ECONOMY MINISTER, Ken Skates is calling on the business community to support a new initiative aimed at increasing the number of women entrepreneurs in Wales and providing them with the best possible support.
The Welsh Government’s new Supporting Entrepreneurial Women programme was informed by the work of a panel of experts, convened in 2017 to consider how best to encourage, develop and support female entrepreneurship in Wales.
The panel, chaired by Helen Walbey, considered an array of academic evidence and literature on women in entrepreneurship, spoke to a range of businesswomen, representative groups and partner bodies, and aligned its work with the principles of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme which is championed by Be the Spark in Wales.
The result is a new Framework for Supporting Entrepreneurial Women in Wales and a Good Practice Guide to inform how the Welsh Government and business community works to drive the number of women entrepreneurs in Wales.
The Welsh Government have also responded by publishing the Business Wales Action Plan which identifies 10 specific ways in which the Welsh Government and business community can improve. From providing more gender focussed business support and confidence building, increasing the number of female business advisors and mentors in Wales and promoting the career successes of prominent female entrepreneurs including through business awards, the action plan aims to create the right environment in which female entrepreneurs can prosper.
There is also renewed focus on engagement with women entrepreneurs to understand the barriers they face, improved availability of finance options with no restrictions that unfairly affect women, and a Good Practice Guide that encourages business support organisations to adopt ways of working that support female Entrepreneurship.
The Economy Minister launched the Framework, Good Practice Guide and the Action Plan at a celebratory event in Capital Law. This will be followed by regional events, jointly organised by the Welsh Government and Lloyds Bank, to ensure that business groups right across Wales are aware of the new resources and their role in supporting female entrepreneurship.
The Economy Minister said: “The underrepresentation of women both as business owners and at a senior executive level is well evidenced and there is no doubt the gender gap is hindering women from achieving their full economic and personal potential.
“Our Economic Action Plan focuses on creating the right environment to enable entrepreneurs to prosper and grow and obviously this must apply to women, just as much as men.
“The work undertaken by the panel of experts recognised the progress that we as the Welsh Government and business representative groups have made in recent years in supporting female entrepreneurship – but the message is clear. We must do more, and with Brexit presenting challenges of an unprecedented scale, now more than ever we need our best talent around the table.
“I call on the business community and financial institutions to work with us to adopt a more gender focussed approach to their work. I hope they will use our new Framework and Good Practice Guide to ensure they play their part in building an environment where women entrepreneurs are encouraged and properly supported to reach their full potential.“
Jane Hutt, Deputy Minister and Chief Whip said: “All women should be given equal opportunities and representation at the most senior level. Helping to understand and remove barriers that women face in entrepreneurial opportunities will support the potential growth of women in business. Through this support, we hope women will be more fairly represented and can flourish in the business sector.
“Although, there is still so much more we can do to achieve better gender equality, this initiative will help women to achieve their full potential and to move away from the underrepresentation of women at senior roles.”
£100k funding boosts local food production
LOCAL AM, Lee Waters has announced £100,000 of funding for a project to transform local food production and boost the economy across Carmarthenshire.
The project by Carmarthenshire Public Service Board will provide business opportunities for locally or regionally-based companies and bring environmental benefits by lowering food miles and associated carbon costs. It has been funded as part of a £4.6m package to boost the foundational economy.
The foundational economy approach is being adopted by cities and regions across the world, but Wales is the first country in the world to embrace it on a national scale. The foundational economy is made up of the everyday goods and services we all need and use with estimates suggesting it accounts for four out of every 10 jobs and £1 in every three we spend.
Lee Waters, who is also the Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport in the Welsh Government, said,
“I came into politics and Government with the aim of helping the communities where I grew up and those like them.
“Supporting the Foundational Economy is a key way to do this. This is a vitally important part of the economy which makes a big difference to the livelihoods of many people as well as our cities, towns and villages.”
The announcement was made alongside the First Minister Mark Drakeford at an event at University of Wales Trinity St David.
Another project to be awarded funding is being led by Cyfle Building Skills Ltd. It will receive £86,500 to work with construction employers and provide opportunities for apprentices to receive valuable work experience placements throughout the industry in Carmarthenshire.
Lee Waters added “It’s been great to join the First Minister in Carmarthen to learn more about what it potentially a very exciting project and one which will change the way food is procured locally for the benefit of area’s communities.
