Wales offers more support for entrepreneurs

Western Mail

by David Rosser

THIS week the Welsh Assembly Government will launch its new business support programme for companies in Wales.

So perhaps it is a good time to be looking at some of the issues facing entrepreneurs here – in fact the grouping of business organisations, Business Wales, has put this on the agenda for our next meeting with WAG.

While it is easy to be disappointed at the state of entrepreneurship in Wales, and the figures do not sparkle, there are actually some good quality companies being grown which are addressing external markets.

I have just returned from participating in the judging for the Western Mail’s Business Achiever of the Year award – it was the strongest field for some time and three of the four short listed individuals had each floated their company in the past two years.

So while the statistics on start-ups may not be where we would wish, there are some entrepreneurs showing real strategic clarity and an ambition for their companies.

There are some other reasons to be cheerful – the World Bank last year reported that the UK is the sixth easiest place in the world to set up a company, and also found the cost of employing people here to be relatively low.

And television producers are still mesmerised by the flair and personality of some of our big name entrepreneurs ensuring plenty of airtime for the subject.

But television programmes fade and it would be good to give the UK’s culture of entrepreneurship deeper roots.

We have tended to be a bit more tentative than our counterparts in the US and we need to nurture the UK’s appetite for embracing risk and the possibility of failure.

Innovation is responsible for a growing share of our productivity growth and the US, China and India are setting a fast pace.

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