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February/March 2017

Issue 46




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Fly betw een Cardiff and London City up to tw ice a day

                                                                                       

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1/27/2017 10:15:13 AM

Editor’s Letter


February/March 2017

Issue 46







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1/27/2017 9:20:46 AM

Swansea Bay Business Life 220 High Street, Urban Village, Swansea, SA1 1NW @SwanBayBusiness

Publisher South West Wales Media

Editor Chris Pyke @ccipyke • 01792 545 564

Contributors Tommy Davies, Julie Williamson, Ted Sangster, Emlyn Dole, Juliet Luporini, Lawrence Bailey, Dave Kieft, Ian Price, Adam Curtis

Design & Production - William Scott Artus - SWWMedia Creative Studio

Photography SWWMedia Photographic Team Front cover: Gayle Marsh

Publisher Lisa Cameron

Advertising Manager Debbie Roberts 01792 545 626

Head of Business Zena Laws 01792 545 585

Subscription 03337778004

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All change For mer editor, Chr is Ca mpbell, has lef t Swa nsea Bay Business Life for London, a nd I have to adm it to feeling somewhat a k in to a substit ute com ing on for the f ina l few m inutes of the match. But to ma ke things more easy I a m a lso ca lled Chr is. I n his last big inter v iew for the maga zine Chr is met w ith Ja mes Morse, Nex tcolour Development ’s com mercia l direc tor, at O yster W ha r f in Mumbles. A nd Mr Morse’s hopes for the reg ion a re cer ta inly infec tious. T he Swa nsea-bred businessma n has big a mbitions a nd hopef ully the devlopment at O yster W ha r f is just the sta r t of his work in helping to tra nsfor m the a rea. T he reg ion is on the c usp of some major developments, creating business oppor t unities for both established f ir ms a nd sta r t-ups. A nd we w ill be look ing to feat ure ma ny of them in the pages of for thcom ing issues. I hope to meet many of you at the Swansea Bay Business Awards 2017. This year the event, in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers, is being held at Swansea’s Brang w yn Hall on March 3. Last year it was a huge success and it is a f ull house again this year. A lison Or rells, ma nag ing direc tor of the Sa fet y Let terbox Compa ny, says we live a nd work in a geog raphica lly unique location w ithin the U K. Ms Or rells, one the judges at the awa rds, is staggered by the diversit y, successes a nd versatilit y this reg ion has to of fer.

A nd that is ev ident in this issue of the maga zine. T here a re businesses sta r ting, such as the ma n behind a ma ke -up br ush clea ner that has Holly wood bu zzing a nd the 24 -yea r- old ta k ing her f irst business steps w ith her ow n sa lon. T here is Bluestone look ing to ta ke on 30 0 more members of staf f a nd where employees w ill now become sha reholders in the resor t. A nd a children’s produc t ma nufac t urer which is look ing to br ing its fac tor y f rom China to West Wa les. We a lso have established compa nies that employ la rge numbers of loca l people, such as Bur ns Nat ura l Food for Pets. the Top 10 0 compa ny has been going for more tha n t wo decades a nd has a t ur nover approaching £ 25 m illion. Business Life a lso spea ks to Cha rlot te Ha le on how she has moved into the fa m ily constr uc tion business a nd how she f inds it work ing in such a ma le - dom inated industr y. Fina lly, a nd going back to the spor ts metaphor ( you ca n tell the Si x Nations is about to k ick of f ), as a late substit ute who has been told he w ill be sta r ting the nex t ga me I a m keen to hea r your thoughts, so please feel f ree to contac t me on chr is.pyke@ mediawa

Chris Pyke


1/27/2017 9:24:44 AM


07 Contents In Focus



James Morse The Nextcolour director on the Oyster Wharf development in Mumbles and his plans for the region


Burns Pet Food The local pet food supplier who has stayed true to his roots


Start ups

Hale Construction Charlotte Hale on working in the male-dominated industry



Nailed It! The 24-year-old running her own beauty salon

Dawsons The award-winning estate agent celebrating it’s 25th anniversary

Our region

Technlogy & Communication


Pembrokeshire Bluestone creating 300 jobs


Carmarthenshire The children’s travel product maker Ickle Bubba


Neath Port Talbot A tour of Bay Studios


Swansea The creator of the BEST Makeup Brush Cleaner


Gower View Foods The recipe of success for the Fast Track 25 Company

Property & Construction

104 Johnny on the Spot The surfing app from the Swansea University lecturer

Motoring 116 Peugeot 3008



Click Digital Growth The young entrepreneur who has taken a leap of faith


Glasstech World-class recycling plant based in Swansea

Networking 124 The events and nights from the Swansea business scene 136 Offside Tommy gives a defence of President Trump

Our columnists...

Dave Kieft

Juliet Luporini

Lawrence Bailey

Julie Williamson

President of the ECA Wales

Chairwoman of Swansea BID

Owner of Whiterock Consulting

Chairwoman of the FSB Swansea Bay branch

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1/27/2017 9:31:02 AM

Merlin’s Merlin’s Walk FAMILY SHOPPING in the heart of Carmarthen Year-round events Mall space to rent 24 shops, many open 7 days : Free wi-fi Car park & bus station nearby Family entertainment : Everyday value, great choice

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Emlyn Dole

Ted Sangster

Ian Price

Adam Curtis

Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council

Chairman of the Pembrokeshire Business Panel

Assistant director of CBI Wales

CEO of Hoowla and MD of Clockwork Bear

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1/27/2017 9:31:25 AM

Industry Insight

All Aboard! Prepare to Embark on the Apprenticeship Levy In 2017 the so-called ‘Apprenticeship Levy’ rolls-out across the UK, including in Wales. Whilst it will impact a limited number of organisations – those with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million – companies, regardless of size, should keep an eye on the levy and its implications. Government thinking behind the levy is that it will potentially raise around £2.5bn a year to support investment in apprenticeships. Yet, despite its imminent introduction, the finer details of the plans are still being honed, so larger employers in Wales need to closely watch developments. The levy comes into force from 6 April 2017 and eligible employers will be liable to pay HMRC 0.5% of their wage bill, via the PAYE. While all UK employers will be subject to the scheme, the £15,000 per annum allowance means that employers with an annual wage bill below the £3m threshold do not need to pay - at least for now. (Allowance is calculated as: 0.5% x £3m = £15,000). So what is an apprenticeship? Popularised by Lord Sugar’s reality TV show, so-called ‘modern apprenticeships’ are enjoying something of a renaissance. A generation ago, school leavers would routinely go straight into training – as an apprentice – to experience hands-on learning of a trade or profession. But as a generation of grant-aided teenagers opted for university, apprenticeships lapsed, but the introduction of fees now means that higher education is an expensive option, and apprenticeships are once again becoming an attractive

alternative to school leavers. Employers who pay the levy will be entitled to access a newly established digital apprenticeship service to fund qualifying apprentice training programmes. Employers can pay for their apprentices’ training, assessments and qualifications, but not their apprentices’ salary or associated employment costs. Employers will be entitled to two years access to this funding for relevant training, with any unspent funds after this period being redistributed to other employers in the scheme. In England the government will apply a 10% top-up to all contributions, and it is hoped that the Welsh Government will follow suit. How will this affect your organisation? As an employer you will need to ensure that your systems and processes are capable of capturing the relevant data and, if your pay bill is above the £3m mark, remitting the levy. In addition to any levy payments, the administration of the scheme, including systems changes, will almost certainly result in increased business costs, although there could be an element of saving in existing training budgets if the training can be proven to meet the scheme’s requirements. In order to access the funding, employers will have to offer Government-standard ‘qualifying’ apprenticeship schemes, and should be prepared to meet the costs associated with obtaining such accreditation.

the levy and enable access to additional funding. The recruitment of new staff should be considered carefully in this light to see if these roles can be aligned with the scheme, and hence result in cost savings. As businesses, we frequently see only the downside – usually the costs – and don’t appreciate that this could be an opportunity to recruit intelligently, as well as to potentially upskill our existing staff base. Apprenticeships do not need to be exclusively the prerogative of the young learning the skills of a trade: they can also be used in the services sector, and can cover a raft of programmes including degreelevel and professional qualifications. Developing a sound levy strategy is a must. This involves thinking laterally at areas where new recruits or existing employees with a potential for upskilling could plug skills-gaps in your organisation. Tying the scheme in with a leadership and management programme is one idea, as is ensuring that your strategy is in place for the long term. How can we help? At PwC we have a range of resources to assist you in your requirements. You may wish to consider outsourcing your payroll function, including the administration of the levy, to our payroll professionals as we offer a fully compliant payroll service and can guide you through the process.

Employers will be incentivised to recruit new apprentices to balance the cost of

If you would like to talk to us, please just get in touch with Ian Clarke or Sue Mortimer at PwC Swansea for a chat ( / or call Ian on 07764 331557 or Sue on 07841 926405.

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Take the bull by the horns James Morse of Next Developments Ltd, which is behind a major project in the Swansea Bay region, talks to Business Life about using inspiration from Europe and the US 7

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Bravery is needed to transform Swansea and the city centre, according to the head of a developer in the region. James Morse, commercial director at Nextcolour Developments Ltd, believes the county can be transformed if the right road is taken on sprucing up old buildings in the city, including on The Kingsway. Speaking to Business Life at Croeso Lounge, at the new Oyster Wharf Development in Mumbles, Mr Morse said the public and businesses were crying out for more block developments in the city centre. “There’s a lot of buildings in Swansea city centre that if you look up, on The Kingsway, are absolutely beautiful,” he said. “With a bit of paint and a bit of thought into it, they could look stunning. It almost could look quite amazing there. “It doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be well thought through. Painting the brick and using two different colours and using subtle colours,

not too garish and then using materials that complement it. All the upstairs areas of The Kingsway could look fantastic. When you go and look there at night, all the upper floors do look quite amazing and we’ve got some amazing looking 1950s buildings that if they were properly cared for could look quite stunning. “One (building) can get lost but if you can do a block or strip like here (Oyster Wharf) then you can really make a difference.” Morse added more offices and facilities for office workers were vital in attracting more people to the city centre. He hopes to work on Swansea’s Castle Square in future, if the opportunity presented itself, to help it achieve its full potential. He also believes Swansea Market is a “jewel” in need of refurbishment that the city is missing a trick with in terms of attracting more visitors. “If you’re trying to create something that’s quite different, you’ve got to be

ONE (BUILDING) CAN GET LOST BUT IF YOU CAN DO A BLOCK OR STRIP LIKE HERE (OYSTER WHARF) THEN YOU CAN REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE. brave and you’ve got to think of a plan and have a vision and see how you’re going to do it,” Morse said. “It’s not rocket science. It’s having a bit of conviction, that you’re going to paint it, you’re going to do x, y and z to it and it’s going to look great.


