Posts Tagged ‘St David’s Hotel’

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!


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.