More people in Wales are starting a new business venture and seizing the economic and lifestyle changes that have been driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething revealed today as Global Entrepreneurship week gets underway.
Latest figures show that since March 2020, the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service has provided advice and guidance to 3,020 individuals thinking of starting a business, which supported the creation of 1,556 new businesses in Wales. This included 324 entrepreneurs, that were previously unemployed, who started a business with financial support through the Start-Up barriers grant.
This follows the announcement last week that Business Wales has supported 25,000 jobs in Wales’ SMEs since 2016.
To celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, Business Wales and partners in Further and Higher Education will be offering over a 100 events targeting people across Wales to start a business.
The Welsh Government is also committed to encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship among young people – and to develop their interest in business start-up. This is part of the Welsh Government’s commitment to deliver the Young Person’s Guarantee – with the option for young people to access support to create their own business.
Big Ideas Wales – part of Business Wales – provides dedicated support for young people, where a network of over 400 Welsh business owners inspire the next generation as Role Models. They have shared experiences through workshops with over 310,000 young people under 25 and helped over 3,000 investigate their ideas and get help with their plans, since 2016.
In the last year alone, the service has supported Georgina James, 25 from Torfaen, who launched her own active wear brand and dance fitness classes to empower young women; Olaitan Olawande, 21, from Bangor and her public speaking business that raises the confidence of young people; and Tom Lancaster, 22, and Emily Stratton, 25, from Aberystwyth who have launched a mountain bike tourism company in the Dyfi Valley.
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said: “Although the pandemic has been very challenging for many start-ups, we’ve also seen that it has been a period of reflection, and with changes in lifestyle and the economy we are now seeing an increase in start-up figures.
“Part of my vision for moving the Welsh economy forward is geared towards creating an economy where more people feel confident about planning their future in Wales thus supporting job creation and more dynamic local economies. My ambition is to make Wales a place where more young people feel confident in planning their future here. You don’t have to get out to get on, make your future here in Wales – and our entrepreneurs play a key part in this vision.”
Another young person that has benefitted from the service offered by Big Ideas Wales is Lydia Hitchings, 24 from Cardiff, a swimwear designer whose designs have been worn by stars of the Channel 4 reality show Made in Chelsea.
Putting her Cardiff Metropolitan degree in Textiles to good use, Lydia began Rosy Cheeks, to design on-trend prints for her bespoke bikinis from her bedroom, between a part-time receptionist job and training with the Wales National Netball team.
Lydia developed her ideas as a final year student with support from Cardiff Metropolitan and also accessed support from Big Ideas Wales to create her business plan, with regular one-on-one meetings with a business adviser who is on hand to offer advice and guidance.
Speaking about the support she received, Lydia said: “Starting a business in lockdown was definitely a challenge at times but one that was made easier knowing that Big Ideas Wales was a phone call away. For anyone with a business idea, no matter how well developed, it’s invaluable support. Having belief in your ideas can feel daunting at times so with Big Ideas Wales on hand, you’re able to hone your entrepreneurial skills and get the right advice. I’d really encourage anyone with a passion or business idea to get in touch with Big Ideas Wales and go for it.”
Anyone with an interest in starting their own business should visit Business Wales Starting up and Business Planning | Business Wales (gov.wales) for ideas and advice. The Business Wales service is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
Swansea-based recycling business scoops national award
Family-run business, Gavin Griffiths Recycling came out top at the Growing Business Awards 2021
This is the second award for the Swansea-based business this year, after the firm found success at the Swansea Bay Business Awards, picking up the Business of the Year 2021 award
The business describes itself as one of the region’s leading recycling, waste management, haulage and aggregate suppliers.
In a very competitive category at an awards ceremony to honour and reward the UK’s most entrepreneurial and high growth business, up against 1,400 other businesses in the category, Gavin Griffiths Recycling came out on top at the Growing Business Awards 2021.
The firm said they were delighted to be announced B2B Business of the Year 2021 at the ceremony held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. They described this latest award as further testimony to the hard work and determination that has seen the business accelerate its growth plans since its birth in 2005.
During the last 18 months, the group has opened its second site, a 40-acre inert recycling facility in Carmarthenshire, complimenting its existing mixed recycling facility in Swansea whilst delivering one of its largest and most prestigious contracts working on the Llangennech railway crash land remediation.
The arrival of new staff, additional machinery, plant and 10 new trucks to support the expansion plans have also seen the continued investment into the business.
The company said that whilst keeping its values as a family business, they have continued their community and social values programme, supporting grassroots sports, individuals, schools, and charities across South and West Wales.
Gavin Griffiths, Group Managing Director commented: “I was very honoured to see us make the final of such a prestigious national award, but when our name was read out as the winner, I was extremely proud of what we have achieved as a team. I would like thank the whole team, as well as every one of our customers, suppliers and stakeholders for supporting us on our journey so far.
“This recognition is phenomenal, we are so grateful and humbled to have been chosen from so many other amazing throughout the UK. We have some exciting developments on the horizon that will see us pioneer and lead the way in the recycling market. To win two awards in one year, really shows how we have kept our family ethos and worked hard to serve our customers across the whole business.”