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The Big Interview

In Focus


“I’ve seen it in so many other cities where they’ve taken old buildings and they’ve re-designed them in a contemporary fashion, it’s quite amazing. And in the States they’re building them in that 1950s style, which is crazy when we’ve got them all here, we just need to do them up. And there are grants available in the city centre as well; there’s grants available to do up the buildings. It’s just you need to get a large enough block to make a difference otherwise it will get lost, that’s the biggest problem. You need to have enough - two or three buildings in a row - to show what you can do and then it works. “I think if I just did one building here it would’ve got slightly lost, but because we did the whole stretch - we did like a street scene here - we were able to create something unique but in character for the area. “There’s no reason why Swansea city centre couldn’t be the same. I have great confidence in the council and the leadership there. I think they have a vision

and I think they’re receptive to everything and they need total support. “I agree that Oceana should be knocked down and office developments should go there. I agree we need more people working in town and sometimes you’ve got to be brave and Swansea city centre has been on the rot for 30 years and it’s not an easy solution to fix it, you’ve just got to bite the bullet and sort it out. I think we’ve been let down by numerous retail schemes and developers that promise everything. Our timing’s pretty bad because the economy always goes to a massive downfall just as we’re starting to build something. We’ve been unfortunate on timings but hopefully this time I think we’re going to get it right.” Mr Morse added quality student accommodation and the number of international students in the city was helping to boost the area but it was about having the right mix of commercial development. He said: “I think we’ve got to get people working, first of all, in the city centre. I think the key is more offices our office space isn’t good enough and we’ve got to be brave and we’ve got to put our offices back in. It’s great to have a vibrant city centre, it’s great that we have accommodation in there, student accommodation etc, but we need workers. “Student accommodation is definitely flavour of the month and I think it’s great, but also you need a proper mix, so you need young professionals working in there and you also need offices.

The students are here for only six months of the year, so it’s got to thrive in between. “I think we should be a lifestyle city. We should celebrate our wonderful scenery and our bay and we should have more going on in the bay, which has always been talked about. I think within three years’ time if we get people and offices back in the city centre, we will start to see an improvement in national retailers coming back. But the key is getting office workers in there and I think once you start getting office workers in there, we need to get the young professionals. So we get a vibrancy.” Mr Morse added he was impressed by SA1 and said it should cause the office market to “shift” creating an opportunity for decent offices in the city centre. “It’s got to be done right and it’s got to be done with quality,” he said. “If we’re going to do second rate stuff we’re never going to get this city sorted. Like here (Oyster Wharf), we tried to do as best quality as we could afford because we wanted to make a destination.” Already crowds have been gathering at Croeso Lounge and restaurant Prezzo at Oyster Wharf and there is a definite buzz. The venues are joined at the top with an outdoor seating area that looks out over the bay and is likely to be a popular spot during warmer months. There are natural elements to the design, which Morse says adds to the “soul” of the project. This includes a ‘living wall’ of plants, which climbs up the development near the restaurant and cafe entrances. 9

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In Focus

The Big Interview

“My twist on it is using natural materials as much as I can and putting as much landscaping in as I can because I think it softens buildings and it gives people the right effect,” he said. “The living wall and the planting and putting in all the grass that’s here and the detail on the box hedging on the terraces. That’s actually built into the terrace, so it’s not an afterthought. Landscaping comes at the forefront, rather than an afterthought, which I think is really important. “Every project is different. Tomorrow, if the project’s right, I might do something very modern looking. The way this (Oyster Wharf) looks, suited Mumbles. The feedback we’ve had so far has been very positive. “We kept the art deco style of the building, which I think all the locals were happy about and we’ve done it all without any public funding whatsoever or grants. It’s all just private money, which I’m quite proud of really. “It’s a look that everybody likes at the moment. I think art deco is quite trendy still. I think it’s a celebration of certain styles, because so much of it is contemporary. What we tried to do with Tivoli - it was built in 1938 - we’ve just given it a contemporary look by putting the windows back in, they were all boarded up, and we just played around with the paint. We’ve two different colour paints. I think it’s interesting what you can do with just colours.” Croeso Lounge and Prezzo are due to be joined by two more venues this year. Bistrot Pierre and La Parrilla, which is run by Daniel Tercero of La Braseria in Wind Street and La Parrilla in SA1, will open in March.

IF YOU GIVE A WOW FACTOR, PEOPLE WILL COME IN AGAIN AND THAT’S QUITE EASILY DONE BUT YOU’VE GOT TO THINK IT THROUGH The opening of Croeso Lounge by bar group Loungers saw the creation of around 25 jobs. Loungers spent £610,000 transforming the site. The Co-operative has opened its new store inside the renovated Tivoli. With homeware and clothing stores, Seasalt and Joules, occupying the vacated Co-op premises opposite on Mumbles Road. Morse, from Swansea, has been involved in development for 22 years. He worked for major property companies in London on investment and development, which included trade in Europe. He also worked on two shopping centres in Brazil and spent time on projects in the US, admiring how they built and could afford to develop so well there. His forte is retail and leisure, he read estate management at the University of Reading. But Mr Morse, who went to Oakleigh House School in Swansea and later to boarding school, wanted to come back and lead projects in the region. He said it was important residents were “proud” of the developments they had in their region and that should be the aim of future projects. He said: “A lot of people say we’re desperate for something to happen in

Mumbles, we need to get it a bit more vibrant. So, that’s been very positive. “It was hard work getting operators here in the beginning, because Swansea’s never top of the list and you have to sell it. But luckily they believed in what we’re going to deliver here and we got them here and I think it will have a knock-on effect for the rest of Swansea Bay, which is brilliant. “If you give a wow factor, people will come in again and that’s quite easily done but you’ve got to think it through.” And Mr Morse is not letting politics get in the way of his vision of how the city could be transformed in the future. He said the UK’s Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as future elections in Europe, would have little impact. “I’m confident and optimistic,” he said. “I think Swansea’s fairly resilient to what’s happening. I think because we have been so far behind the curve, we’re catching up very, very quickly so I don’t think we’ve been affected as much as other cities. “I think we’re coming from a very low base and I think the likes of the university etc and the new campus has been brilliant for the city and then the University Of Wales Trinity Saint David, and I think the commercial elements now will catch up with that.”


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In Focus

West Wales Business Awards

Morganstone was crowned Business of the Year

Construction, sponsored by Morgan LaRoche, was won by Morganstone

Agricultural, sponsored by Aberystwyth University, was won by WJ Phillips Cwm Dairy Farm

Tourism and Leisure, sponsored by Stradey Park Hotel, was won by Mansion House, Llansteffan

Small Business Award, sponsored by BTG, won by Ickle Bubba

Best in West The West Wales Business Awards celebrated companies from across the region at the Stradey Park Hotel The third annual West Wales Business Awards celebrated the success of firms from across the region at a gala dinner. Morganstone won the Business of the Year title, as well as picking up the Construction business title at the Stradey Park Hotel. Overall sponsor was the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. The prestigious event, organised by the Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star, saw more than 280 pack out the room

at the hotel as 11 awards in a range of categories were handed out. Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star deputy editor Lee MacGregor said it was a pleasure to see so many businesses, who drive the local economy, coming together under one roof. He added: “The awards are a fantastic way for us to give something back to the business community,” he said. “The variety of businesses that are flourishing in our region helps add to

the success of the awards, which are a chance for businesses and their workers to celebrate their achievements in good company. “Judging really was a difficult task.There were many excellent businesses that didn’t make the shortlists for the awards, so each firm at Stradey Park should be proud, they really were all winners. “I would also like to thank our sponsors, without them these awards would not be possible.”

Sponsored by:


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Food and Drink, sponsred by JCP, was won by Wright’s Food Emporium

Training and Development, sponsored by Alpha Safety, was won by Cyfle Building Skills

Who is Morganstone

Manufacturing (small), sponsored by Redkite Law, was won by Broadleaf Timber

Manufacturing (large), sponsored by Redkite Law, was won by Calsonic Kansei

Retail, sponsored by Merlin’s Walk Shopping Centre, was won by Village Store and Post Office Llansteffan

Service Award, sponsored by LTC Mobility, was won by Morgan and Morgan

Ian Morgan, managing director of Morganstone, said it was a surprise to win the overall Business of the Year. He said: “It was great to win the construction category, but to win business of the year too was a great surprise.” Next year the construction company will be marking 10 years in business. Mr Morgan added: “We have won awards over the years but I think these were the first awards on a regional level that we have won which we are very proud to have won. “Plus the awards night itself was great because it brought firms together and for us to see how we all work. “It makes you see how many great businesses there are here in West Wales.” Morganstone was established in 2008 by Mr Morgan. The company is fast becoming Wales’ foremost construction service. From its headquarters in Llanelli, it is delivering a growing number of high quality developments for public sector organisations, private developers and residential landlords. Morganstone aims to deliver each and every development project on time, within budget and to the highest possible standards. The company’s unique values have helped it expand rapidly.

The company prides itself on consistently delivering high quality results that create value and connect local communities throughout Wales and the south of England. Speaking about the overall success of the awards, Principal of Coleg Sir Gar and awards judge Barry Liles said: “It was another great awards night and a real celebration of the business talent that we have in this part of Wales. “Not only that, I think the night highlighted the different types of business that we can be proud of. “It’s a showcase of the success stories we have in West Wales and a platform for them to be recognised. “It was an honour to judge again and everyone can be proud of playing a part in this year’s awards.” The evening started with a performance by Cor Curiad choir and following the dinner there was guest speaker Dr Paul Thomas. He spoke about management approaches and how effectively tearing up the top-down approach to business leadership was key. Morganstone was crowned Business of the Year.

