Posts Tagged ‘business breakfast’

Simon Powell, Eysys

It was our last Breakfast Club of the season and we were joined by established Welsh entrepreneur, Simon Powell. Simon is currently the chairman and investor of four businesses in the travel and technology sectors, as well as the Managing Director of Powell Property Developments LTD, Founder of and CEO of Comtec Group. He has a wealth of experience, not only in setting up successful businesses, but also in turning around struggling businesses.

Simon began by stressing that, when setting up a business, it’s important to define what people want from it in terms of success. From something small and simple like running a successful corner shop to owning a fast car or becoming a billionaire, he believes that success is relative and what is most important is that people can define what it means to them and have a chance of achieving it.

He went on to list the things that he has done throughout his business career that most helped him to achieve his own success, in particular sharing equity. Simon recommended Finance Wales as an investor, but also advised potential entrepreneurs to share equity with their employees; “I think it is important to share equity, not just with financial institutions…but with the teams that are going to drive things.”

Simon also emphasised the importance of putting together a strong team to work together on the business, and making decisions quickly, fixing any wrong ones as soon as possible. He admitted that there are ‘no straight roads in business’ and that there will be bad days, but the important thing is to remain focused. He sees that his role in all of his businesses is to create opportunities, push through decisions, and make and maintain relationships.

Evidence of Simon’s theories being put into practice can be seen in his recent reacquisition of Comtec in October 2014. After a loss of £5m last year, the business is now projecting an Ebitda of £1.4m for this year.Breakfast Club

Simon is passionate about finding the next generation of talented young people to work in technology and highlighted the importance of working with schools to help inspire children to pursue a career within the tech industry. In particular, he talked about the huge potential within Wales and Welsh schools to produce skilled tech professionals, but emphasised the fact that not enough is being done to achieve this with current tech courses not tailored to business.

Simon concluded his talk by encouraging graduates who are thinking about setting up their own businesses to go for it, stating that there is lots of funding available and that “if you’re passionate and committed, you can do it”.

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

Despite the chilly temperatures and soggy start, a fantastic amount of attendees descended upon the St David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay this morning. Among them, and acting as Sally’s right-hand woman, was MSc Marketing student Sophie Irvine.

Sophie very kindly agreed to write a guest post for our blog on today’s meeting. You can follow her on Twitter at @SSOPHIRV .

“Once again there was a great turn out at the Cardiff Breakfast Club meeting this morning, with many of Cardiff’s business community attending due to a keen interest in this month’s guest speaker Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director of BBC Wales.

Rhodri  gave an interesting speech on how the ‘off-screen events of the BBC can catch attention when there is nothing on-screen’ and the challenges of broadcasting in the current economic climate.

He made it clear that, like many other businesses in Wales, the BBC has been affected by the recession, and is facing their own challenges . However, it is the BBC’s mission to overcome these issues, for example by by making cut backs on overheads. He also suggested overcoming these challenges by reducing programming spend on those programmes outside of “peak time”, that may have fewer viewers. Put simply, he stated that the main focus was making sure that the BBC were clear about their priorities and that they ‘continue to invest in them’.

To this end, he argued that Wales has the ‘talent, ambition and significant opportunities to produce extraordinary programming and expansion in the creative industry’. This has already been proved by the growth in new production centres, like Roath Lock, the home of many well-known TV shows such as Casualty, Sherlock and Dr Who. As a result, he is confident that the BBC will play ‘a vital role in central life’ and continue to concentrate on the ‘bigger vision’.

Rhodri discussed the importance of partnership in creating this vision. He stressed particularly the most dominant partnership that has been formed recently between the BBC and S4C, where a balanced agreement has been reached.  He went on to outline some of the benefits of this partnership, including enabling Wales to get the best from its regional programming and collaborating its online media space. This seems to make perfect ‘business sense’ in this economic climate. Thus, he undoubtedly feels that the role of the national broadcaster is now ‘very precious’.

This was particularly emphasised at the end of his speech. Whilst recognizing the challenges facing the BBC and other businesses in Wales, Rhodri was keen to address these issues and lead the way to improvement. He suggested that partnership and tangible relationships were key ‘bringing broadcasters together’. Indeed with less money he suggested that there are now more risks, but ultimately more ambition- which he believes will benefit Wales for many years to come. ”


Thanks to everyone who came along today. The next Breakfast Club will take place on the 16th of February, with Peter Jones of the PHS Group our guest speaker. If you would like to be put on the mailing list for future Breakfast Club events, please email


A strong turn out of figures from across the Cardiff business community battled the elements for the Cardiff Breakfast Club  meeting this morning, rewarded with an engaging and aspirational speech from Dame Gillian Morgan, the Permanent Secretary for the Welsh Government.

Dame Gillian focused on ‘delivering more for less’, discussing both the importance the Welsh Government has placed on this approach, and its means for implementing it.

With forecasters predicting a move into recession, the pressure is on for the public sector to get the most out of its resources, making its money work as hard as it can. To this end Dame Gillian discussed the Welsh Government’s reduction in both staff numbers and in buildings, reduced from 93 to just 40 across the country. Time, effort and energy have been invested in ascertaining just how they can ‘do things differently’.

This change in attitude, practice and culture is very necessary, as Dame Gillian stressed. She outlined three big challenges: firstly, a cultural complacency. There is ‘some wonderful stuff’ happening here, and we need to be proud about it – to compare and compete with the best. Dame Gillian also discussed the necessity of effectively marketing Cardiff and the South Wales region, to remove the perception of it as ‘distant’ or ‘decrepit’. She recounted correcting someone who was under the impression that it took 8 hours to get to Cardiff! To get others to see the region differently, we must first begin to really champion ourselves.

The second challenge Dame Gillian noted was complexity, and indeed the Welsh Government have taken great steps to ‘declutter their environment’ in order to do more for and with less. Some initiatives can be done in a much more coordinated way, ‘blurring the autonomy’ and encouraging local communities to come together. In appropriate situations we must, Dame Gillian emphasised, encourage the ‘common sense’ approach!

The last, and biggest, challenge was that of capacity and capability. While Wales has the talent to match other regions, it does not necessarily have the depth. Dame Gillian used the department of transport policy as an example: while the Scottish Government has 74 employees in this area, Wales has 3. This challenge is being tackled through schemes that ‘train our own’, such as the recruitment of Welsh graduates into the Government’s intensive 2-year procurement course, and other apprenticeship schemes. Effective and charismatic leadership is also integral to resolving this, and the Welsh Government must lead by example.

As Dame Gillian heartily emphasised, steps are already being taken to get the absolute best from the resources in place here. There is ‘wonderful stuff’ happening in Wales – from business growth to Doctor Who – and with careful thought and implementation, it can flourish even further in the future.