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Investors bring enterprise to life through The Bumbles of Honeywood Programme for primary schools

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Primary school children throughout the UK are being inspired to develop their enterprise skills with the help of a syndicate of 15 business angels who have completed a £400,000 investment in 2B Enterprising headquartered in Swansea, South Wales.

Led by Angels Invest Wales lead investor Ashley Cooper, the syndicate has invested £275,000 across two consecutive funding rounds alongside £125,000 from the Development Bank of Wales’ Wales Angel Co-investment Fund. With the support of Angels Invest Wales, the equity investment is being used to scale-up activity; funding a series of appointments including Jayne Brewer as Chief Executive and the further development of class materials for use by schools throughout Wales and England.

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Established by multi award-winning enterprise educator Sue Poole, 2B Enterprising has created and introduced the Bumbles of Honeywood as an enterprise skills programme specifically for children aged 5 to 7 years old. Developed by entrepreneurial business leaders and experienced educators with extensive input from teachers, the Bumbles of Honeywood features a series of illustrated books and over 120 activities that enhance the teacher’s toolkit and improve numeracy, literacy, digital and physical education skills alongside developing an enterprising mindset. 

Over 40 schools are already using the programme with 20 of these having been part of a 24 month pilot programme, to help develop life skills and future aspirations. The programme is funded by a unique Corporate Engagement Partnership Programme (CEPP) that involves local and national businesses partnering with schools to bring real life enterprise experience into the classroom. Partners already confirmed include Swansea.com, Dawsons Estate Agents, The Fab Four Coffee, GS Verde Group and Bluestone Resorts.

Sue Poole is the founder of 2B Enterprising. She said: “Our vision is a community where school pathways and future career choices for all young people are equally valued and respected. With the support of the Development Bank and our syndicate of business angels, we can now reach out to so many more youngsters initially across the UK, and then abroad; helping them to grow into capable, healthy, well-rounded individuals who can become ambitious, resourceful and successful adults.” 

Jayne Brewer is the newly appointed Chief Executive of 2B Enterprising. She said: “The Bumbles of Honeywood provides a wonderful selection of lesson-ready resources and connections to bring real life enterprise into the classroom.  It also gives businesses the opportunity to strengthen their links with their community, engage with a younger audience and improve employee satisfaction. It’s an innovative programme that is being delivered by a close and committed team who all share a real passion to inspire future generations.”

Ashley Cooper, Lead Investor for the angel investment syndicate said: “As responsible business leaders we must do everything we can to assist in developing the talent of the future. Alongside our superb educators we have it within our power to maximise the enterprise skills and resourcefulness of future generations. The 2B Enterprising model allows businesses to directly impact the youngest in our community making a significant difference to millions of young people both in the UK and abroad, to the significant benefit of future economic success. We look forward to working with the many business leaders and their organisations who are joining our Corporate Engagement Partnership Programme”

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Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Mazuma Accountants Lucy Cohen is one of the investors working alongside Ashley Cooper as part of the syndicate. She said: “This is my first investment as a business angel and I’m delighted to be part of such a talented and ambitious syndicate that is already working together by pooling our expertise to support the team and help to drive the business forward.”

Carol Hall of Angels Invest Wales said: “Encouraging young people to become enterprising is an important step in helping to unlock the longer-term potential of our economy and create opportunity for all.

“2B Enterprising has captured the hearts and minds of a syndicate of business angels who all recognise the value of syndicate investments and the extra firepower that they can bring to companies looking to scale-up. We wish them every success.”

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Welsh and UK Governments agree to establish Freeports in Wales

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The Welsh Government has reached agreement with the UK Government on the establishment of Freeports in Wales.

Welsh Ministers have agreed to support Freeport policies in Wales following the UK Government’s agreement to meet the Welsh Government’s demands that UK Ministers provide at least £26m of non-repayable starter funding for any Freeport established in Wales, which represents a parity with the deals offered to English Freeports.

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The UK Government have agreed to meet a number of other demands – including that both Governments will act on the basis of a ‘partnership of equals’ to deliver any Freeports in Wales.

In addition, both Governments have agreed a Freeport will only be implemented if it can be demonstrated clearly it will operate in a manner that aligns with the Welsh Government’s policies on fair work and environmental sustainability, including the commitment to Wales becoming a net-zero carbon nation.

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “Following considerable engagement between our Governments, I’m pleased we have been able to reach agreement with UK Ministers to establish Freeports in Wales. The agreement we have reached is fair to Wales, and respects the Welsh Government’s responsibilities in devolved policy areas.

“However, we have made it clear to the UK Government that a Freeport will only be implemented if it can be demonstrated, using robust evidence and analysis, that it will support our fair work agenda and deliver long-term, sustainable benefits for Wales, and value for money for Welsh taxpayers.

“I very much hope that the UK Government’s willingness to work with the Welsh Government as equals on Freeports can provide a positive model for future co-operation between our governments on other initiatives.”

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The UK Government’s Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove said: “I am delighted that Wales is the latest area in the UK set to benefit from a new Freeport.

“The UK Government’s ambitious Freeports agenda will help to level up our coastal communities and create new opportunities for people right across the country.

“Together with the Welsh Government, I look forward to seeing innovative proposals come forward that demonstrate tangible benefits for the people of Wales.”