Morganstone is a fast growing, multidisciplined construction company with a reputation for delivering high quality, cost effective developments. Founded in 2008, Llanelli based SME Morganstone has grown from a turnover of £600,000 and two employees to a turnover in 2016 of £24,000,000 million and 97 employees. This year has seen significant achievements: 343 new homes built, and high values in all sectors including £40.1 million in residential. There has been 80 per cent repeat business, an open market sales division, and M & E and Groundworks divisions. Morganstone is committed to West Wales as a Living Wage Employer and employs many members of staff from the Carmarthenshire area, including graduates for their graduate training program. They also invest almost £40,000 in staff training, and maintain occupational health assessments to keep employees healthy and safe over time. Key to Morganstone’s philosophy is its commitment to their community benefits legacy, they donate to many local charities: Ty-Olwen Cancer Unit, Ammanford Cricket Family Day fundraiser for the Hywel Dda Urology Unit, and Carmarthenshire FoodBank Collections. Total charitable and community donations reach £39,724. Morganstone has worked with Carmarthenshire county council to develop a World of Work Programme to promote careers and routes into the industry and are now instigating this across South Wales. Morganstone is committed to promoting work in Wales and the local economy, contributing £2 to the Welsh economy for every £1 spent. This brings their overall investment in the economy to £37,693,263. They are also committed to helping small and medium sized enterprises in Wales, contributing 100 percent of their supply chain to Welsh business. Numerous awards have been given to Morganstone, two CCS National Silver Awards, CEW & CIH Cymru Awards Nominations, LABC building excellence Awards, Building Safety Group Welsh Site Manager of the Year, Building Safety Group high commendation for Occupational Health, and Fast Growth 50 Awards.

Pictures: Mike Walters 15

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In Focus

West Wales Business Awards

The West Wales Business Awards celebrated companies from across the region at the Stradey Park Hotel

Agricultural, sponsored by Aberystwyth University, High Commended: Mark Hunter and Nigel’s Dairy

Manufacturing (large), sponsored by Redkite Law, High Commended: Castell Howell, Gestamp Talent

Construction, sponsored by Morgan LaRoche, High Commended: Parker Plant Hire and Castle Scaffolding

Retail, sponsored by Merlin’s Walk Shopping Centre, Jaxxon House and Little Bambino Bags

Manufacturing (small), sponsored by Redkite Law, High Commended: Dividers Folding Partitions and Nolan uPVC

Sponsored by:


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Tourism and Leisure, sponsored by the Stradey Park Hotel, High Commended: Monroe’s at the Llwyndafydd and Gwili Steam Railway

Service Award, sponsored by LTC Mobility, High Commended: ACOP Training and Redkite Law

Food and Drink, sponsored by JCP, High Commended: Plough Rhosmaen and JR Events and Catering

Training and Development, sponsored by Alpha Safety, High Commended: LBS Builders Merchants and Carmarthenshire People First

Small Business Award, sponsored by BTG, High Commended: Hydro Industries and P Griffiths Pharmacy 17

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Constructing the future

As one of Wales’ fastest growing, multi-disciplined construction companies, Morganstone specialises in providing high quality development solutions for housing associations, public sector bodies, local authorities and private developers.

We have extensive experience in the industry having been involved with; • high rise • refurbishment • care homes • education • estate regeneration • social and open market housing • commercial and retail developments.

Contact the company’s dedicated, professional team today to discuss how Morganstone can help you. Morganstone House, Llys Aur, Llanelli Gate, Llanelli, SA14 8LQ. Telephone: 01554 779126 BizLifeFebAds.indd 18

1/27/2017 11:55:32 AM

Swansea Bay Business Awards

In Focus

Pictured: Barry Liles Coleg Sir Gar, Mark Sainsbury Managing Director - Media Wales and South West Wales Media, Jonathan Roberts Editor South Wales Evening Post, Ian Clarke PWC main sponsor and Alison Orrells Winner Woman in Business Saftey Letter box Company.

The shortlist for Swansea Bay Business Awards 2017 has been revealed The shortlist for the prestigious BUSINESS LIFE awards in the Swansea Bay region has been released, and it demonstrates the strength of commerce in the region The 51 companies and individuals shortlisted for the Swansea Bay Business Awards 2017 have been revealed, and they range from ambitious young start-ups to some of the biggest companies in the region. The Swansea Bay Business Awards 2017, held at Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall on March 3, will celebrate some of the greatest business successes in the Swansea Bay region. Run by the South Wales Evening Post and its sister magazine Swansea Bay Business Life in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers, the awards recognise top firms and individuals in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.

This female construction manager wants more women in the industry as figures show a scarce amount South Wales Evening Post editor Jonathan Roberts said: “Once again, it is our great privilege to host this year’s business awards, and recognise those companies who really are the backbone of the Swansea Bay economy. “The standard of entries was incredibly high, reflecting the terrific amount of work done by our business community, work that is often unseen by the wider city region. As you can see from the shortlist revealed today, picking a winner was no easy task as the competition was so fierce.”


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In Focus

Swansea Bay Business Life Awards

Pictured: Highly Commended winner in the Innovation Award category, Haydale.

The 16 award categories include: Business of the Year: 0-25 employees; Business of the Year: 26-149 Employees; Business of the Year: 150+ employees; Entrepreneur of the Year; Green Business; Young Business Person of the Year; Innovation; Manufacturing Business of the Year; Apprenticeship Development; International Trade Business of the Year; Best Business Start up; Tourism & Hospitality Business of the Year; Family Business of the Year; Lifetime Achievement; and Social Enterprise Business of the Year. “This awards night is important because we have so many companies doing extraordinary things. They have a great story to tell, and it’s our job to tell it,” said Mr Roberts. Category sponsors are some of the biggest business names in the region, including JCP Solicitors, NPTC Group, Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay Plc, Gower College Swansea, UWTSD, ND John Wine Merchants and Swansea Bay Business Club. The winners have been selected by the panel of judges, Mr Roberts, Ian Clarke, director, PwC; Media Wales managing director Mark Sainsbury; Alison Orrells, Woman of the Year at our Women in Business awards; and Barry Liles of Coleg Sir Gar. “PwC are delighted again to be sponsors of the Swansea Bay Business Awards,” said Ian Clarke.

THIS AWARDS NIGHT IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE WE HAVE SO MANY COMPANIES DOING EXTRAORDINARY THINGS. THEY HAVE A GREAT STORY TO TELL, AND IT’S OUR JOB TO TELL IT “The volume and quality of the entries is a tribute to the undoubted talent we have in the Swansea Bay region. “We are committed to supporting the local economy and see the Swansea Bay Business Awards as the major showpiece business awards in the area. It is a chance to celebrate success, even more so at times which can be challenging. “Congratulations to all those shortlisted and thank you to everyone who took the time and trouble to enter for the awards. This made for an intensive judging session which was made more challenging by the diversity and quality of the entries. I look forward to seeing you all on the night!”

Mr Roberts added that the awards event would also be bigger and better than ever this year. “The growth of the awards evening itself meant a change of venue last year, yet we still struggled to pack everyone into the Brangwyn Hall. “So it’s no surprise that another full house of more than 400 people will gather on March 3 to celebrate the terrific achievements of companies big and small.” Some of last year’s award winners and, left, this year’s judging panel, Jonathan Roberts, editor of the South Wales Evening Post.

Pictured: Highly Commended winner in the Social Enterprise Award category, Aartic Training.


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Interview The shortlist

Swansea Bay Business Awards Judge Alison Orrells

Business of the Year 0-25 Employees Luminshore Atlas ATV Aspire 2 Be Business of the Year 26-149 Employees Morganstone OSTC Wales Cuddy Environmental Ltd John Weaver Contractors Ltd Business of the Year 150+ Employees Lyte Industries Hornbill Engineering LBS Builders Merchants CEM Day Ltd. Entrepreneur of the Year Mark Jermin Matt Warren at Veeqo POW Virtual Running Green Business of the Year Nappi Cycle Solar Plants Down to Earth Young Business Person of the Year Dan Gravell at Atlas Sarah John at Boss Brewing Christian Evans at Sanktuary Investments Innovation Award Marine Power Systems Swansea Marriott Hotel Luminshore Manufacturing Business of the Year AB Glass Hurns Brewing Company Gower View Foods Apprenticeship Development Amcanu TLC Hornbill Engineering International Trade Business of the Year Planet Veritas Luminshore Hornbill Engineering Best Business Start Up Sanktuary Investments Fuel Factory Wales BEST Ltd Tourism & Hospitality Business of the Year Scamperholidays Ltd LC Swansea St Brides Spa & Hotel Family Business of the Year Glamorgan Tiles Parker Plant Hire CCTV Social Enterprise Award Down to Earth iSmooth Café Xcel Bowl

How did you feel about being asked to be a judge at the Swansea Bay Business Awards 2017? Did you enjoy the experience? I was delighted to be asked to judge at the awards. It was inspiring and fantastic to see the standards of the entries and the amazing achievements by such diverse businesses in the region. It provided the opportunity to give an angle on the judging panel as a female in manufacturing, exporting and as an established employer in this region. I very much understand the complexities, issues and realities of running a business with the pressures and market influences businesses are currently dealing with, so I was able to bring this understanding to the panel. I have been shortlisted on numerous occasions and benefitted from being named a finalist at many award events locally and nationally, on both a personal level and as a business. I therefore felt a responsibility to consider and understand the real issues that each application showed. It was great to see the amazing achievements and often difficult obstacles the applicants have overcome to achieve their goals, with an understanding of what it takes to succeed in challenging circumstances.

With the shortlist for the Swansea Bay Business Awards being announced, how do you think being shortlisted can help these businesses? It’s an opportunity to proudly raise their profile, or reinforce their brand identity as a company moving forward. It can help show a company that is serious about their business with a commitment to achieving goals. Whether it be a new start-up or a large established business, it is all relevant.

Would you encourage businesses in the region to enter such award events? Definitely, as it gets people talking in this region and further afield. These events allow companies to gain exposure of the existence of their business, its growth, any major achievements, future plans and potential, and of course for the individuals involved. It also provides an opportunity for employees to feel proud to be working for a reputable company that is aiming to lead by example, and wants to achieve and demonstrate its commitment to growth. There are a lot of inward opportunities in this region to support one another and the exposure and awareness of each other’s strengths as businesses can provide a network of potential. Being in business is not for the faint hearted and so many people fail. It’s not easy. For those striving to make a difference for themselves personally, for their contribution to their business, for business growth, success and longevity, one thing is for sure – there is determination and passion. This was shown through the applicants for the Swansea Bay Business Awards 2017. All those shortlisted shared a common goal to succeed, to do their very best and showed their commitment to making a difference. It’s a powerful force strongly demonstrated by businesses of all size in this region and the awards will definitely highlight this. 21

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In Focus

A passion for pets

John Burns of Burns Pet Foods, Kidwelly, left with Steve Davies of Barclays Bank

A passion for pets When John Burns formed Burns Pet Nutrition his ideas regarding pet nutrition were revolutionary. Some 23 years on, the company is making a massive contribution to the community and economy of West Wales – and ensuing a healthier pet population nationally Many good companies are founded on the passion and vision of an individual who sees things differently enough to ultimately make a difference. Fewer companies manage to maintain and be true to their original ethos and values for almost 23 years and counting. Yet that is exactly what John Burns, founder and managing director of Burns Pet Nutrition, has achieved. He started the company from his home because it was something he believed in. Now, in spite

of turnover approaching £25 million and regular enquires from venture capital and private equity funds, the company remains true to its original values and a desire to make a difference – to customers and staff alike. “For me, the community values we uphold and our commitment to quality is what makes us different,” says Burns. “Yes, we get approached by other companies wanting to buy us – or buy a stake. But I have never been interested.

