Posts Tagged ‘Cardiff’

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.

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.

Ioan Jenkins, Tidal Lagoon Power

Ioan Jenkins, Tidal Lagoon Power

This month’s Breakfast Club meeting was a particularly busy event with the topic drawing a lot of interest. The meeting was addressed by Ioan Jenkins, Development Director for Tidal Lagoon Power, the company which is currently developing the world’s first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay. 

Ioan began his presentation by explaining the basics of the Tidal Lagoon project. He described their business as “capturing the energy in the tide” in order to provide “reliable home-grown energy for up to 120 years.” The company aim to eventually deliver a fleet of 6 lagoons across the UK, providing low cost energy for a large proportion of the country.

According to Ioan, the Swansea Tidal Lagoon will create a new UK industry and long term UK jobs, with over £30bn worth of investment.  1,850 full time jobs stand to be created during the lagoon’s three year construction period alone.  If permission is granted for all 6 of the lagoons then an estimate of 35,800 jobs could be created, with over 70,000 roles during peak construction times.

The project will produce a huge amount of renewable energy – harnessing the 7-9m tidal range in Swansea along the length of the 9.5km long causeway and will generate enough energy for over 100,000 homes. This amounts to 85% of Swansea Bay’s domestic use and 11% of Wales’ domestic use. It will also provide an annual CO₂ saving of 236,000t.

Ioan also explained that they are hoping to have planning approved by the Secretary of State for Energy by early June, to allow building to commence by the beginning of next year. On this timescale, we could expect to be receiving the first power from the lagoon in late 2018 or early 2019.

Concluding his presentation, Ioan suggested that the lagoon would reduce the cost of living, keep up with the UK’s energy demands and protect and enhance the environment, whilst providing the opportunity to boost flood protection. It will also have a significant positive impact on education and the tourist industry.

Tessa Blazey then took over from Ioan to discuss the potential plans for a Cardiff Tidal Lagoon, which would be on a much larger scale than its Swansea counterpart. Compared to the Swansea area of 11km² the Cardiff lagoon would cover an estimated 70km², harnessing power from an average tide of 9.21m.

This lagoon would have the ability to generate enough energy for the whole of Wales. Although discussions are in the early stages, Tessa suggested that current indicators are wholly positive.

Breakfast club meetings are held monthly at St. David’s Hotel and Spa with a range of guest speakers. For further information and booking details, please or phone 02920 549597.

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!

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.

We should applaud the vision and action of Ken Poole, Head of Economic Development at Cardiff Council and the Cardiff Business Council of selling Cardiff to key international investors at the MIPIM Property Conference in Cannes this week.LivingCardiff

Unless we display to the world what makes Cardiff and its region so special, we have limited chance of growing our fragile economy. Many other cities are represented at Cannes and contacts made will be crucial in the continuing draw to attract new inward investment to the area.

I look forward to hearing about this week’s conference in detail in due course, which I am very confident will have been a success. Well done Ken and your team!

What wonderful news this week about the prestigious IAAF World Half Marathon Championships coming to Cardiff in 2016.


After the great success of this year’s Cardiff Half Marathon, I felt totally confident that the Cardiff event organisers, Run 4 Wales under the chairmanship of Nigel Roberts could prevail in the recent pitch to the council members of the IAAF in Monaco. With the very best athletes both male and female from around the globe descending on Cardiff in 2016, with friends, coaches etc this is a huge opportunity to present our capital city to the world.

Let’s give every support possible to Nigel and all involved to maximise this opportunity to promote Cardiff in what will be an Olympic year.

Roll on 2016.

Jane Hutt, Finance Minister

Jane Hutt, Finance Minister

Wonderful news in today’s Western Mail regarding the Welsh Governments announcement that a feasibility study had been commissioned to examine the possibility of a new £200 million state of the art cancer centre in Cardiff.

As a past trustee  and supporter of cancer charity, Tenovus for over twenty years, as well as a beneficiary of the excellent cancer treatment and care given by the consultants and nurses at UHW and Llandough hospitals, I can fully support the need for such a centre. I do hope that Velindre NHS Trust can expand its wonderful world renowned work within a centre envisioned by Finance Minister, Jane Hutt and her colleagues at Welsh Government.

A major Welsh initiative to be welcomed by all cancer patients, their family and friends, as well as the excellent health professionals, doctors and nurses who perform such an amazing job, often under huge pressure and within limited financial resources.

We really have had some wonderful news in Cardiff recently.

From our premiership division footballers making a flying start to their season at the top flight to real progress on the adoption of the Cardiff Council’s local development plan for the next 15 years, it does appear that public and private sector are really trying to ensure that our City and Region can grow in this most competitive world marketplace.


Jane Hutt, Finance Minister, announced a £62 million funding package earlier today.

However, today’s announcement by Jane Hutt, Finance Minister for the Welsh Government who states that £62 million would be allocated to the South Wales Metro scheme over the next 3 years is the icing on the cake. With the Westminster Government backing the electrification of the Western Main Line and the plans to reduce M4 congestion around Newport, I feel at last we are putting together the essential building blocks for the future growth of Cardiff and the Region.

Without excellent transport links both to and within the region no successful inward investment project leaders would consider the area. So with programmes aimed at increasing our skill levels, and a blueprint for the growth of Cardiff, plus an improved transport system together with our innate Welsh hwyl, perhaps we can justifiably look to a really bright future for our capital and citizens.

Lets make sure we all embrace the opportunity presented and not let it drift by!

I believe that events over the last couple of weeks have brought a great opportunity for all those involved in promoting all that Cardiff and the region offers to the world.

Estimates have been made as to the economic benefit to Cardiff and the region of our Cardiff City Bluebirds reaching the Premier football division. One figure I read was in the region of £50million!

The team made a wonderful start to their Premiership campaign by beating last year’s champions and title contenders Manchester City, and drawing with Everton last weekend. These matches were seen by a huge worldwide audience, thus putting Cardiff on the world stage.

Gareth Bale became the world's most expensive football player earlier this week - a great advertisement for Wales worldwide!

Gareth Bale became the world’s most expensive football player earlier this week – a great advertisement for Wales worldwide!

However, as reported extensively in local and international media, Cardiff’s own Gareth Bale has just become the most expensive footballer in the world, as his transfer deal to Real Madrid was concluded this week. I believe this move will bring even greater awareness of Cardiff and Wales to a worldwide audience.

Those involved in inward investment, tourism and associated sectors have been handed a golden opportunity to capitalise on this recent worldwide visibility. Let us see some really creative marketing to ensure Cardiff really does benefit from the awareness we now have worldwide, thanks to our sporting hero.

Finally, can I say how impressed I have been by Gareth Bale’s behaviour over recent days. Whlie accepting he has a great team of advisors about him, his down to earth character, professionalism and passion for Cardiff and his homeland is really impressive. What an advertisement for us worldwide!