech and digital, legal, financial services, manufacturing and engineering.
For me, as Director of Acorn’s Executive Search team, I work with senior professionals and leading businesses every day, and therefore get to see the level of talent and opportunities we have here in Wales first hand. And now with the scrapping of the Severn bridge tolls, we’re going to attract even more talent from surrounding areas so I’m looking forward to seeing more and more businesses and individuals thrive.
Karen Thomas, Head of Commercial Banking at Barclays South Wales
With picturesque scenery and beautiful coastlines it’s no wonder we have a penchant for good business ideas.
We love to encourage innovation and willingly look to support others on their journey to success via our strong business network. Whether it’s Hospitality and leisure, Food and Drink or the latest technology we have a strong track record in all areas and a talented labour force to support.
Our customers tell us they love the people, the passion and the pride and we are no different, which is why we have recently invested in Cardiff with the opening of a new Eagle Lab. We hope the launch of our Eagle Lab will continue to enhance the number of successful new business ventures that flourish and continue to operate in Wales, to inspiring the next generation of engineers and encourage inventors and makers to create great things using the latest technology. We strongly believe that Wales is never short of ideas but we know how difficult it is to ‘scale up’ and succeed. We really look forward to welcoming new people to the lab and giving a helping hand wherever we can.
Alex Currie, Head of HR at GoCompare.
As a Welsh business, Wales has been at the heart of our team and culture since our launch in 2006. In that time, we’ve been on a journey from a disruptive start-up, to a nationally recognised brand, to a plc listed on the London Stock Exchange, and we’re proud to celebrate our Head Office continuing to operate out of our tech hub in Newport.
Being based in Newport has allowed the business to benefit from good transport links, sound infrastructure and lower operating costs than you might get in a bigger city, and certainly than in London.
Our location and reputation has attracted some of the best minds from all over the UK. Being able to nurture this talent from both the local area and further afield enables us to keep working towards our goal of becoming the Tech employer of choice in Wales.
Gareth Stevens, Commercial Manager at Cardiff Bus.
We are proud to be Cardiff’s main transport provider and love carrying hundreds of thousands of people to their destinations annually. We love being the service that people can rely on, whether they are travelling to the Principality Stadium to watch Wales play, or just getting them to work in the morning.
Emma Peterson, Director of Recruit121.
I relocated back to Wales after spending 8 years working in London. There is not one minute that regret my move back to Wales!
Firstly, there is a far better work life balance in Wales. You don’t spend hours commuting to and from to your work place therefore enhancing your family time or social time depending on your stage of life!!
I am very fortunate to be working on the 18th floor of Capitol Tower therefore have a fantastic view of the city of Cardiff but also, the sea! Wales is a beautiful country.
Wales has some of the most prestigious Universities in the UK such as Swansea and Cardiff University, therefore we have a strong pool of talent to tap into. As a growing company this is key to our future success and growth plans.
As a specialist finance recruiter in Wales I am very proud of the talent we have here. We are generally a humble race and not very good at shouting and celebrating our successes but this culture is slowly changing. I love the fact that Cardiff is the fastest growing financial hub ahead of Bristol and London currently.
The launch of Finance Awards Wales will recognise this talent and put Wales on the map with regards to the expertise we have here.
Wales offers businesses excellent locations to set up depending on your budget and has a well-established economic infrastructure.
Wales also provides a number of various business support bodies and our government continue to invest in its continuous growth; not to mention being home to the world's No 1 rugby stadium!
Oil 4 Wales
Colin Owens, Managing Director at Oil 4 Wales.
At Oil 4 Wales we pride ourselves on working with the communities and for the communities of Wales. As Wales’ largest independent oil fuel distributor, our family-run brand spans the whole of the country.
We provide vital fuel supplies to over 65,000 domestic and commercial customers, enabling us to make a real impact on the communities we serve. This Wales-wide reach has allowed us to develop an unparalleled understanding of our communities and our valued customers. It has also afforded us the opportunity to work exclusively alongside some of Wales’s best suppliers when possible.
We believe that working in Wales has allowed our business to grow and thrive, as such we are passionately committed to the ongoing support of its businesses and communities.