We have always grown slowly and steadily based on those values. Our customers appreciate that and I have no plans to change just yet.” During a Top 100 site visit involving sponsor Barclays, Burns explained that the success of the company stems from him establishing what, at the time, was a radical new approach to nutrition for dogs. While practising as a vet in West Wales in the 1970s and 1980s, John Burns says he found himself treating similar


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problems a lot of the time – many of which, he believed, could be solved by better nutrition. He initially used to recommend owners feed their pets home-cooked food instead of what was available commercially at the time. Eventually, he realised a more radical approach was required. After years of research into the field, he developed his own recipe based around whole grains and high quality animal proteins and sought a manufacturing company to make it for him. Initially working from home, Burns Pet Nutrition was formed in 1993 offering a range of premium quality, simple foods intended to allow the body to function naturally. “All of my pet foods are made from the highest quality ingredients and without any pharmacologically active supplements,”he says. The products aim to let the body get on with what it does best: ‘maintain and repair itself and prevent deterioration of the organ systems.” After building up a supply network that was initially primarily local and done via vets, Burns started to steadily grow. In 1997, it was forced to move out of his home and into what he describes as a “cow shed” in Kidwelly. Since then those initial premises have been expanded again and again – and are now home to a £24 million business employing more than 100 staff. The premises are now complemented by Penlan Farm, around 300 acres of former dairy farm on the outskirts of Kidwelly, South West Wales, also owned by Burns. That land is farmed using organic techniques and, with large areas of the

land given over to the creation of wildlife habitats, there is a strong emphasis on conservation. There is now also a dedicated factory in Burry Port and a farm shop, which started as an honesty box selling eggs from Penlan farm but is now a thriving, busy business in its own right. The growth of Burns has been helped by a wider trend in society of individuals wanting to better care for their pets and taking a closer interest in their diet and nutrition. “The way people approach this has changed,” Burns says. “When we started, there were specific diets for certain conditions but we came at it from the perspective of offering quality food all the time. “It has been a case of convincing the public. Wet tinned food used to be all that was available when we started but I would like to think we have played some small part in changing that mentality. We remain a niche market and fairly specialist but it’s certainly a lot more mainstream than it used to be.” Distribution has always been a doubleedged sword for Burns. It has typically shunned distribution via mainstream, large retailers. This has both held it back in some ways but also protected its brand and ensured it remains associated with specialist pet outlet and vet practices. “In 20 years of growth, there has never been a big breakthrough or a particularly big moment for us,” says Burns. “It has been steady and consistent and over time we have built up a loyal customer base. And every step along


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In Focus

A passion for pets

the way, we have invested heavily in the community roots we have here and the staff though and I think that has served us well.” There is one challenge for Burns at the moment: the UK’s vote to exit the EU. While not a big exporter – though it does have operations and a decent distribution network in Ireland – the company does import large quantities of some raw ingredients, particularly rice, meaning its costs have increased substantially as a result of the drop in the value of the pound. “This means that we are going to have to increase prices at some point and that could have knock-on consequences on our sales,” Burns says. But this will be unlikely to detract from the core values of the company. Indeed, the community ethos at Burns defines the company in many ways. It is now a significant employer in West Wales and is committed to paying more than the National Living Wage. It also boasts a full-time Community Liaison Officer whose job it is to coordinate a range of community-related projects ranging from themed days in the farm shop to innovative schemes where the company arranges for specially trained dogs to go into schools to help children learn to read. Called Burns By Your Side, this scheme utilises research conducted in the US that has proved that many children’s communication skills can benefit from reading to a dog. Much of this activity is done via the Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation, a dedicated charity for these activities. “This is an amazing initiative that I’m very proud of,” Burns says. “Some children struggle in school and some struggle with reading and communication skills. It has been proven that children can improve their vocabulary and fluency by reading to a dog. It’s a programme I would love to see rolled out further afield but I am very proud of what we are doing locally.”

In addition to these activities, the company also supports two charities: the National Animal Welfare Trust in Watford, which trains rescue dogs before rehoming them; and Appaws For Autism, a charity in Scotland that trains dogs to interact with children with autism. All this is testament to the original drive, passion and determination of one man: John Burns. Though he will pay tribute to his staff for helping move the business forward, the original vision was ahead of its time and the resulting business has been a valuable contributor to the economy of West Wales and resulted in a lot of much healthier dogs nationwide. And, in case you were wondering, his personal passion is for sheep dogs especially Gregory, who he adopted from a farm – with his one brown and one blue eye.


A word from the sponsor… “At Barclays we are passionate about helping businesses to grow. Driving growth, jobs, innovation and helping to foster the export mentality which the UK needs to succeed on a world stage. “The last few years have seen unprecedented challenges for businesses across the Swansea bay business region. We are focused to deliver for our clients, ensuring they are at the heart of everything we do. “Burns Pet Nutrition is an excellent example of a local business being innovative and recognising a gap in the market, investing for the future creating wealth and employment locally and always looking to put something back into the community. “We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best in the forthcoming Top 100 Awards, and for your continued success in your chosen market.” Stephen Davies, relationship director, Wales Corporate Team – West Wales Area, Barclays


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THE SOAPBOX What opportunities and challenges will firms face in South West Wales in 2017?

Simon Ahearne, managing director, SA1 Solutions The big opportunity we see will be attracting clients outside Wales – yet managing that from Swansea, creating jobs and wealth in the process. We have built the infrastructure and brand now and we are starting to enjoy great successes outside Swansea. But our biggest challenge remains finding, keeping and motivating staff. We find that too many graduates have unrealistic expectations around the type of role they can move into and the salary they can command. I am not sure what the solution is but it is our biggest challenge.

Martyn Jones, managing director, DWJ Group Given the uncertainties created by Brexit, most of my time in 2017 will be spent on the basics: producing products as efficiently as possible, keeping a tight rein on costs, tweaking the gross margin and seeking new markets. Everyone I know who is doing well seems to be following this basic blueprint. I also believe the strategic importance of websites will become even more critical in 2017. I always seek to improve my companies’ online presence, the user friendliness of my websites and our positioning in the market. There are always new ideas and improvements that can be made, which I feel have synergy with my companies. I try to adopt them within as short a time frame as possible.

Lee Mogridge, head of Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) in Wales

Laura Liddell, Managing Director, Dezrezlegal

We have an opportunity to work with and build yet more success around our natural advantage - we are a city on a bay and that doesn’t just serve the local economy but encourages people to visit from further afield. The challenge is making sure that entrepreneurial ideas get off the ground. For this we need a culture where initiatives are supported so that exciting ideas can be brought to life. Oyster Wharf in Mumbles is a good example. This new scheme is already showing tangible results as it is a destination in its own right that is making the most of a seafront location with positive effect on the local economy.

Appetite for success created by the Tidal Lagoon, investment in Swansea centre and its educational facilities is great for the region as a whole and makes the area attractive. Challenges include inflation affecting the pound in people’s pockets, and the need to recruit quality staff in a lacklustre job market.

Chris Jenkins, managing director of EFT Consult For our industry, 2017 will bring both opportunities and challenges. With the potential for the Swansea Bay city region deal, there will be opportunities to create buildings for the future that are energy efficient, high-tech and sustainable long term, yet we need skilled workers to do this. We are moving into a highly technological era, especially as we near the creation of the “internet coast”. Although new technologies can be a challenge for businesses, they should be taking advantage of their ability to take concepts through to completion. To do otherwise could result in being left behind.

Bruce Roberts, chair of Swansea Bay Business Club’s Policy Group The new city region will, amongst other developments, bring a new digital impetus with good opportunities for more start-ups, together with input from both universities in Swansea. Of course, the long awaited Tidal Lagoon will also bring over 300 construction jobs and will offer further opportunities for local suppliers and contractors. However, I believe sourcing personnel to meet these opportunities will present a particular challenge for firms. Alongside that, changes in business rates and the living wage is set to pose further challenges for businesses this year.

To be involved in next issue’s The Soapbox contact the editor, Chris Pyke: 01792 545564

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25 years of success but determined to help others When Alan Brayley decided to go it alone in business 25 years ago he embarked on an often challenging road, which he ultimately conquered to find success. Now, while he continues to drive his own company forward, he also wants to help others taking those first steps into business. Like most successful businessmen and women, Alan Brayley, the managing director and founder of aluminium manufacturing and installation company AB Glass, can attribute his success to two key qualities: a hunger for success and being truly great at what he does. The story of AB Glass is an inspirational one in so many ways. Having learned his trade, Alan started the business 25 years ago in November 1991, with just one van and a desire to succeed. In those early days, he did (virtually) anything to get work – knocking on doors, pursuing every lead and turning quotes around quickly. “When I first started out, it was a challenging but very exciting time, looking for work, meeting potential customers, nurturing the new business and moving the business forward. Once the enquiries started coming in

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and work was won, it became even more positive and stimulating,” said Alan. One of his big takeaways from those early years is how willing people and the wider community were to help him. He often describes how his humility during the start of his journey meant that people were willing to give him a chance; and he offers the same advice to other entrepreneurs following a similar path: if you ask for help in the right way, many people are eager to give it. It is something he has never forgotten and something that has gone full circle. “A slow start with minimal borrowings is key to starting any business,” Alan said. “My advice is to do it on your own terms with your own support network. Don’t rush into things and take it slowly to start with. 01792 584 440 Celebrating 25 Years Established 1991 1/26/2017 1:10:43 PM

(Above) Ysgol Bae Baglan, the ‘super school’ in Neath Port Talbot (Left) New Bridewell student accommodation in Bristol City Centre, the largest project to date for AB Glass. (Right) Bournemouth University’s Fusion Building.

