Joining Business in Focus with a bang, Phil Jones has big ambitions for this rapidly growing social enterprise.
Phil has long felt driven by the need to pursue a meaningful role as his CV will attest. Carving out a distinguished 30-year leadership career in the Royal Welsh, Phil then became head of the British Legion in Wales followed by Director of The Prince’s Trust Cymru in 2016.
The need to make a difference and have impact are the key reasons that Phil chose to bring his varied and extensive expertise to Business in Focus. For over 30 years, Business in Focus has helped many thousands of start-up and scale-up businesses grow and prosper across Wales – providing fit-for-purpose properties, flexible accommodation, affordable finance, expert guidance and bespoke business support to enterprises of all sizes and sectors.
Only a few weeks into his new role at the helm of Business in Focus, Phil kindly found the time to speak with Business News Wales about the driving principles behind his own career to date – and his vision for Business in Focus in an SME economy that’s facing all the challenges and opportunities of the fourth industrial age
“We’re about the ‘Why?’. We’re a social enterprise and fourth sector pioneer with a mission”
“We’re a social enterprise with a mission to be the leading provider of business support in Wales” says Phil. “We grew imaginatively and inclusively under the outstanding leadership of Katy Chamberlain – developing the complete package to help businesses start, prosper and grow, giving everyone the chance to turn their aspirations and dreams into a successful enterprise. That’s a tremendous foundation to build upon – and for me the focus is all about the “Why” of what we do; and what we do next.
“We’re proud to be a fourth sector pioneer – combining the market-based approaches of private enterprise with the social and environmental aims of the non-profit sectors – and the future for us will be about many things, above and beyond providing the essential facilities and services that every SME needs. We’re emerging into a new era after the most challenging of years and it’s time to light the brightest of beacons, putting Welsh enterprise at the heart of our future prosperity and wellbeing – fuelling that entrepreneurial spirit that raises aspirations and ambitions.”
What are the driving forces behind Phil’s own motivations?
“My mother came from the quarry and mining area of North Wales and my father grew up as one of six children in a farming family above the hills of Tregaron. Those were the days when only one child in most families got to go to grammar school – and my dad was that child. From there he went on to read Theology at St David’s College, Lampeter, becoming ordained as a padre in the armed forces before being given a parish in Oxfordshire. I only knew my Dad for eleven years before he died, but his influence and that of my Mum, who worked so hard to bring 5 children up, stays with me to this day. We’re on this planet for one time only, we have the opportunity to do our best for ourselves – and for other people too. That belief is central to my own career – and it’s why leading a social enterprise means so much to me.
“The hiraeth brought me back to Wales – with my background in both the services and the Prince’s Trust teaching me how everyone can make an exceptional contribution if they’re given the opportunity and environment to succeed. I learnt long ago that it’s all about people, that ultimately culture always beats strategy – and I’ve already seen at first hand the incredible energy, wisdom and togetherness of the team we have here at Business in Focus. I couldn’t be more excited – or focused – on making this the best future possible for everyone involved.”