Posts Tagged ‘inward investment’

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!!


Breakfast ClubColin Riordan became Vice Chancellor of Cardiff University in September 2012, having previously spent 5 years as Vice Chancellor of the University of Essex. He outlined the University’s inspiring “vision for innovation” to the Cardiff Breakfast Club members this morning.

With around 16,000 undergraduate students, Cardiff University is “an important cog in the region’s economy”. Colin is very aware of the University’s role in and obligation towards the future prosperity of Wales. He called the University an “engine of prosperity for Wales”, and discussed how he intends to closely examine just how it can turn its intellectual and physical assets into economic growth, and improving the quality of life for people in Wales.

To this end, the University recently published “The Way Forward”, a document outlining its strategy and “direction of travel” for the future. This includes an ambition to rank consistently among the world’s Top 100 universities, and in the Top 20 of The Times’ influential university league table.


Colin Riordan, the Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, outlined the institution’s “vision for innovation”.

Key to this will be the Cardiff Innovation System, a combination of physical and academic resources that will “change the way we do everything” at the University. All the University’s schools and disciplines will work together in a self-sustaining system to feed what Colin called “translational research”: bringing academic research activity into the commercial sector. For example, the business school can provide valuable models and entrepreneurial advice, while the social sciences can examine social acceptance of technologies and undertake “horizon scanning” to suggest the most promising areas for research in the future.

The Innovation System will need physical space, with lab facilities that are available to both commercial and academic researchers. These will have shared social spaces to encourage collaboration and interaction. Colin called these “Serendipity Spaces”, environments conducive to creativity where people from all disciplines can mingle and “spark something”.

This will all be underpinned by close student involvement, to educate the next generation of entrepreneurial innovators. Colin wants students to be as much “innovation natives” as they are “digital natives”; viewing entrepreneurship as a normal part of life. This, combined with leading research expertise and a ready supply of highly qualified graduates will work as a magnet for inward investment, raising the profile of Wales internationally and giving Wales a “reputation for innovation”.

Many of the ideas Colin discussed are still at “a conceptual stage”, and he warmly encouraged Breakfast Club members to actively engage with the University, praising the mutual benefits of strong private-sector relationships.

While engineering such a dramatic change in culture for Cardiff, and for Wales, will be challenging, with the right support in place Colin was emphatic that the plans will succeed, concluding: “Other countries have – and I don’t see why Wales can’t too.”

At last our First Minister Carwyn Jones has taken the initiative on a vital part of the region’s infrastructure – our airport.

Come fly with us: Carwyn Jones stated he believes Cardiff Airport can surpass Bristol, its closest rival.

I read in the Western Mail yesterday of his desire to form a stakeholder group of interested parties to look at the future of Cardiff Airport, which he believes does have the potential to overtake its nearest rival, Bristol.

Without a truly international airport in Cardiff, those attempting to bring new inward investment and more tourism to Wales are really up against it.

Lets up that Carwyn’s group meets quickly and develops a strategy which can deliver real results. Well done, Carwyn, and good luck!

I have read with great interest in the Western Mail today about the report by a cross-party committee of MP’s on inward investment into Wales.

This follows the findings of a report by Cardiff Business School earlier this month (which I discussed in an earlier blog post).

Neither report makes comfortable reading for all of  us in business who live in Wales and who would like to see a vibrant economic future for our country.

Much has been said about the importance of a strong Wales brand and the reintroduction of the WDA. As a marketing professional who once worked for an international marketing agency with clients including Coca Cola and General Motors among other great brands, I can only sympathise with the view that if a brand (i.e. the WDA) still has global recognition even after five years of non-promotion there is huge sense in relaunching it to a knowledgeable, “expectant” marketplace.

Why not create a new advisory panel of Wales’ most successful businesspeople to work with the private sector, politicians and civil servants to produce a clear inward investment strategy, with achievable aims, which everyone involved can work towards.

Relaunch the WDA brand not just in Cardiff or the new planned inward investment offices in London but in New York, Sydney, Munich, Paris, Toronto… the list goes on!

Wales has a huge amount to offer, even if our product needs “fine tuning” through improvements to our infrastructure – air, road, rail, et cetera. If we wait for all these improvements to be made the task will probably be too great to accomplish.

Let’s follow the lead of our magnificent rugby squad, whose example under coach Warren Gatland shows that with a clear strategy, discipline, and a great team, we can achieve great results.

Strategy, dedication and teamwork - let's follow our boys' example.

Good luck to them all in their quest for another GRAND SLAM (hopefully!) on the 17th of March – I’ll be there!

I fully support the findings of the report undertaken by the Cardiff Business School on the role of agencies in attracting inward investment.

Wales' USP's need to be pushed, to attract both tourists and inward investors

Wales has been slipping badly over the past few years, and now we learn that only 2.6% of the UK total inward investment profits in 2011 came to Wales. In 2002 it was 11.8% – a huge difference.

As with tourism, we must attract both visitors and inward investors to Wales.

The Wales brand must be reinvigorated and relaunched, to really push Wales’ U.S.P’s – of which there are many! – to visitors and inward investors alike.

I am strongly in favour of the comments made in today’s Western Mail, suggesting the formation of an extended advisory panel to support not only the inward investment team but also those running our vitally important tourism sector.

I believe the Minister should prepare a list of the most successful Welsh businessmen and women from around the world to sit on this panel, and be given real power to influence strategy and implementation.

To engage such individuals would result in huge benefits to the nation, and those responsible for selling Wales to the world.

How refreshing to read Sion Barry’s article in the South Wales Echo (2nd January). We really must up our game if Wales is to grow in the future.

The lessening of our share of inward investment makes for very worrying reading, bearing in mind our positive position over the past few years. We must improve the ‘Welsh Offer’ to prospective investors, by improvements to our infrastructure, adopting a new city region approach to economic development and planning, and through a more proactive form of self-promotion.

This tiny nation has produced and nurtured so many world-renowned artists, businessmen, scientists, actors, politicians, writers, sportsmen, doctors, philosophers, engineers, teachers, broadcasters… I could go on! Wales may be tiny, but it is proud too. We must begin to make a conscious effort to tell others about how great we are, and how fantastic we can be.

We have something here in Wales besides a beautiful country. We have a people whose brilliance and work ethic is second to none.  What is needed now is a well-planned campaign making use of all the new and traditional media to make potential visitors and inward investors take notice and put Wales on their shopping list.

At the start of this new year, let’s start thinking bigger, and make Wales the envy of every other nation in the world.