“Maybe look at engaging a marketing professional to take you through what the vision of the business is - to help you understand what you want from it, what you are offering, who your customers are and who your supply chain partners are going to be. You need to visualise what you’re going to look like.” Alan now helps and mentors young people starting out in every way he can, whether they be apprentices or hungry and driven young entrepreneurs. This has included AB Glass sponsoring the Young Business Dragons competition, which is designed to encourage, develop and recognise young entrepreneurs in the region. Alan encourages other business leaders to understand the importance of young people and apprenticeships to secure manufacturing’s future. He believes introducing young people into the workplace can be very rewarding not only for the individual and their career, but for the productivity of the company. He has regularly supported and offered apprenticeships to young people, supporting them through educational qualifications as well as teaching them a new skill and about the workplace more generally. BizLifeFebAds.indd 27

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Recognising the skills shortage that exists in the sector, supporting the next generation of workers in the industry is something Alan is passionate about. AB Glass has welcomed 10 apprentices to the company over the last four years, with most apprentices being offered full-time employment at the firm following the completion of their apprenticeships. Alan worked very long hours when first starting out in business and understands it’s not easy for people to take the plunge and go at it alone to start a new business. “Finishing with my old employer was an extremely difficult decision. Going into the unknown was unpleasant and hard to take. Not knowing what was around the corner, who would give me enquiries and orders was worrying,” he said. The financial burdens of starting a business was also something Alan had to learn to cope with along the way. “Making funds available for a new vehicle, being listed in the Yellow Pages, local advertising and logo design all had to be decided by me alone. There was a lot to look at and consider,” he said. Alan did however get some funding through a Welsh Government scheme called RSA, which gave him around

£35 a week, providing he did some computer training. This turned out to be a big help to him at the time. Once AB Glass was established, Alan built a reputation for quality and reliability, which saw the business really begin to grow and he started employing people and committed to premises. Today, the company has a turnover of £6 million and is one of the UK’s leading specialist architectural aluminium manufacturers and installers, also boasting a variety of other divisions. These include double glazing uPVC windows and doors; glass and glazing maintenance and repair; rainscreen and cladding systems; and highly specialised structural glass systems. Between then and now, the company has endured recessions and weathered the roller-coaster ride that all entrepreneurs experience when pursuing a dream. Some of the highs from that journey include winning an array of awards and recognition including several awards at the Sustainable Swansea Awards, at which judges described Alan as “an excellent role model who had helped other companies improve their environmental credentials, and played a very active part in the community”. They also described AB Glass’

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(Above) The management team at AB Glass celebrating 25 years in business. (Right) Early days at AB Glass (Bottom Right) Alan receiving an award for AB Glass from Kevin Johns MBE

increase in recycling as “striking”, saying that it showed how businesses could save on resources and reduce costs. Health and safety has been another area where Alan and AB Glass has excelled over the years. Ensuring the company is up-to-date with health and safety standards is paramount for Alan, helping to limit liability and risk. Adhering to the standards as outlined by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), is something he holds in high regard. Alan himself has completed the Safety for Senior Executives course with the IOSH - the only chartered body for health and safety professionals in the world. AB Glass has won many high profile contracts over the last 25 years and has delivered work for leading property developers and architects across the UK. The company worked on the new Bay Campus for Swansea University, a new £40 million “super school” in Baglan, Port Talbot, a major project at the DVLA and a historic church in Chipping Sodbury. The company also recently completed its largest project to date, worth over £2.3million, which is something Alan is particularly proud of. This was for the New Bridewell student accommodation development in Bristol. Education has become a key sector for the business, with projects for schools, universities and student accommodation growing significantly over recent years. But the company’s expertise has also seen it complete impressive ‘grand design’ style projects, due to its ability to cater to almost any requirement and design specification. The Tenby RNLI Station was one such project, which saw materials having to be delivered to the project location by sea. Alan is also a member of Swansea Bay Business Club’s

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Executive Board. His involvement with Swansea Bay Business Club has helped shape the direction of the business community in Swansea and beyond. As for the future of AB Glass, Alan is determined to keep moving forwards. “I want to keep enjoying what we do, meeting new customers and undertaking more iconic looking building projects. Keeping the business healthy and looking after our staff as best we can is very important to me,” Alan concluded. 01792 584 440 Celebrating 25 Years Established 1991 1/26/2017 1:11:31 PM

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Start Ups Nailed it!

Hannah Phillips of House of Nails, certainly didn’t let her youth get in the way of her business ambition

Start ups is sponsored by

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Nailed it! Age before beauty, goes the famous phrase. But Hannah Phillips, owner of House of Nails in Killay, Swansea, certainly didn’t let her youth get in the way of her business ambition Hannah Phillips set up her salon in September 2016, when she was 23. Think Chesterfield-style sofas and chilled vibes; this funky little emporium, offers waxing, tints, oil-based vegan facials, and every nail treatment under the sun. Hannah currently has one employee, and plans to grow the business organically. Armed with her training from Gower College’s well-regarded beauty courses, and more than three years’ experience, Phillips was given an opportunity she couldn’t refuse. “I was running a small beauty business as part of a hairdressing salon – but I was working part-time and needed something to boost my income.” she says. “At the time, Binks the newsagents had been turned into a coffee shop, and I rented the back room for an extra two days, and gradually increased my client base.

“Then I was offered the full premises. It really was the right place at the right time – there was a lot of luck involved,” “I always thought I would like to have my own salon but I didn’t envisage it happening at such a young age. “From my experience of running the beauty business within the hairdressing salon, I had grasped the most important things I needed to know to run my own beauty salon business. “And I was lucky too because my dad also has his own business, and was able to give me sound business advice.” It’s the kind of industry, explains Hannah, where reputation is everything. “I’ve been doing nails and beauty for coming up to five years, so I do have a lot of my own clients as a client base,” she says. “ I t t u r n s f ro m a c l i e n t - t h e ra p i s t relationship into almost a friendship.



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Beauty salon nails it

Start Ups

People come back because they enjoy the service and the person.” From a marketing point of view, Hannah has plans to boost the business via social media and the internet. “I’m on Facebook and in 2017 I’m going to revamp my website. I think our Facebook page is successful because you can actually see photos of what we do,” she explains. Hannah says she is in no rush to grow the business and would rather it be a gradual build. An apprentice and further staff are on the cards for the future, but aren’t part of her immediate vision. “At the moment I have one employee. I think it will be a bit scary when I take on other people,” she explains. “I want it to be a gradual build – I think sometimes salons can be too busy. I want to keep the growth natural and keep the relaxed vibe for my clients.” Would she do anything differently? “The sign on the salon reads House of Nails and Beauty” but some people think we just do nails. Looking back, I think we should have had a slightly different sign, or had the ‘and beauty’ in bold. But when people come in they tend to pick up a price list, so it’s gradually becoming more widely known.” 33

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Start Ups Beauty salon nails it

Expert opinion with Julie Williamson chairwoman of the FSB Swansea Bay branch

Tidal lagoon gets green light

At a glance... About Hannah Phillips Best advice you’ve ever been given? To open up my own business. It was scary at first and as I was only 23 it was a massive decision but I’m so happy I took the advice from my family and clients who have all been a massive support. I couldn’t imagine working for anyone else again now. Inspirational figure? My inspirational figure is my Nanny Val. We would always be painting each other’s nails and I would forever be in her make up bag! Unfortunately she is no longer with us and hasn’t seen me venture through this part of my life. But she has inspired me the whole way, from finishing college to starting work and now to opening up my own salon. Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years I see myself being where I am now, behind my nail bar, at the pedicure station or in a treatment room making my clients feel and look beautiful. Possibly with a couple of employees helping my business to expand and be a highly recommended salon – but as part of a gradual process to still give my clients the quality and care that they deserve. Your three favourite beauty treatments? Shellac is my number one favourite. I would then say a lash lift as the results are amazing but aftercare is low maintenance. It’s like a perm but instead of curling the lashes it straightens them so the effects are incredible. My third favourite beauty treatment would have to be a simple but effective eyebrow tint and wax, the tint defines the fine hair, and waxing can make a massive difference in framing the face. It’s a must have!

Swansea, and the wider Swansea Bay City Region are changing dramatically. 2017 could be the year in which the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon finally gets the green light, the regeneration of the city centre begins or a City Deal is agreed setting out the future direction of investment in the region. Any one of these developments alone will have a significant impact on the economic regeneration of Swansea Bay. However, although each of these headline grabbing proposals have the potential to bring with them opportunities for smaller companies, they are not on their own in determining how our towns and cities will prosper. The Swansea Bay area is already becoming well-known for extremely successful small start-up businesses, particularly in technology and innovation, drawing on the research and resources of excellent local universities and colleges. Purposely-designed offices have proved to help them, as will the planned new development in the centre of Swansea. These in turn have given rise to other start-ups whether they have been involved in business support, specialist retail, house building and renovation, hospitality outlets, food production and those in the leisure industry. All these types of businesses are dependant to some degree on one another. I know from talking to FSB members locally, a feeling of optimism has slowly been developing, after some very challenging years for small businesses in South West Wales. So let’s hope that as the regeneration of Swansea Bay gathers pace, the wellbeing of our smaller businesses becomes the focus of the discussion.


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The Fishmonger’s Cat launched in Porthcawl A fishmonger and a deli, The Fishmonger’s Cat, opened its doors in Porthcawl in November 2016, thanks to strategic planning support provided by the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service. Based in Porthcawl, The Fishmonger’s Cat was founded by Emma Hancock in November 2016 and offers the products and services of a traditional fishmonger alongside a range of homemade seafood and deli products, and seasonal specialities. Having identified suitable premises, Emma turned to Business Wales for help with developing her idea into a viable business. She was assigned a Business Wales adviser, Jayesh Parmar, who helped her with strategic planning, general start-up support and identified potential funding opportunities for the business. The Fishmonger’s Cat also benefited from guidance and support to develop policies and procedures regarding legislation, insurance, local authority licences, and business planning leading to the creation of financial forecasts. This enabled Emma to access a Kick Start grant and she has also recently secured a Start Up Loan, both of which will help with renovation costs and the purchase of equipment, fixtures and fittings.

Speaking about the support she received, Emma said: “It has taken time to get everything in place to set up this business and there have been many times between my first encounter with Business Wales, attending their start-up workshops, to my first day of trading, when I doubted it would ever become a reality. However, Business Wales were there whenever I needed them to give me both the advice and the confidence to take the next step forward. Everyone who helped and advised me at Business Wales was friendly and approachable, and I am extremely grateful for their support.” Business Wales adviser, Jayesh Parmar, said: “At Business Wales we aim to provide all the necessary support and guidance to our clients during the first, most crucial steps of starting their own business. “We were really happy we were able to help Emma secure financial support towards the refurbishment of the premises for her business, as well as assist her with strategic business planning, and we look forward to providing additional support and guidance to Emma as she looks to further grow The Fishmonger’s Cat.”

