A visionary regeneration scheme is filling empty buildings in Merthyr Tydfil while giving entrepreneurs their first business premises.
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council’s ‘Meanwhile’ initiative is a partnership approach helping to improve the appearance of the town centre while also providing a range of niche businesses and services and securing jobs for dozens of people.
The Council’s economic development officers, Merthyr Tydfil Enterprise Centre, Tydfil Training, Business Wales and property owners have joined forces to provide support including help with drafting business plans and short-term rent-free accommodation.
A total of 14 businesses have opened in Merthyr Tydfil since the scheme began three years ago, many of them in the historic heart of the centre – Pontmorlais – which is undergoing a multi-million pound regeneration programme.
The two latest meanwhile ventures are Pontmorlais-based menswear store Emporium Merthyr and business communications specialists Incom Wales, who have moved into the Crownford House office building in Swan Street.
Emporium Merthyr was originally in premises across the street from its new home. Proprietors Angela Wareham and Ian Owens needed somewhere that would give them the opportunity to grow the business.
“Ian and Angela are extending their offer with this fantastic new store that provides a unique brand of men’s clothing,” said Council Leader Cllr Kevin O’Neill. “They are entrepreneurs in the truest meaning of the word, having overcome many challenges to arrive at this point today.
“Their offer of exclusive products that cannot be found anywhere else locally provides added value for the town centre.”
Cllr O’Neill said he was extremely proud of the achievements of the Meanwhile scheme and thanked Voluntary Action Merthyr Tydfil for allowing the couple to use its property.
Incom Wales was founded by joint Managing Directors Dean James and Ian England, who between them have more than 50 years of industry expertise and a key partnership with award-winning UK communications leader the Incom-CNS Group.
Cllr O’Neill said he was pleased that in the first instance the Council was able to support Business in Focus to bring Crownford House back into use as a key enterprise hub.
“Its location moving forward will be in part of the town centre that will see significant investment in relation to our new bus station,” he added.
“Dean and Ian have a vision to build a telecommunications company that will become a market leader in Wales – and they certainly have the experience and expertise to do that,” he added.
If you would like some support from the Meanwhile scheme, please contact Merthyr Tydfil Enterprise Centre on 01685 727509.