Archive for the ‘Business/Cardiff News’ Category

While we have had many good news stories recently, very often it’s the bad news which makes the front pages of our regional press. However, in today’s South Wales Echo all bad news is banished to the inside pages!

The reason for this is the truly remarkable story of five year old Cian Morris who was born without fully formed fingers on his right hand but has now had a prosthetic hand made using revolutionary 3D printing technology and that cost just £60 to make.

Developed by researchers from the FabLab team at Cardiff Metropolitan University, this innovative device which is operated by Cian using just his wrist could be the salvation for many children and presumably adults suffering from similar problems.

Once again, this is proof that we have some of the very best researchers and scientists working and living in our capital city. Let’s celebrate this wonderful news for Cian and his family with the rest of the world. Cardiff really is in the news recently for some very positive reasons. Well done FabLab manager Martijn Gommeren and your team, we are proud of you all.

queen's speechAs we all digest the elements of the UK government’s plan for the next 5 years as delivered by Her Majesty to Parliament, it appears to me that Wales has plenty to cheer about.

As mentioned in today’s Western Mail, the Institute of Directors (IOD) Director for Wales, Robert Lloyd Griffiths, makes a few key points about yesterday’s announcement. Firstly, in welcoming the reduction of red tape for SME’s in Wales who represent such a vitally important sector for future job growth in Wales – although we have yet to see where the Government will find £10 billion worth of cuts regulation!

Secondly, the absolute priority to negotiate the terms for the UK’s continuing membership of the EU – a membership which I believe is crucial for the continued growth of both Wales and the UK economy. Our biggest market is Europe and therefore we must remain part of it.

Thirdly, new powers for the Welsh Government were announced. This is to be welcomed, as the Welsh Government should become more accountable and of significantly more importance to the growth of Wales in the future than it is currently.

The list of changes and challenges laid out in the Queen’s Speech are significant but if addressed without delay, there is every chance that Wales and the rest of the UK will see further positive signs of growth, bringing more prosperity to our citizens, young and old over the years ahead.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Rory Coleman

Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Rory Coleman

In today’s Western Mail, I read with great interest a report by Huw Silk on his interview with 71 year old Sir Ranulph Fiennes who has just completed the 156 mile Marathon des Sables in Morocco – the world’s toughest foot race. What a remarkable man whose feats of endurance over his lifetime make staggering reading; 7 Marathons, Everest climbed, Antarctic and Arctic conquered, the list goes on! He has raised over £1million for charity, Marie Curie as a result of his efforts and as his Welsh Coach Rory Coleman stated, he is a ‘living James Bond!’

Moving a few pages further on in the Business Section, I read Robert Llewellyn Jones’ article on another remarkable man; 64 year old Colin Owens, an adopted Welshman who from a modest upbringing in the East of London has built up Oil 4 Wales from a start up five years ago. Oil 4 Wales is an oil distribution business which has recently been included as one of 18 Welsh companies in the London Stock Exchange 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain.

Colin Owens

Colin Owens

These two examples of an adventurer and an entrepreneur who even as they grow older have no intention of retiring, are the sort of role models that our young generation should really look up to and take inspiration from. Hard work, physical and mental preparation, passion, determination and positive thinking, these key ingredients can lead to success in any aspect of modern life.

While we shall see the sophisticated online and media campaigns mounted by all parties intensify as we approach the election in May, I am very concerned about the lack of interest shown by our younger generation in politics and the importance of exercising their right to vote. I therefore agree with Martin Shipton’s article in today’s Western Mail.

I am not an expert but it looks as if the emphasis on campaigning will be to the core older age groups who have historically been the main voters in elections. How much time and effort can the parties bring to influence a reluctant and disinterested young voter? I doubt much before May.election

Yet surely for the sake of the nation’s future, young people must be encouraged to vote and examples highlighted to demonstrate how decisions made in both Cardiff Bay, Westminster and currently Brussels can affect their futures.

As demonstrated yesterday, the vote taken by MPs to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes will have a massive effect on the health of the nation in the future. If we did not vote for our MPs, such decisions might not be taken.

Young people must be engaged more by all politicians, using all modern digital and other platforms, with relevant content to excite and motivate such an important sector of our population.

I urge all parties to produce clear, measurable strategies to ensure that our voters of tomorrow really do see the importance of exercising their vote. Many millions have died around the world for the privilege of doing so, we must never forget.

Perhaps there is some hope when we hear of young Welshman Theo Davies-Lewis, who is campaigning for a Youth Assembly in Wales. I hope that all AMs would support such an initiative – well done Theo.

I found the talk by James at today’s Cardiff Breakfast Club held at St David’s Hotel really inspiring. As founder and CEO of SuperStars, the child development organisation he set up nine years ago, he has grown the business to be a great commercial success, currently employing 240 staff and working with 80,000 children a week.

James’ awards are many, but surely the pinnacle was last year’s Institute of Directors annual national awards when he was crowned overall Director of the Year.

james taylorIn his talk, James outlined some key essentials of being a successful entrepreneur. From the £1000 he used from his parents to start his business, James explained that while academically not the highest achiever, he had an idea and saw a gap in the education sector which he subsequently exploited.  He was glowing in his praise of Cardiff as a super place to live, and of the ability for individuals to get help and access to politicians, and to those in positions to help a young business grow.

He gave numerous examples of the need to strongly believe in what you are doing, to be tenacious in selling your services/products, and to be absolutely passionate about your offer. It took him 10 visits to various schools before getting his first order!