The Fishmonger’s Cat is currently building relationships with local businesses and the community, and are already planning for expansion in the coming months. Emma’s top tips for anyone else starting their own business would be: 1) Don’t rush ahead too much 2) Get support for the development of the business 3) Learn as you go along 4) Research and talk to the end users of your services 5) Make sure you have a buffer for any extra start-up costs when budgeting. Business Wales, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, supports the sustainable growth of small and medium size enterprises across the country by offering access to information, guidance and business support. To find out how Business Wales can help start or develop your business, call 03000 6 03000, follow @_businesswales or @_busnescymru or visit or for further information.

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Our Region Bluestone National Park resort invests in growth

Luxury tourism attraction creates 300 new jobs



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Our Region



Bluestone National Park Resort is to create 300 new jobs

A multi-million pound investment and new ownership deal also gives workers a 30% stake in the expanding business. There will also be £7.5 million investment in an Eden Project-style Sky Dome at the resort, which is expected to open in 2018. Designs are currently being drawn up and are still at an early stage. This follows the proposed £2.5 million transformation of the disused 19th century Black Pool Mill into a Victorianthemed attraction, which has just been submitted for planning. With debt finance from Barclays, the deal sees the majority shareholding in the Pembrokeshire-based attraction - which has seen visitor numbers increase from 95,000 three years ago to 130,000 today pass to management and staff.

The new jobs will be created across the business, from housekeeping to administrative roles. New jobs will also be created by the new facilities. The deal provides a significant exit for a group of investors, which includes chief executive of FTSE 100 Admiral Group, David Stevens, former finance director Andrew Probert and the wife of former chief executive Henry Engelhardt, Diane Engelhardt. They will retain a minority stake in the business of 25 percent, having backed a £10 million plus management buyout deal in 2013. The business, which first opened in July 2008, has gone through a number of ownership cycles. The latest deal, in what is a secondary management

buyout, sees William (chief executive) and Pamela McNamara (operations director) becoming the company’s biggest shareholders. A further 30 percent shareholding will be transferred to an Employee Benefit Trust (EBT), believed to be unique in the resort sector. And over the next three years, the number of year-round jobs will increase by 300 to more than 1,000, with all eligible staff set to benefit from dividends via the EBT. Mr McNamara said: “Our original vision for Bluestone, which began some two decades ago, has been realised over the past three years. “This culminated earlier this year in the completion of our third phase which took the number of five star lodges,


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cottages and studio apartments to more than 300. “Staff are the heart of the customer experience at Bluestone and therefore our success as a business overall, so I’m delighted that our plans for an Employee Benefit Trust have become a reality. “The EBT will reward staff for their incredible loyalty and commitment and ensure they have a new opportunity to be recognised for the outstanding job they do for our guests. “We now have our sights firmly set on the future and our staff will continue to play a key part of this vision.” Neil Evans, Bluestone’s finance director, said: “Since 2013, turnover has increased by over 50 percent from £14.5 million in 2013 to £22 million in 2016 and staying guest numbers have increased from 95,000 to 130,000. “Occupancy at the resort has averaged over 95 percent over the last three years, despite adding 25 percent more sleeping capacity over the past 18 months.”


Some 3 percent of visitors over the last year were from overseas, while 53 percent came from other parts of the UK. Jason Llewellyn, Barclays corporate banking director, said: “We are delighted to have played a role in helping realise this ambition and look forward to the next phase of the business’s development.” Mr Probert said: “We are delighted by the success of Bluestone over the last few years and that is testament 39

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Our Region


Expert opinion


with Ted Sangster, chairman of the Pembrokeshire Business Panel

Sustainable development

to the hard work and vision of its management and employees. I am pleased that this can be recognised through the new ownership structure. “We are excited to be continuing to be part of the future of Bluestone and believe that it has established a fantastic reputation in the market which sets it up for future success.” Corporate finance boutique, Gambit, structured the deal on behalf of the management team. Gambit senior partner Frank Holmes said: “Gambit is proud to have advised William and Bluestone’s management team for 16 years during which it led in arranging the initial construction funding, further development capital and a leveraged buyout from institutional investors. “This bank backed secondary buyout aligns management and employee ownership in accordance with the private investors original intentions and will also fund further development of this internationally respected holiday park.” Law firm Blake Morgan acted for Barclays, with Acuity Legal acting for the Bluestone directors.


One measure of a successful economy is where government understands the needs of business and provides a supportive environment and business is given an effective voice in its ability to deliver. Getting this right is particularly important in areas such as Pembrokeshire where difficulties of peripherality and partiality of infrastructure can be offset by a close working relationship. Thus the Swansea Bay City Region’s priorities are ones to look at carefully as being one example of this framework setting. Some, such as the tourism developments at Saundersfoot Harbour and Welsh Water’s plans for Lys y Fran, will bring obvious benefit to the Pembrokeshire economy in themselves and others like the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon provide potential economic boosts through supply chain involvement. More widely and with a longer term perspective the City Region’s proposition of the “Internet Coast” which proposes to turn the whole of the region into a “digital superhub” certainly grabs the attention and shows intent for the direction in which the economy should be moving. With an even sharper focus than the City Region the identification by Pembrokeshire County Council of the need for town centre regeneration and their success in drawing down EU and Heritage Lottery funding for towns such as Haverfordwest also has the potential to revive these parts of the economy and address some of the leakage that has occurred over the past decade or so. Much of this is positive and demonstrates the way in which business needs if fully understood can be considered in economic policy and facilitate sustainable development. There are areas where this is not so obvious, one being the business rates revaluation next April which I suspect is not fully understood. Whilst there will be businesses that will benefit many more will be faced with significant cost increases to which they have yet to wake up to.


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Our Region



Children’s travel product maker Ickle Bubba could bring factory to South West Wales from China Ickle Bubba, which has headquarters in Llanelli, is weighing up the move after the EU referendum result led to a weakened pound The growing company, based on Ponthenri Industrial Estate, has plans to export internationally and is considering moving elements of the manufacturing process from China. It comes after the firm secured funding worth more than £1 million from provider Creative Capital. The finance means Ickle Bubba’s turnover is now expected to double to £2.2 million over the next 12 months and the business, which currently employs 15 people, expects to take on more staff. Fran Vaughan, managing director of Ickle Bubba said: “We’ve come a long way in a relatively short space of time by

tapping into a demand for products which are affordable but don’t compromise on style, features or safety. “We have big plans for the business so a reliable source of working capital is essential for us to manufacture and ship products at the volume and to the timelines required by major retailers. “Creative Capital’s trade finance facilities ensure we can move quickly when opportunities present themselves and the funding has become key to our ongoing growth strategy.” Discussing moving more facilities to the region, he added: “This is just a future consideration at this stage.



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But if it did transpire, then it would be very likely that we would use a premises in Carmarthenshire.” Mr Vaughan and his wife Veronica turned to the alternative finance market and worked with independent provider Creative Capital to put in place shortterm trade finance agreements. These facilities loan against the value of finished products, advancing the working capital needed to manufacture goods in China and transport shipments to the UK for distribution. The funding has enabled Ickle Bubba to take on bigger orders. Keith Bolton, director of trade finance at Creative Capital, said: “Ickle Bubba is a perfect example of the ambitious, innovative and industrious SMEs that will continue to be so vital to the UK’s prospects. “Now, more than ever, it’s important that these businesses can quickly access the funding they need to capitalise on growth opportunities here and abroad. “We’re proud that the £1 million we’ve advanced to Ickle Bubba has helped them unlock sizable new opportunities that have driven growth and job creation.


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Our Region


Expert opinion


with Emlyn Dole, leader of Carmarthenshire County Council

The calm after the storm

“Many lenders don’t provide trade finance on a one-off basis to SMEs as it’s often seen as too laborious to structure facilities for a smaller customer. “Ickle Bubba’s success serves as a great reminder that entrepreneurs who have been frustrated by high street banks should look to the alternative finance market where there are a wide range of innovative short-term, tailored and flexible facilities capable of bridging potential funding gaps.” Ickle Bubba designs and supplies a range of high-specification baby and toddler products from its Ponthenri headquarters including pushchairs, car seats and highchairs that are stocked by retailers including Tesco, Costco, Mothercare and Argos. The business was established in 2013 by husband and wife team Fran and Veronica, who spotted a gap in the market for high-quality but affordable pushchairs when they were expecting their first child. Using a £14,000 loan from the UK Government’s Start Up Loan Scheme, the couple set about

WE’RE PROUD THAT THE £1 MILLION WE’VE ADVANCED TO ICKLE BUBBA HAS HELPED THEM UNLOCK SIZABLE NEW OPPORTUNITIES THAT HAVE DRIVEN GROWTH AND JOB CREATION designing its award-winning Stomp Complete Travel System, securing an agreement with a specialist supplier in China and attending trade shows across the UK. Within six months Ickle Bubba products were being stocked in 40 independent retailers and the company started to receive large orders from major high street retailers.

Politicians are often accused of employing hyperbole when boasting about their achievements. But I assure you that no one would be exaggerating when describing the importance of the £1.3 billion investment bid for South and West Wales that is being submitted by the Swansea Bay City Region. This could be a once-in-a generation opportunity to revitalise the economy of the whole region. The bid to Welsh Government and Westminster has been drawn up by the Swansea Bay City Region which encompasses four local authorities – Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot. The vision is that by 2030 South West Wales will be a confident, ambitious and connected European region, recognised internationally for its innovation and economy. We want to create an Internet Coast that will establish the region as a globally significant player where a culture of open innovation accelerates a vibrant sustainable and diverse economy. The bid seeks to build upon the region’s unique physical and intellectual assests, developing an open innovation ecosystem, designed to respond to global challenges. It will harness digital hyperconnectivity and applications, life science, smart manufacturing, and sustainable energy technologies to create 10,000 jobs and £1.8bn additional GVA. The region has a proven track record of collaboration between local authorities and partners. The public and private sectors have a mutual understanding of the economic challenge based on hard empirical evidence. But I’m glad to say that we have a shared strategic approach to which we all subscribe and we are committed to tackling a GVA gap that is widening both in terms of UK and Welsh GVA. Our approach is coherent and comprehensive and combines transformational proposals on skills, innovation and infrastructure that will deliver sustainable growth, reduce dependency and make Swansea Bay an exemplar City Deal.


