Skip to main content

Here are our top ten highlights of 2022

Before we get down to the good stuff, the highlights, the reason you’re actually reading this blog. From all of us here at Welsh ICE, thank you so much for all of your support, your dedication and enthusiasm for what we do. Thank you for trusting us to help launch and grow your business, source of income and passion.


1. We Turned 10 Years Old 🥳🎈

To celebrate our tenth business birthday was a truly momentous occasion for us. Being joined by Welsh ICE’s founders, ICE members, both past & present, it was a fantastic event and a great opportunity to reflect on the last decade.

Since launching in 2012, the ICE Campus has generated a net GVA benefit of £63.1m for the Welsh economy. It has created over 800 full-time-equivalent (FTE) Jobs and has supported thousands of individuals in starting businesses.

When asked about what turning 10 years old meant to Welsh ICE CEO, Llinos Neale, she talked about our beginnings:

“They were told it couldn’t happen in Caerphilly – that the vision of a flourishing community of innovators was reserved for the likes of Silicon Valley, not the Rhymney river, but today our community has grown far beyond the county borough.

“The first 10 years of ICE have been amazing and we’re excited to see what opportunities, partners and people the next decade, and beyond, will bring.” 

Llinos Neale, Welsh ICE CEO

2. Llinos Neale is appointed CEO 👩‍💼

Starting out in 2017 as Welsh ICE’s receptionist, Llinos took the lead on a number of key projects to improve the quality of support offered by Welsh ICE. Promoted to Community Manager in 2020, Llinos was tasked with managing our 700-strong business community, assisting them with their business journeys and inducting new members to the community.

Less than two years later, Llinos has now stepped into the role of Chief Executive Officer here at Welsh ICE and is still as eager as ever to increase our support offering. Speaking about her Welsh ICE journey, Llinos remarked:

“When I first walked through the doors of Welsh ICE five years ago, I knew the space was something special. There was an energy here which was unlike anything I’d experienced before – I felt I just had to be a part of it.”


3. New Additions & New Roles ✨

We’ve seen loads of change in 2022! With the launch of ICE Academy, we wanted an experienced captain at its helm and with Outreach Director, Lesley Williams focusing on partnership opportunities, Tom Phillips stepped up to the role of ICE Academy Manager. Alongside Tom, new addition to the team, Hope Weyman was appointed as a Community Entrepreneurship Developer tasked with leading 5-9 Clubs, facilitating events and engaging with businesses looking to launch and grow.

As Llinos became CEO, we had to fill the role of Community Manager and who better than Rachel Harris, with 8 years of community building and coworking experience, Rachel is the perfect choice.

4. Launched ICE Academy 🎓

Anyone who knows Welsh ICE will know that we offer a ton of support programmes, from 5-9 Clubs to our Meet the Expert one-to-one mentoring sessions to bespoke Hackathons. It was fantastic to launch ICE Academy, an umbrella brand under which all of these programmes can sit and through this, we can consistently provide expert advice to assist our members launch and grow their businesses.

Our new Community Entrepreneurship Developers (Like Hope 👆) facilitate ICE Academy’s programmes, organising workshops, leading 5-9 Clubs and offering one-to-one support to our members, their enthusiasm and dedication ensure our members receive the best support available.

5. The 5-9 Club is now an Accredited Course 🤩

We were delighted to announce that our long-running entrepreneurial support programme, The 5-9 Club, received accreditation by Agored Cymru.

Learners who graduate the course will now receive an Agored Cymru Level 2 – Exploring & Planning Entrepreneurship qualification.

Becoming accredited is just a small part of our larger support plan and we’re exploring further opportunities to offer our learners more professional academic credentials.

Spoilers… we’ve recently received more accreditation, but we will be properly announcing what that entails in the New Year!

6. We Created & Facilitated a Bunch of Bespoke Hackathons 🙌

We worked with a bunch of great organisations to help solve problems and upskill their staff with entrepreneurial skills. Collaborating with NatWest, Cardiff Capital Region, Caerphilly Council and Cwmpas, we delivered a variety Hackathon events aimed at solving real-world issues such as the ‘cost of living crisis’, delivering a ‘free school meals’ initiative and breaking down social barriers to a fairer, more inclusive society.

We love hosting Hackathons as it’s a great opportunity to utilise our fantastic community of business owners & trainers to impart their entrepreneurial expertise on working professionals who can make real change but don’t necessarily have the knowledge to do so. We’re looking forward to hosting many more in 2023!

Group of people from Caerphilly Council celebrating the completion of The Welsh ICE Hackathon.

7. The Breaking Barriers Bootcamp 🤝

This was a first for Welsh ICE, in collaboration with NatWest, we ran an intensive 5-day BootCamp course aimed at helping attendees launch their businesses whilst overcoming specific barriers to business success. During the event, we took attendees through the fundamental aspects of running a business and addressed any barriers that they felt they were facing.

We brought in industry experts to share their experiences and expertise to demonstrate that despite facing barriers, with the right support, anyone is capable of launching and growing a successful business. Keep an eye out for more bootcamps to come!

8. We have a Brand New Website! 👨‍💻

If you didn’t already know, this swanky website you’re reading this blog on -completely new! With all the changes happening at Welsh ICE, we thought it a great time to give the site a refurb and polish some edges.

From the incredible work of Rob Kinsella, Arkay Digital, personally, it was great working with Rob from the ground up on this new site to create something that really has the feel of Welsh ICE that just pops off your screen.

Welsh ICE Digital Marketing Specialist, Patrick Valentino, with a water bottle and laptop, sitting at a desk in a coworking space.


In collaboration with the Welsh Government, we’ve been able to provide a ton of support and we’re really proud of all the work we did this year! We completed eleven 5-9 Clubs, including a UK-wide cohort in collaboration with Freelance Heroes and provided over 500hrs of support to our amazing community.

2022 saw the launch and re-launch of a number of pre-covid support programmes and events. Our ICE Breaker: Breakfast Networking event is back and we’re loving all of the networking-y goodness that’s happening, what’s better than networking? Networking with a side of tasty breakfast goodness!

We also brought back our Business Support Fairs, in collaboration with The Twyn Community Centre, we have been able to host a number of business support organisations in the centre of Caerphilly to create a super convenient & informative event in which businesses can access a ton of expert advice all under one roof.

We hope you’re very excited to see what events 2023 will bring!

ICE Breaker: Breakfast Networking
Caerphilly Business Support Fair

10. Women in Business Networking 🚀

The Women in Business Networking deserves its own very special mention! Having launched in May, we’ve loved the response to this event, so much so, we’ve partnered with USW to offer even more of these events across South Wales. Facilitated by Community Entrepreneurship Developer, Hope Weyman, she expressed her delight with how the sessions explore the dynamics of being a woman in business and encourages women to break down the barriers to business success.

I love hosting the Women in Business Networking events, it’s an amazing opportunity for women to network with likeminded entrepreneurs and explore business concepts in a comfortable environment.

Hope weyman, welsh ice community entrepreneurship developer

Welsh ICE is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

For more information about how ICE can support you, you can contact them on [email protected] or call 02920 140 040