Archive for June, 2014

Breakfast ClubIt was our last Breakfast Club of the season and we were joined by Professor Chris McGuigan, Chairman of the new Welsh Government Life Science Hub. As well as holding the role of Chairman of the Life Sciences Research Network, Chris is also a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Cardiff University, and the co-inventor of three new drug candidates that have entered clinical trials.

Chris was keen to express that the Hub, which is due to open on 17th July, is not a Lab but a business hub. With open-plan working space for 60 people, a board room, meeting rooms and auditorium for 75 people, the Hub is a state-of-the-art facility of which ‘there is nothing quite like it anywhere in the world’. The Hub is currently 40% full, with 40 members already signed up, and Chris believes that this number will increase to 50% occupancy by the opening in July.

Prof Chris McGuigan, Life Sciences Hub

Prof Chris McGuigan, Life Sciences Hub

Chris believes that the Hub is a unique space which can ‘connect and concentrate the Life Sciences in Wales,’ bringing together businesses and academia to stimulate the research and growth of the Life Sciences. Another significant aim of the Hub is to attract investment for the Life Sciences in Wales and ‘bring in money from over the Severn Bridge’. Therefore after looking at several other sites, Chris explained that Cardiff Bay was ultimately felt to be the best location for the Hub.

Professor McGuigan also discussed his position as Chairman of the Life Sciences Research Network. With £7.3m funding from the Welsh Government’s Ser Cymru programme, the Network will fund 100 research projects in Wales. Since its launch in September, the Life Sciences Panel has had 183 bids for project funding, dispelling any fears that there was not high demand for life sciences projects in Wales. Through working in partnership with universities across the country, the Network has currently funded 39 of those projects, of which 70% are Cardiff-based. The Network has also secured an impressive £1m in matchfunding for these projects.

Chris expressed his deep gratitude to the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart for the significant role she has played in pushing forward funding and support for the Life Sciences Hub and for her ‘passion for supporting business in Wales’.With significant support such as this, Chris believes ‘there has never been a better time to do a life sciences business in Wales’ and is looking forward to seeing what progress in Life Sciences can be achieved through the Hub and the work of the Life Sciences Network over the coming year.

Dates and speakers for the autumn will be announced soon. For further information and booking details, please contact or phone 02920 549597.

How many times have visitors to the Capital been totally underwhelmed by the site which greets them as they depart the Central Rail Station – a landscape of bus stops, taxis and a row of tired looking shops.

BBC Wales HQTo hear the news that the BBC Wales HQ will move to replace the current bus station must be magic for those promoting the Capital for inward investment, such as the Cardiff Business Council, as well as our visitors from other parts of the UK and abroad.

I understand that a modern, well designed, attractive, high-tech building is planned. As Sion Barry comments in today’s Western Mail , all those involved in the process should be congratulated, including Rhodri Talfan Davies, Councillor Russell Goodway and of course the developer Rightacres. With the plans in process for improved transport links throughout the city, this is a truly excellent piece of news and will make all citizens of the Capital proud of their city centre.

beach picDelighted to read in yesterday’s Western Mail of Wales outperforming other home nations on overseas tourism following the recent advertising campaign; “Great Britain – you’re invited.”

A reported 34% increase in visitors from targeted cities such as Paris, New York and Sydney is wonderful news for tourism, which is such a vital part of our economy and an area where fortunes have been mixed over recent years.

Wales is a fabulous country with everything for the overseas visitor. While other sectors such as manufacturing are also vital for our continued growth, tourism and associated sectors such as agriculture (which helps to provide and protect out beautiful landscape) can really trigger major growth to our economy and must be helped and encouraged in order to maintain the impressive growth shown in the recent figures.

Well done Visit Wales!

Our latest GO Wales placement student Katy has come to the end of her 8 week placement with us. Here’s what she thought of her Petersens work taster…

Katy photo

Today is my last day in the Petersens office. The past eight weeks have been incredibly eye-opening and insightful. I’ve had the opportunity to get real hands-on experience of the inner, day-to-day workings, in a busy PR office.

If I am completely honest I expected to be making the tea for the whole taster, when in fact I have had the chance to get stuck in and help the team with their day-to-day work. I’ve been lucky enough to practice writing press releases, one of which was used in the Western Mail. And yes, it is on my fridge! I’ve also been able to write blogs for clients, research and compile media packs and contact publications directly. I didn’t think for a second that I would have this much input and a chance to develop real material that would be used. I’ve received consistent, constructive feedback from the team, which has been invaluable, especially as the office has been so busy!

One of the highlights over the past eight weeks has been attending the Cardiff Breakfast Club. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the entire process of the event from the beginning to end. Bright and early Eira and I made our way to the St David’s Hotel & Spa and set up the room ready for the guests. Jon Horne from Cardiff airport was the guest speaker and spoke passionately about how he plans to develop the airport and make it a firm competitor and restore it to its former success. It was a fantastic experience being part of the Breakfast Club and I even had the chance to network with industry professionals over breakfast.

I cannot emphasise enough how friendly and supportive the team has been right from my first day. They took a genuine interest in getting to know me and are fantastic people to work with. I really hope to stay in touch with the wonderful people I’ve met at Petersens and wish them all the best in the future!

Jack Petersen competing

Jack Petersen competing

I certainly was not aware of the City’s award as the European Capital of Sport (ECOS) until recently when asked to provide some information and material for an ECOS ‘Local Sporting Hero’ presentation as a tribute to one of our capital’s greatest sportsmen born in the city – my father the famous boxer and proud Cardiffian, Jack Petersen.

Sadly I was unable to attend the event at the Royal British Legion in Whitchurch last week. However, three members of my family did attend at short notice which increased the audience to 15 people. I understand it was a well prepared presentation on my father’s remarkable career and his many links to Cardiff.

It is difficult to regard the evening as a tribute to my father when there was very limited publicity to the event. Notwithstanding my personal interest in the evening I have to wonder what the whole purpose of ECOS is.

It seems to me that here we are nearly half way through 2014 and very little publicity has been given about this significant European Award apparently to the City’s “local administration and sports departments.”  As this annual award was made to Cardiff for 2014, we should be exploiting every opportunity to capitalise on it, not just to the citizens of Cardiff with initiatives such as the excellent local hero’s programme referred to earlier, but also throughout the UK and Europe to further raise our profile as a Capital City.

We recently saw a successful launch of the Cardiff Business Council and the unveiling of a model costing £160,000 to illustrate our City’s  exciting development now and in the future. Should there not be closer strategic ties between all those different agencies and organisations promoting our Capital City, be it  sport, business, health, tourism, investment etc to ensure that Cardiff as a Capital City exploits its Capital status and capitalises on a prestigious international award such as ECOS when given?

I am sure that my father, who was passionate about the City and his upbringing in it and who during his life served as a City Councillor, as well as Vice chairman of the Sports Council for Wales and Chairman of the National Sports Centre, would want Cardiff as European Capital of Sport 2014 to be seen as a model example of how a modern, young Capital City creates “policies and infrastructure to enhance the health and well being of its citizens” now and in the future.

Let’s not allow this significant award to just become another missed opportunity.