James is equally passionate about supporting young people in Wales who seek to be the entrepreneurs of the future and sits as Chairman of the Entrepreneurial Board for Wales. He appealed for all networking events attended by business people to encourage young people with aspirations to be an entrepreneur to attend. He also confirmed the need for role models and mentors to visit schools/colleges to encourage youngsters to follow in his footsteps.

By hard work, spotting a gap in the market, and being passionate about what you do, even with the ups and downs which every business goes through, young people of Wales have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and bring prosperity not just to themselves, but to the wider society and Wales as well.

Keep up the excellent work James, 10/10!

Chairman of the Cardiff Business Council, Nigel Roberts, pictured with the new interactive model.

Chairman of the Cardiff Business Council, Nigel Roberts, pictured with the new interactive model.

As reported today in the Western Mail and South Wales Echo by Sion Barry, it is great to see the city and region being presented to the world in the heart of London.

Exhibiting at the UK equivalent of the famous MIPIM property exhibition in Cannes in France and showcasing the fabulous new model of the city, it is pleasing to read that several enquiries have already been received from possible inward investors.  For too long we have allowed other city regions in the UK to capture the limelight and market opportunities for inward investment to those regions.

Sharing the story of Cardiff and the wonderful opportunities which there are for companies seeking a move or expansion in the UK can only be a positive step. Nigel Roberts, Chairman of the Cardiff Business Council and Ken Poole, Head of Economic Development, are to be congratulated on this initiative which I know is part of a new strategy to sell our city to the world.

I look forward to seeing other initiatives in the future. Well done to the Cardiff Team!!

nato_wales_summit_square_logoAs we prepare to welcome the 60 plus world leaders and their advisers to this vitally important conference, as citizens of Cardiff and Wales we must embrace the event wholeheartedly.

While the disruption to daily life in Cardiff over recent days and into the next week has been huge and will no doubt get worse, the long term benefits to Cardiff and the Capital Region will be immense. Just imagine the costs to buy advertising across the world to promote Cardiff and Wales to millions across the globe. Without doubt, this will give the area huge worldwide profile and the long term benefits will far outweigh the considerable costs to host the event, and the traffic disruption involved.

NATO 1Let’s hope that our leaders show vision and leadership on the significant global issues we face and come out with some solutions and actions to end conflict and starvation throughout the world.

If real policies and positive action result from next week’s debate, would it not be wonderful for the history books to state that the Wales NATO conference of 2014 really did see the dawn of a new, better world. Wishful thinking maybe, but as Steve Jobs famously said: “Everyone here now has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.” Let’s hope the world leaders really do take this to heart and deliver some meaningful resolutions next week.

Team Wales at Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony

Team Wales at Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony

I wholeheartedly agree with Sion Barry’s comments in today’s Western Mail that we should bid for hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games. Can you imagine the worldwide publicity that could be achieved from the day the city is chosen as host, right through the actual event and years afterwards, as the benefits derived from the Games are realised.

Yes, the cost would be huge. But the infrastructure projects which would be needed to be put in place before the Games could start would benefit our economy both in the short and long term.

Cardiff and Wales would get a tremendous buzz before, during and after the Games. The feel good factor that Sion refers

Road cyclist Geraint Thomas wins Gold for Wales at Glasgow 2014

Road cyclist Geraint Thomas wins Gold for Wales at Glasgow 2014

to would be a huge boost to those promoting participation in sport, raising the aspirations of our young and mature athletes to new heights. Our ‘Welcome to Wales’ theme could be enhanced and promoted around the world.

I recall as a youngster when Cardiff hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1958 when 35 nations sent just 1130 athletes that the city was alive and buzzing, and we gave a great welcome to our visitors.  Glasgow have just hosted the best ever Games and will benefit for decades to come.

Let’s hope that the sports administrators, the business community, politicians and forward thinkers in our city accept the challenge and go for Gold in 2026. Also a final request from a rower who represented Wales a number of times; please put rowing back on the programme for 2026!

Nigel Roberts, Chairman of Cardiff Business Council

Nigel Roberts, Chairman of Cardiff Business Council

I really do applaud the initiative of the Chariman of Cardiff Business Council, Nigel Roberts for writing to 15 leading Scottish companies promoting Wales as a relocation option if the Yes vote goes ahead, as reported in today’s Western Mail. It is this sort of strategy which will help to promote the Capital region to some very large organisations who might be looking to relocate or expand their operation from Scotland.

If this is the start of other such initiatives to promote our Capital region, I am really excited to be a member of the Cardiff Business Council and look forward to further excellent ideas coming from the Council.

Well done Nigel and the team!

second-severn-crossing-1Often as I cross the wonderful 2nd Severn Bridge and see the welcome to Wales sign, I feel a sense of pride and passion to be returning home. Indeed, I believe many people coming across the bridge for the first time will be greatly impressed by this first impression of Wales.

Sadly, for our first time visitor, the welcome can turn sour as they join a queue sometimes resulting in 10/15 minutes delay getting into Wales at the toll booth. As they journey on towards Newport, too often traffic slows to a snail’s pace as there can be a significant delay at the infamous Newport tunnels. With luck our visitors can be on their way and can get to their Welsh destination without further delay.

relief roadHaving been involved in numerous campaigns to attract investment and tourism to Wales over a number of decades, fast transport links are always high on the check list of investors considering future investment. The investment market continues to be very competitive and therefore I welcomed yesterday’s news by Edwina Hart of the Welsh Government’s decision to invest in a new M4 relief road. I am not an expert on transport issues or forecasting traffic numbers in decades ahead and cannot comment on the option chosen, but I strongly believe that improvement in our transport network is to be welcomed and must be implemented as soon as possible to secure future investment for Wales.