Wales’ largest coworking space, the Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (ICE) has appointed Jamie McGowan as its new CEO.
Jamie, formerly the Campus Director at ICE, will now expand on his current responsibilities to lead on the future strategy of the company and the ICE Campus as a whole, including its future navigating the uncertainties of a post-COVID-19 world.
There are a number of other changes to the ICE Board with Adrian Walker switching roles from Finance Director to Chief Technical Officer (CTO), to focus on the development of ICE’s digital services – a facet that will likely prove to be crucial as social distancing restrictions continue to drive businesses and services online.
Stephen Burt joins the Board as Non-Executive Financial Director. Stephen, a qualified Chartered Accountant and Governance Professional, has worked across a number of industries in Wales, most recently with medical devices and biotechnology. Stephen is also a coach with the Welsh Government’s Accelerated Growth Programme and will utilise his knowledge and experience to further drive ICE’s economic growth.
Co-founder and Director of the self-employed community, Freelance Heroes, with 10,000 members throughout the UK, Annie Browne also joins the board as a non-Executive Director. Annie is a Welsh ICE member, having started her virtual business support company, Hello My PA, when she joined the Caerphilly campus in 2017. Annie will bring a wealth of experience building online communities and enabling businesses digitally, something she does day-to-day in her business
Completing the board, Anthony Record MBE continues as the non-Executive Chairmen and William Record will remain as a Non-Executive Director.
Speaking of his appointment, Jamie said overcoming the challenges of the next 12 months would cement ICE as one of the leaders in coworking and small business support. Jamie said:
“After taking over as Campus Director in 2018 I was able to take a more hands-on approach to the running of the ICE campus and working with our community of over 700 staff, members and businesses.
“To say that the coworking landscape has changed is understating it somewhat and much of our support has moved online. However, with these challenges come opportunity. By navigating the restrictions currently in place, we feel we will be in a stronger position to support even more incredible people, as we will no longer be limited by geography or transport.
“Our very successful after-work 5 to 9 Club has already moved online and we’ve seen a record number of sign-ups with people looking to join the ICE community and take their first steps into self-employment. In my new role as CEO I look forward to working with the rest of the board to grow our community of entrepreneurs beyond our physical space and build on the already sterling reputation of ICE as the place to start and grow your business anywhere in the UK.”
Anthony Record, Chair of Welsh ICE, said Jamie’s appointment along with a further strengthening of the board, were important steps to sustainably growing the business. Anthony said:
“Jamie has done a fantastic job as Campus Director, helping grow the community and offering record levels of support to our members. As businesses begin to adapt to a new way of working and living, we felt the time was right for Jamie to take on a wider role to include the development and future strategy of the business.
“There will undoubtedly be long periods of uncertainty in the coming months as progressively businesses find they must do more with less. We feel that this will give rise to an increase in individuals looking to go it alone and found their own businesses, whether that is simply owning their own jobs or with grander plans for larger enterprises. With this increase in founders we have a duty to be ready to support them – and with these changes to our board – we will be.”
Welsh ICE is currently one of five regional enterprise hubs across Wales, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The hubs will see over £4m invested to provide supportive spaces and mentoring for new and growing businesses, with the ICE Campus supporting the South East Wales Valleys region.
For more information about how ICE can support you, you can contact them on [email protected] or call 02920 140 040