In addition, Welsh and UK Ministers have agreed that the UK Government will provide tax incentives for Freeports in Wales in parity with Freeports in other parts of the United Kingdom for the reserved taxes that have been designated to advance the policy aims. The Welsh Government will design tax reliefs from local and devolved taxes (Non-Domestic Rates and Land Transaction Tax) to support the policy aims.

Both Governments say they will remain open to the possibility of a multi-site Freeport in Wales. In recognition of Wales’ unique economic geography and the Welsh Government’s aspirations for economic development in Wales, the UK Government is willing to relax the 45 km boundary limit for a multi-site Freeport solution, should there be a sufficiently compelling case for doing so.

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Both Governments will also remain open to the possibility of allowing more than one Freeport in Wales, should they be presented with a sufficiently compelling business case.

As with English Freeports, a fair and open competitive process will be used to determine where the policy should be implemented in Wales. Both Governments will work together to co-design the process for Freeport site selection, and both will have an equal say in all decisions throughout the implementation process. This includes the final decision on site selection.

Both Governments have begun the process of designing the bid prospectus for the competition and further details about the timing of next steps will be released in due course.

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Swansea digital agency iCreate enters the metaverse with bespoke digital environments

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Swansea-based creative agency iCreate is entering the metaverse by creating 3D visual environments for Dubai-based NFT boutique Jumi – a new outlet for curated digital art.

The metaverse hit the headlines last year when Facebook’s parent company rebranded to Meta, reflecting the growing potential of the internet to offer an interactive virtual world through AI and 3D digital animation.

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The metaverse offers social connection through technology, interaction with brands and businesses, and online recreation.

It encompasses everything from online video games to virtual shops where you can digitally try on items before you buy them, and bespoke venues for online events of all kinds.

It’s expected to expand into an online world where people will have their own virtual avatars which they take from one virtual environment to another, purchasing virtual products for them and housing them in virtual homes.

This is where iCreate – which specialises in creating digital environments – comes in. The company provides CGIs, 3D flythrough animations, VR tours and marketing brochures to the off-plan property sector.

From interactive, customisable home interiors that enable buyers to plan every detail of their dream home, through to large-scale digital animations of new housing developments, iCreate is adept at creating virtual environments that look and feel like the real thing.

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Now it’s teaming up with Jumi and other partners to create digital environments that will never be built in the real world, but will exist in the metaverse, where people’s avatars can explore and socialise in them.

A key aspect of the metaverse is non-fungible tokens (NFTs): digital assets that can be bought and traded. These are increasingly hitting the headlines as everyone from independent artists to big brands creates and sells digital-only products, music, artwork and more.

Dawn Lyle (right) and the team at iCreate

Jumy, which completed a $1.2M seed funding round last year, is the ultimate NFT boutique marketplace for exclusive digital art. All artworks are curated from the world’s most creative digital artists, to guarantee outstanding quality.

The platform is the world’s first to offer a fully integrated digital art experience where visitors will be able to purchase pieces with payment cards, trade their NFTs, order NFT frames (digital frames for NFT art) and flex their NFTs on metaverse – all in one place.

By collaborating with Jumi, iCreate will make beautiful, exclusive digital environments for displaying NFTs in the metaverse. From here, it’s expected that a new market in bespoke virtual homes and offices will develop over the coming years, as more aspects of all our lives are lived in the metaverse.

Dawn Lyle, iCreate’s co-founder, said: “We’re delighted to have formed this new partnership with Jumi and to be taking our bespoke digital environments into the metaverse.

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“The metaverse offers such a wealth of possibilities, and over the coming years it will become increasingly common to play, meet and do business with people all over the world in virtual settings.

“We’re excited to be creating stunning digital environments in which these activities can take place; in the metaverse, there are no limitations and it’s possible to bring dreams to life, creating astonishing virtual places that delight and surprise. It gives us the opportunity to put all our creative skills to use in exciting new ways and we can’t wait to get started.”

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River Island launches its brand new Swansea concept store this weekend

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Fashion chain River Island is revealing its brand new concept store at Morfa Retail Park in Swansea on Saturday (7 May).

Located at the former New Look store at Unit 6 on the Brunel Way shopping centre, the new store is just a few doors down from its previous outlet, although promises to be an even bigger and better boutique shopping experience.

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Located across two floors, the 8,253 square foot store has been specially curated to the tastes of Swansea shoppers according to the fashion chain.

Set across one level, womenswear will occupy just over half the space, with the remainder split between menswear and kidswear, stocking kids, mini and baby.

To celebrate the new opening, River Island will be hosting a launch event weekend in-store on the 7th and 8th of May, where shoppers can expect to hear celebratory sounds with in-store DJ sets, whilst the first lucky 100 customers through the doors will receive a £10 gift card which can be redeemed in-store or online.

Frances Baker, River Island Property Director said: “River Island is thrilled to be relocating and open ing a new boutique store in Swansea, Morfa as part of our segmentation programme.

“We are excited to introduce our concept store to our existing loyal customers, with exciting opportunities to acquire new customers with our new look-and-feel store.”

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River Island say the store upgrade strengthens its 300 strong estate and solidifies its message of “standing by the high street”, a campaign set up in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic to show solidarity with other high street brands negatively hit by the effects of the pandemic.

The fashion chain say that by investing in finding ways to encourage and entice customers to return to in-person shopping it hopes to “enhance and improve the shopping journey for its customers”.

(Lead image: River Island)

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