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swansea bay city region

Datblygiadau Newydd yn Nhref Rhydaman

advertising feature

New Developments in Ammanford Town

Mae Cais Cynllunio wedi cael ei gymeradwyo ar gyfer ailddatblygu hen safle gwaith coed ar Heol y Ffowndri wrth borth dwyreiniol y dref ar gyfer diwydiant ysgafn er mwyn darparu safle rhostio coffi ynghyd â siop goffi gysylltiedig a fydd yn creu 7 swydd cyfwerth ag amser llawn. Syniad entrepreneuraidd gan dad a mab o Rydaman sef Scott a Gordon James oedd hwn. Mae’n deillio o dreftadaeth mwyngloddio’r teulu ac yn gwneud defnydd clyfar o ddelweddau diwydiannol yn neunydd pecynnu eu coffi, gan greu math newydd o aur du mewn hen gymuned fwyngloddio.

Hen Safle Gorsaf yr Heddlu a’r Llys

Former Police Station & Court House

Mae cynlluniau cyffrous wedi cael eu cyflwyno er mwyn cael caniatâd cynllunio i ddatblygu hen safle gorsaf yr heddlu a’r llys at amryw ddefnydd gan gynnwys swyddfeydd manwerthu a phreswyl. Mae’r cynlluniau’n cynnwys cadw’r Llys a’i drawsnewid yn swyddfeydd, 296 metr sgwâr ag adeilad ar wahân a fydd yn cael ei adeiladu yn y cwrtil presennol er mwyn darparu llecyn manwerthu, 448 metr sgwâr ar y llawr gwaelod a 4 fflat uwchben. Bydd y datblygiad yn ei gyfanrwydd yn creu oddeutu 30 o swyddi a fydd yn trawsnewid y porth allweddol hwn i ganol y dref. Roedd hen orsaf yr heddlu a’r llys yn rhan annatod o Rydaman a bydd y cynlluniau newydd yn gwneud defnydd da o’r safle gan greu datblygiad manwerthu, swyddi a thai. Mae Cyngor Sir Caerfyrddin wedi bod yn gweithio gyda Datblygwr a ffefrir er mwyn cael canlyniad llwyddiannus ar gyfer y safle a’r gobaith yw y bydd y gwaith yn gallu dechrau yr haf hwn.

Exciting plans have been submitted for planning permission to develop the former Police Station site and existing Court House for mix of uses including offices retail and residential. The plans involve retaining the Court House and converting it into 296sqm office space with a separate stand alone building constructed within the existing courtyard to provide 448sqm retail space on the ground floor, and 4 flats above. The whole development when occupied aims to create some around 30 jobs and will transform this key gateway site into the town. The former police station and courthouse were an important part of Ammanford and the newly submitted plans will make good use of the site creating retail development, jobs and housing. Carmarthenshire County Council has been working with a preferred Developer to achieve a successful outcome for the site and it is hoped that work will be able to commence this summer.

A Planning Application has been approved for the redevelopment of the former joinery on Foundry Road at the eastern gateway of the Town for light industrial to accommodate coffee roasting production with ancillary coffee shop supporting the creation of 7 full time equivalent jobs. The brainchild of Ammanfords father and son coffee entrepreneurs Scott and Gordon James and drawing on their family mining heritage with clever use of the industrial imagery in the packaging of their coffee, creating a new kind of black gold in a former pit community.

I gael rhagor o wybodaeth am gyfleoedd adfywio yn Sir Gaerfyrddin, ewch i ffoniwch 01267 234567 neu e-bostiwch For more information about regeneration opportunities in Carmarthenshire visit call 01267 234567 or email

BizLifeFebAds.indd 47

1/27/2017 4:14:22 PM

Our Region

Neath Port Talbot

NEATH PORT TALBOT Phase 1 of Neath town centre regeneration


Neath town centre invests £25m in regeneration Following the completion of the £13m first phase of the town’s regeneration programme, work is now starting to pave the way for the next stage to commence. First is the demolition of the old multi storey car park and former Wilkinsons and Tesco stores, which was scheduled to start February 27, and take around 20 weeks to complete. While demolition works are ongoing, the Council will commission a contractor to build eight retail units, designed to attract more high street retailers, complementing those already trading in the town. Once demolition and site clearance have been completed, the council envisages construction of the new retail units to start by the end of this year. A substantial marketing campaign will commence as soon as specialist retail agents have been appointed. In the summer work will also get underway on another development in the town centre. Neath Port Talbot Council has given the green light to Coastal Housing Group’s residential and commercial proposals to transform a site off Water Street with shops, cafés or restaurants and 12 residential units. The council says investing in town centres and supporting local businesses is one its priorities, and the vision for Neath is to create an attractive, vibrant and competitive town that meets the needs of businesses, shoppers and visitors, while retaining its market town character. Over the past few years Neath town centre has seen over £25m investment to

support regeneration, job creation and economic growth funded from a number of sources including the European Regional Development Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, Cadw and the Welsh Government Regeneration Area Programme. They include the refurbishment of the Gwyn Hall, the restoration of Victoria Gardens and a number of street scene and environmental improvements at the Parade and Church Place. More than 30 businesses in Neath also benefited from a grant scheme providing funding for external improvements to commercial properties. Neath is a popular shopping destination and benefits from a loyal and wide catchment area. Recent figures show that vacancy rates in Neath are well below the national average. The image of the town centre as a great place to visit is important for shopper confidence and to attract new businesses. The Council is supporting events and initiatives aimed at increasing trade and footfall, including the popular Neath September Fair and the annual Neath Food and Drink Festival, which is attracting more and more visitors into the town each year. The Council will also continue to work with Neath Inspired Limited to benefit traders, residents and visitors to Neath. The recent launch of the ‘Free after three on 3’ parking initiative for example, has, according to businesses in the town, already resulted in improved trading performance. Robert Williams, Chair of Neath Inspired commented: “This major investment is positive news and it is very heartening

that the development is due to commence within weeks and not at an unspecified date sometime in the future. The Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council-led scheme demonstrates a confidence in Neath being the destination town centre for shopping, dining, working and living. “Neath Inspired will continue to work with both the County Borough Council and the Town Council to achieve those aspirations by ensuring all parts of the town centre benefit from our initiatives.” Councillor Ali Thomas, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council said: “Investing in our town centres and supporting our local businesses here in Neath Port Talbot is one of this Council’s priorities. “Following the successful delivery of the first phase of our redevelopment plans, I’m pleased to see work starting to pave the way for the next and future phases of this important development. “We are grateful for the support from Neath Inspired led by their Chair, Robert Williams. We are committed to continuing to deliver on our aspiration to secure Neath’s future as an attractive and successful market town and we welcome their help and input in helping us to achieve this.”


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Our Region

Neath Port Talbot

NEATH PORT TALBOT Mixing film magic with affordable office space While many commuters will be aware of Bay Studios and some of the high-profile TV and film productions that have taken place there, many may not realise a growing and increasingly prosperous business park as shares the site – offering high-quality office space at a fraction of space closer to the city As every commuter who regularly drives up Fabian Way will know, the change in certain parts of the thoroughfare has been profound in recent years. Amazon seems to be getting ever-bigger; the impressive new university campus seemed to fly up almost overnight – and then, opposite, there are the almost understated, in comparison, Bay Studios. Veterans of the commute will clearly recall when these massive premises were one of the largest auto parts manufacturing facilities in Europe – Visteon, a spin-off of Ford, was a massive employer in the area and critical to the local economy. But times and economies change. In recent years, thanks to the vision of Swansea property developer Roy Thomas who acquired the site ten years ago, in 2007, the massive buildings and open spaces behind the former factory have been re-purposed for use by the film and TV industries. Well known series including Da Vinci’s Demons and The Collection filmed almost exclusively here while other hit shows including Will (Shakespeare), Britannia and Sherlock were also filmed here in part. The magic of this industry can occasionally be glimpsed from the dual carriageway into Swansea. When filming Da Vinci’s Demons, all-weather outdoor sets mirroring 15th Century Italy were constructed here; during Will, a full-scale set was burnt downlight – indoors, such is the scale of the buildings here. For those privileged enough to be shown around the massive buildings, room after room remain full of left over props – swords, suits of armour, paintings, thousands of costumes, period furniture, even full scale medieval weapons of war can be found just lying around after a

production company has moved onto new projects in other locations. The film and TV productions that have come here have already injected millions into the local economy through the purchase of equipment, the many, often well paid, actors and technicians that live locally for a period of time and the numerous other services such a big production requires. The catering challenge alone can be vast, for example. These revenues are set to continue. Thomas is the first to acknowledge the precarious and unpredictable nature of this industry estimating that one in 20 proposals and inquiries of this nature make it to the production stage. But with the former factory offering the perfect blank canvas for filming and the costs a fraction of many other studios, other big productions are in the pipeline and will arrive. But there is increasingly a lot more to Bay Studios than the film industry. The location also now boasts Bay Studios Business Park, just a small part of the former factory now converted to more than 54,000 sq.ft. of office space with 24,000 already let. Telesgop, the TV production company; Vizolution, a company that facilitates digital interaction between customers and companies; and Industrial Electrical Solutions, which offers electrical services to commercial and industrial clients are all already based at Bay Studios Business Park while Wales Air Ambulance was formerly based there before moving to new custom-built headquarters in Llanelli. With motorway access just seconds away, high-speed broadband, an abundance of parking and office space available from just £8 a square foot, the Business Park



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offers a fantastic and more affordable alternative to the trendy but expensive SA1 development closer to the city. Just to offer a little perspective, the office space available represents a fraction of the size of the total site, which is available to the film industry, which is around 600,000 sq ft or 44 acres in total. The existing tenants certainly seem happy there. Walking around the premises, tenants praise the ample space and parking available, the location and look forward to more companies moving in. But Thomas’s vision is now to grow and enhance this little-known business park with so much potential even further. He wants more businesses to come to the space, contributing to the increasingly vibrant environment growing up around this end of Fabian

Way, boosted by the increasingly buzzing new university campus. If his track record is anything to go by, he will succeed. Some four years ago, he devised a seven year plan to transform the former factory into a mixture of studios and office space. It was a risk and expensive move given then economic environment at the time. Yet he found borrowed resources to begin work creating one of the largest sound stages in Europe. Even so, the venture continues to be a serious financial challenge in what is recognised to be a highly capricious business. He is doing all this because of a mixture of passion and bloodymindedness – and wanting to make a difference to the local community. It is a drive that is matched by his

long-term ownership and vision for Swansea Airport – but that is a story for another time. “This site can be an asset to the Swansea Bay region and I felt it incumbent on me to ensure it fulfils that potential,” Thomas says. “The film industry is very fickle and on top of that we now have all the uncertainty created by Brexit. But we will make it work and my vision is that this area can become a thriving business community as well. It is well on its way to being just that. “It is in the heart of the region both geographically and politically and can make a big difference on that basis. My intention is that this becomes a multipurpose site offering a tremendous amount to the local economy by making this both a heart of the film industry and a thriving business community.” 51

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Our Region



A brush with fame Meet the Swansea-based entrepreneur whose makeup brush cleaner is taking the beauty world by storm… “When Danni Minogue’s make-up artist asks you to post a sample, you don’t hang about,” says James Walford-Richards. Having moved to the UK from South Africa when he was 20, James put his fashion design background to good use in a series of retail and visual merchandising roles in Swansea city centre outlets. Now he’s teamed his visual flair with his passion for cosmetics and come up with a makeup brush cleaner that has caught the eye of the world’s top makeup artists. Called The BEST Makeup Brush Cleaner, the solid cleansing balm has inspired an avalanche of social media support, including tweets by makeup artists to the stars.