Graham Morgan, Managing Director.
Every day I meet business owners delivering exceptional products and services. The passion and commitment they put behind their respective business ventures is infectious making every day in Wales a truly inspiring one!
Ian Rothwell, Director of RW Learning.
The People! The people of Wales are particularly open and honest about what does and doesn't work – this makes introducing any sort of change a much easier and quicker process. Welsh pride and passion ensures that we support one another – that’s why there are so many fantastic businesses in Wales and that’s why our economy is thriving!
Neil Dagger, Head of Marketing, Planning, Insight and Analysis.
From using the best Welsh food produce to showcasing the rich Welsh history and iconic landmarks, businesses within Wales are successfully optimising what they have to create unique and internationally popular products and services.
Our website dedicated to great Welsh businesses www.ourhomeonline.wales has an inspiring and informative collection of their success stories, featuring iconic Welsh businesses and establishments such as EJ Catering, National Museum Wales, Brown’s Hotel and WRU to name a few. These businesses are proud of their Welsh heritage and credentials, showcasing them even further with .cymru and .wales domain names.
Patrick Hathaway, Producer and Account Director.
As a small company, Jammy Custard has been able to take advantage of a variety of Welsh Government Business Support schemes. Over the years, we've had three great business mentors, a round of Local Investment Funding and we've been able to create a full-time position from a Jobs Growth Wales scheme. It's helped us shift up through the gears and grow. We're really thankful for that help.
Taking advantage of lowers costs and this support means we've been able to compete with other creative agencies and animation studios in Bristol and down the M4 and into London. Larger clients, in particular, have been able to take advantage of our lower overheads but without a reduction in the quality of the output.
The creative community in Cardiff and the extended region is brilliant. It's friendly, supportive and acutely aware of the battles people face to make a creative business successful in Wales. It is a talented and lucrative industry that never settles down and keeps changing, so it's always exciting and it can be quite competitive, which is healthy.
Finally, and most importantly, It's a naturally beautiful place. A chance to switch off and allow those lightbulb moments to happen is never far away. Cheers, Wales!
Ita McNeil-Jones, Director
I love working in Wales and recruiting for Welsh businesses – and this from an Irish woman! My business partner and I have built some fantastic partnerships in Wales over the years and are very happy to work with a number of organisations who share our values of integrity, commitment and excellence. We love working with ambitious Welsh clients who trust us to find the talent they need to grow, and similarly ambitious candidates who trust us with their career development. First and foremost, we love the Welsh community – it's one that we feel proud to be part of.
Stephen Clarke, Senior Partner at CJCH Solicitors
CJCH is born and bred in Wales but our dedication and commitment to Wales aside, it is a unique place to operate our business and we love working here because of the opportunities and innovation the community fosters. We benefit by being in the heart of a developing technology hub for the UK, and from the impressive talent we continue to see coming out of our academic institutions like Cardiff University, Swansea University and University of South Wales. The quality and ambition of these students never ceases to amaze us.
Of course it can’t all be just hard work, Wales also boasts some of the best sport in the land with impeccable facilities and stadiums to catch a game of Rugby or football.
Dr Randall Bowen, Director of Business Services
1: The fantastic conditions for generation: With rivers networking across the country and a sizable annual rainfall, Wales has perfect conditions for the many hydro generators we work with. It also sees a fair amount of daylight and a lot of wind, making it one of the best spots in the UK for solar and wind generation too. We’re proud to work with 85 generators across Wales – from small hydro plants that produce enough power for three homes, to large solar farms that can power over 1000.
2. The ethical, sustainable businesses: We’re delighted to power businesses across Wales, including Trevayne Farm Eco Camp Site close to Tenby, National Theatre Wales in Cardiff, and Dyfi Distillery on the edge of Snowdonia National Park. It’s clear to see why these businesses are so passionate about protecting their beautiful local environment.
3. The support from the Welsh Government: The Welsh Government actively supports renewable energy, which is really refreshing to see. This recently included a sizable pledge towards the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Project – a potentially game changing scheme to harness the energy from another of Wales’ fantastic natural resources, the tide.