Swansea named the best city in Wales to buy pre-loved presents
Sustainable e-tailer Bower Collective’s latest study finds the UK’s top places to buy second-hand gifts this Christmas
As much as £42m worth of Christmas gifts are unwanted (and sent to landfill) each year. To break the taboo around second-hand gifting this festive season, Bower Collective have released a study looking at the number of vintage stores, second-hand shops and vintage and second-hand events per capita across UK towns and cities to find the top places to find pre-loved presents.
Considering all factors, the study found Swansea is the “thrifty-gifting” capital of Wales. Elsewhere in Wales, Wrexham has the most second-hand shops per capita. The Welsh town has 34 second-hand shops per 10,000 people, the most per capita in the UK. Newport has the 4th most second-hand shops per capita, with 38 to offer.
The data for the four major cities can be found below:
Location Overall rank in Wales No. of vintage stores (rank per capita) No. of second-hand shops (rank per capita) No. of recent second-hand events (rank per capita) Swansea 1st 16th 18th 47th Newport 2nd 30th 4th 51st Wrexham 3rd 49th 1st 41st Cardiff 4th 17th 41st 44th
The study also researched the search volume of each city for sustainable and second-hand shopping terms like ‘sustainable gifts’, ‘charity shops’ and ‘vintage kilo sale’. Per capita, Cardiff searches the most for relevant terms in Wales. However they also found that searches in Swansea increased by 528% in the past year alone, the biggest one year growth in Wales and the UK overall.
Overall across the UK, Norwich, Worthing, Newcastle and Worcester are the best places to buy a pre-loved present. From looking at Google search trends, the study also found that Brits are searching for ‘sustainable gifts’ 988% more than they were three years ago. Searches for ‘Vintage Kilo Sale’ also rose by 167% and ‘charity shops’ searches went up by 95%.
Norwich, Norfolk featured in the top 10 for all factors, and also ranked top for the most vintage shops per capita, with 28 to choose between. The next best cities to go vintage shopping are Carlisle and Brighton.
The city with the most second-hand events (like vintage kilo sales and table-top sales) is Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. For this festive season, residents of the city have over 30 events to get stuck into. The next places hosting the most second-hand events were Lincoln and Worcester.
The study can also reveal the most ‘thrifty gift’ winners of each UK Nation. Derry in Northern Ireland is the best place to buy pre-loved presents on the Emerald Isle, and considering its smaller size, Derry ranked 4th in the study for the number of vintage shops per capita – with 8 to purchase from. Glasgow is the ‘thrifty gifting’ capital of Scotland, and ranks 5th in the study overall. Glasgow also has the 6th most vintage shops per. capita in the UK – with 44 to explore.
The study was also supplemented with research into the UK’s changing search trends for sustainable and second-hand gift giving. The data found that those in Bath, Edinburgh and Oxford are searching the most for second-hand and sustainable gift giving search terms per capita.
However, since 2020 Swansea has seen the biggest one-year increase in relevant search terms (up by 528%). Milton Keynes (with an increase of 146%) and Woking (with an increase of 134%) were the next cities with the biggest growth of interest in shopping more climate-conciously.
(Lead image: EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA / Pexels.com)
No printer? No problem! Royal Mail will now bring labels and collect your parcel from your door
Royal Mail has enhanced its popular Parcel Collect service in the run up to Christmas with posties set to deliver pre-printed postage labels to customers who need them.
The move enables customers without a printer to feel the benefit of Parcel Collect, where posties collect parcels for delivery while carrying out their delivery round.
The plans to deliver pre-printed labels are also aimed at bringing even more convenience to customers who are increasingly time-poor and may not want to leave home to drop off a parcel or wait in queues – especially during the cold winter months. As the festive season approaches, it promises to be one of the most convenient ways to post presents this Christmas.
Under Parcel Collect, customers arrange for their postie to collect their parcel from their doorstep. Customers using the service simply have to book a collection online (https://www.royalmail.com/collection) then signal whether they would like to order a self-adhesive, pre-printed postage label to affix to their parcel*. As part of the service, postmen and postwomen will collect a parcel from the customer’s door or nominated safe place.
Through Parcel Collect, Royal Mail collects from customers at their doorstep as part of our postmen and women’s daily round, which means no additional vehicles on the road resulting in fewer additional emissions and less congestion. With the UK’s largest “Feet on the Street” network of over 85,000 postmen and women, Royal Mail already has the lowest reported CO2e emissions per parcel amongst major UK delivery companies.
As well as offering even higher levels of convenience, Parcel Collect enables online sellers and online shoppers to mail or return a pre-paid item by post from the comfort of their own home. Parcel Collect is available six days a week and can be booked up to five days in advance and up to midnight the day before. Parcel Collect is currently priced at 60p per item, inclusive of VAT, in addition to postage costs.
Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail, said: “Every day our posties walk past every house in the country at about the same time. People know when their postie is going to deliver and now they can send or return parcels at the same time. If people aren’t going to be in, they can leave their item in a safe place for our postie to collect it and now if they don’t have a printer at home, they can ask their postie to bring the label with them. How convenient is that! As the nights continue to draw in and the weather gets worse, why go out when you can stay safe and warm and leave the hard work to your friendly local postie. And even better, many of our deliveries and collections are carried out by posties who walk their rounds – the greenest way to send and return.”
The nationwide launch of label-less collections follows a trial of the service in four areas of the UK earlier in the year.
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