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As a passionate advocate for collaboration and entrepreneurship, I believe these forces can drive transformative change, particularly in Wales and the most deprived parts of the UK. As the CEO of the Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (ICE), I take immense pride in our significant impact, supporting thousands of business owners and boosting the local economy. My journey has been one of dedication, resilience, and a commitment to fostering an inclusive and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Our Achievements: A Testament to Collective Resilience

At Welsh ICE, 77% of the businesses we support have thrived beyond the critical three-year mark, compared to the UK average of 61%. This success reflects the dedication and resilience of our entrepreneurs and the supportive environment we have created. To date, we have supported over 2,000 businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs, each contributing to the vibrant tapestry of our local economy.

A Personal Mission: From the South Wales Valleys to Leading Change

Growing up in the South Wales Valleys, I experienced firsthand the challenges of inequality and the impact of a lack of relatable role models. These experiences instilled in me a deep sense of responsibility to support those facing similar challenges. By fostering an entrepreneurial mindset, developing local services, and creating opportunities, we can enhance local pride, retain skills, and grow local economies.

Championing Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to building resilient and innovative communities. I am dedicated to supporting grassroots entrepreneurs, helping them take ownership of their towns, and fostering resilient entrepreneurial communities. Through our ICE Academy training programmes, community-building experiences, and partnerships, we strive to create an inclusive business ecosystem across the country.

Engaging and Advocating for Change

My role as CEO has been marked by a deep commitment to engagement and advocacy. Through our ICE Academy training programmes, community-building initiatives, and my speaking engagements, I strive to inspire and empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. Our vision is clear: to build resilient entrepreneurial communities that drive meaningful change.

Leaders: Let’s Collaborate for Success

For councils and leaders looking to harness the power of entrepreneurship to drive local growth and resilience, there are several ways we can work together:

Advisory Roles

I offer my expertise to help shape policies and initiatives that foster entrepreneurial ecosystems, providing valuable insights into creating supportive environments where businesses can thrive.

Hackathons and Innovation Challenges

We can collaborate to develop hackathons or innovation challenges aimed at solving local issues. These events can stimulate creativity, bring together diverse minds, and generate innovative solutions that benefit the community.

Special Training Programmes

Together, we can launch specialised training programmes tailored to your community’s needs. These programmes can equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed, fostering local talent and retaining skills within the community.

Entrepreneurial Community Building

Our experience in building and managing entrepreneurial communities can contribute to enterprise hub projects or revitalising empty spaces. I welcome conversations to develop more versions of what we have in Caerphilly, complementing other communities across the country.

Collaborative Initiatives

By aligning our efforts with others at every level of the ecosystem—from leaders to grassroots—we can create a unified approach to economic development. Working together, we can ensure our initiatives are impactful and far-reaching.

Let’s Connect and Collaborate

As I continue to navigate my role and establish myself as a thought leader, I am eager to connect with individuals who share my passion for entrepreneurship and community development. Let’s collaborate to build resilient entrepreneurial communities and drive meaningful change together.

If you are an entrepreneur, a community leader, or someone who believes in the power of collaboration and entrepreneurship, I invite you to reach out. Together, we can harness the power of entrepreneurship to transform our communities and drive sustainable growth.

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