“The Foundational Economy Challenge Fund is a clear demonstration of our commitment to supporting people in all parts of Wales today, tomorrow and into the future.”
Zoe Evans, Llanelli painter and decorator, is British Apprentice of the Year
Zoe Evans, a 21 year old painter and decorator from Llanelli, has been named the GB Apprentice of the Year and Welsh Apprentice of the Year at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)
The CITB Apprenticeship Awards celebrate the achievements of apprentices and employers across the UK for their commitment and dedication to construction.
The winners were presented with their awards at a ceremony hosted by broadcaster and property entrepreneur, Sarah Beeny. The ceremony took place at Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London (7 November).
Zoe completed a level 2 apprenticeship in painting and decorating, to go onto achieve her Advanced level 3. With her artistic flair, Zoe enjoys the creative aspects of her trade and plans to take a career route in interior design. Zoe’s amazing commitment to being the best she can, has attributed to her becoming an ambassador for women in construction and being the face of the posters across her college, Coleg Sir Gar.
Zoe said: “I’ve loved every single part of my apprentice journey, from the classroom learning to the practical application and the more creative aspects of the job. I want to thank my mentor, Ken MacKay and my employer Ian Williams Ltd. It’s a really good feeling to know that I’ve been
recognised in this way. I’d definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone willing to work hard, have goals and go full out to achieve them.”
Jon Davies, CITB Apprenticeship Officer, said: “When Zoe started her apprenticeship we saw her potential so we fast tracked her from level 1 to level 2. It was important for me to make sure she had the right support to reach the heights she is capable of, and she is doing just that. Zoe makes work a brighter place for everyone around her. Her positive attitude and ability makes her a perfect ambassador for women in construction, and I am really pleased this has been recognised with her award.”
Kevin Mcloughlin, CITB board member and founder and Managing Director of Mcloughlin Decorating, said: “Congratulations to Zoe, a clearly dedicated apprentice – it’s great to recognise her hard work. Apprenticeships provide a fast track route into the construction industry. With so many rewarding careers opportunities in construction there is something out there for everyone. I wish Zoe all the best in her career in construction.”
Community at heart of plans to transform Llanelli’s Tyisha
LLANELLI’s Tyisha ward is to be transformed as part of a multi-million-pound regeneration project with the community at the heart of it.
It follows a massive consultation exercise which took place last year in which residents, tenants and local businesses were asked to help plan for changes and improvements that will affect their future.
All the views, opinions and ideas gathered from the community have been used to develop a regeneration masterplan for the area.
Whilst representing socio-economic and environmental challenges, Tyisha is seen as an area of strategic importance, providing a vital link between Llanelli town centre and the Wellness Village at Delta Lakes.
It has the highest population density in Carmarthenshire, and over a quarter of housing is social rented, in low demand and difficult to let.
The aim is to create a vibrant community where people want to live and work by delivering new mixed-use housing developments, improving the local environment, tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, developing more community facilities, bringing vacant business premises back into use and providing opportunities for education, training and employment.
The council is working in partnership with a number of key organisations including the police and Llanelli Town Council to drive forward the regeneration plans, and a community steering group has been set up.
A report setting out the long-term ambition for the Tyisha area will go before the council’s Executive Board on Monday, October 21.
Executive Board Member for Communities Cllr Cefin Campbell who is also chair of the project steering group, said: “The people of Tyisha want to see the area improve and want to be part of the change, which is so important. They have come to us with their ideas for the area and we know what matters to them; now it is time to put all this into action.
“We are committed to working with the community to improve their prospects by developing their skills and confidence and giving them aspirations for the future. There is a lot of work to do but I am very excited about what is to come, I hope the community are too.”
A total of £9.3million has been allocated from the council’s New Build Programme (Housing Revenue Account) specifically for the Station Road area to assist in its regeneration.
Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “I would like to thank residents, tenants and businesses for working with us to develop this plan for future investment and development for the area.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners and with the community to make sure what is being delivered is what the community needs and wants. Housing officers will be engaging directly with tenants to discuss their housing needs and options for the future. Drop-in sessions will be held throughout the ward during November and December to discuss the proposals with residents and we are also looking at setting up a base in the Station Road area. It is time for change and by working together we really can make this happen.”
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