Earlier this year an order came in from iconic LA cosmetics store – Nigel’s Beauty Emporium, which serves the Hollywood makeup artists. “I could hardly believe it! It’s such a famous store – it’s where all the professional makeup artists go and it supplies makeup to the TV studios,” explains Walford-Richards. On the back of this success, he’s on a mission to get the product into flagship stores including Liberty’s in London, and online beauty giant QVC. The product is also with the buying teams of Selfridges UK and Brown Thomas in Ireland. The luxury cleansing product is showcased on an exquisitely designed website,, and features striking packaging.



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Pictured: James WalfordRichards

In fact, the design is so attractive that it keeps popping up on Instagram and other social media platforms. “People don’t normally include their make-up brush cleaner in their photographs, but with the BEST Makeup Brush Cleaner, people like to showcase it,” remarks James. And considering that a lot of the people raving about the product are makeup artists to the stars, it’s no surprise that the BEST Makeup Brush Cleaner has already built up something of a cult following. James has always dabbled in creative crafts, which he used to sell out of a friend’s store in Mumbles. “I was allowed to have my first stall at the Easter market in Cardiff for free. “I started making soaps and bath bombs too, and when I went back to the Christmas market in Cardiff, I had cushions, cards and bath bombs, and they were flying out.” Eventually, the hobby took over and James left his job as store manager of Jack and Jones to concentrate on his cosmetic products – which are all

cruelty-free, vegan and vegetablebased. “I thought I’m going to do something that I want to do. People are too scared to do what they really want to do, it’s a scary thing thinking you’re not going to have a regular wage. But I think if you don’t give it a go, then you’ll never know. “It has been a struggle, but I was prepared for that. I think it’s all about being willing to keep going and not give up. “I originally made a natural shaving soap. My partner is a makeup artist and he used it to clean his makeup brushes. “It has tea tree, and it’s anti-bacterial and conditioning. And it worked so well, he was astounded. So we thought we need to put this into production…” After buying a small number of tins, James designed the striking label and sent them to carefully selected beauty, makeup and lifestyle bloggers around the world. “I sent a sample to a friend in NewYork who’s a well-known makeup artist and

best friends with Claire Danes. I asked him to let me know what he thought of it. “He did a rave review and posted it up on his Instagram - so other makeup artists started to contact me, asking either to buy one, or for a sample.” It was a similar story with Danni Minogue’s makeup artist… “I sent him a sample, and he had great feedback and put it on his Instagram and Twitter. “He contacted me a few days later and he’d said that he had been talking to Danni and she would love to try it. So I sent her a sample and she did a tweet about it.” And continuing the trend of conquering the world one beauty blog at a time, James sent samples to big bloggers who his partner knew from his travels – and the product ended up being showcased on Sinead’s Curvy Style – one of Ireland’s most popular blogs. “Since she started blogging about it, I’ve had loads of sales just from Ireland,” he says. “I’m very honest and down-to-earth and I like to work with genuine people. 53

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Our Region



Expert opinion with Juliet Luporini, chairwoman of Swansea BID

The calm after the storm If she didn’t like the product she wouldn’t have promoted it. I like that. I would rather work with people who are passionate about my product like I am,” says James. Another big boost came via Jamie Ward – the Beauty Boy – who blogs about male makeup lifestyle products. “He did his best products of the last six months and he used my product,” he says. Right now, it’s a nail-biting time for James.The 10,000 tins on order take his current personal investment to around £20,000 of his own money. But with A-listers raving about his product, and as it looks poised to hit the shelves of stores like Liberty’s, it’s looking like The BEST makeup brush cleaner is more than a stroke of luck for the plucky entrepreneur.

At a glance... The BEST makeup brush cleaner Where did the idea come from? It was originally a shaving soap with extra conditioner. I tweaked it slightly and incorporated slightly different essential oils including lemon, tea tree for their anti-bacterial properties. Future plans? I’m concentrating on this product, I would rather get The BEST makeup cleaner in a lot of stores and get my brand known. Maybe after that other products will follow. The hardest part? Trying to get hold of the buyers, trying to get people to want your product. And deciding whether to order the tins and the product, that’s a hard one too! Any advice for others? • Do your market research – is there a market for your product? • If you’ve got a good product, don’t give up • Network, network, network • It’s all about who you know and social media – I’ve done everything on social media • Also, stay down to earth, be nice.

Swansea city Centre saw strong customer foot-flow and sales through most of November and December particularly during the final full week leading up to Christmas with feedback from my fellow city centre businesses large and small being positive. These verbal positive comments are supported by the BIDs NCP offer producing an 3.24% increase in average transaction increasing dwell time with visitors travelling in from not only close proximity areas to the City Centre but from further afield such SA12, SA9 , SA4 and SA10. Interestingly, we recruited visitors from BS1 and CF11 areas during this period also. During this phase there tends to be an excitement in the air and many of us within the Business Improvement District, both the nationals and independents take on the necessary seasonal casual staff to meet the upswing in demand and of course the multiplier effect follows. For us in the Kardomah there is a bustling feel that this season brings and we are constantly questioning the level of stock predictions, it would be fatal to run out of turkeys! Talking to both the nationals and independents in early January it’s both encouraging and satisfying to see that the Business Improvement District’s strategies such our regional marketing using a new hidden gem and national treasure theme using press and radio, social media through our Big Heart of Swansea brand, car parking offers, Boxing Day park & ride, events, attractions etc have all helped boost footfall, sales and ultimately profits have paid dividends. Our additional Police Officers we provided working with South Wales Police during the festive season also played an important part improving the visitor and trading experience producing an increase in the number of dispersal notices by over 100%, reduced Anti-Social Behaviour by over 59% and reduced the number of assaults and public order offences meaning less victims of violent crime in the area. Then as we hit the second week of January the calm arrives, for many of our businesses in the city Centre and quite honestly it’s too calm, customers are spending much less and are pulling back having spent enthusiastically during November and December, seasonal employees are no longer required and the bad weather often doesn’t help. Many of us have had to pay corporation tax and vat in January too, no wonder we can all worry about how often the till is ringing and the mood can be low. However, we will weather the calm after the storm as there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, within a matter of weeks we will be heading towards Valentine’s Day and the half term holiday where trade invariably picks up. Additionally, for any of you out there that aren’t quite as busy as you would like to take five minutes to look at the fabulous regeneration plans for Swansea...they really are


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Industry Insight With Innogy Renewables UK Limited, one of Wales’s largest investors in onshore, offshore and hydro renewable energy projects MyG team on-site L-R Jenny Cowley, Tim James, Michael Williams

Innogy Renewables UK Ltd (innogy), the company behind Swansea’s first major renewables project, Mynydd y Gwair Wind Farm, announces the project team £52 million scheme set to begin construction, with the appointment of local civil engineering contractor.

involved in the construction of Knabs Ridge, Hameldon Hill, Bradwell and Batsworthy Wind Farms.

We are delighted to have appointed a number of experts to the Mynydd y Gwair Wind Farm project team with the skills and experience needed to lead our 16 turbine project. Even more pleasing is the fact that the team, based in Baglan, are all products of Welsh Universities.

Michael, who has been with innogy for 10 years, completed The Hollies Wind Farm before leading construction of innogy’s Bradwell and Batsworthy projects. He studies Civil Engineering at Cardiff University and spent his early career in consultancy on large infrastructure projects including SA1 in Swansea.

Construction Project Managers, Tim James and Michael Williams, both chartered engineers, have overall responsibility for constructing the Mynydd y Gwair Wind Farm and together they will manage the entire project, overseeing all of the contractors involved. Tim, a graduate of Swansea University, with a Masters in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, has worked for innogy for nearly 20 years. His renewables experience is extensive, having been

civil engineering company, Dawnus. The contract includes constructing the site entrance, access tracks and widening existing roads. For further information on the Mynydd y Gwair wind farm development visit mynyddygwair

As Community Liaison Officer, Jenny Cowley is the first point of contact for members of the public and community representatives. Jenny, another Swansea University Engineering Graduate, joined over 10 years ago, from BP in Llandarcy. Construction of the wind farm will span two years and is set to begin in February, following the awarding of a multi-million pound enabling works contract with Clydach based 55

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Making your business our business. Clear and trusted relationships are critical to all business activities. We know that in order to do our job properly we need to be your trusted advisor, and not just take a passing interest. To do this, we need to make it our business to know your business inside out. Business services include: · Business Disputes · Commercial Contracts · Commercial Property · Corporate Deals · Debt Recovery · HR & Employment Law · Intellectual Property · Property Litigation

Get in touch with any of our local offices by phone or email, or visit us online.

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1/26/2017 10:27:42 PM

Finance Taking the leap of faith

Click Digital Growth helps companies form and manage their ecommerce strategies

Finance is sponsored by

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Taking the leap of faith

Taking the leap of faith Click Digital Growth helps companies form and manage their ecommerce strategies enabling access to fastchanging but lucrative markets, as founder Rhys Bevan explains


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Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. For Rhys Bevan, founder of Click Digital Growth, the light bulb moment came when business mentor Donald Melrose sat down with him for two hours, and laid out how he could make a successful business as an e-commerce consultant. Mr Bevan set up Click Digital Growth in October 2015, targeting companies that he knew had already advertised for e-commerce roles in the past. He quickly gained a handful of key clients, who realised the value his services would provide. He’s known as an e-commerce whiz, but what exactly does Click Digital Growth provide? Kind of what it says on the tin, explains Mr Bevan. “Say you have a company that needs a new website to sell a product. They might go to a web design company, who spend a few months getting it up and running. Then it’s a case of, here’s your website good luck with it. “You might have a new website and it might increase sales because it looks better and works better. “But at Click Digital Growth we integrate the website design into the ongoing contract – so it’s great for cash flow.

“Once it goes live, it’s not a pat on the back, see how you go. Instead, we work with them - looking at the data, looking at who’s coming to the website; how many people, what they’re doing there. And we look at how we can change things each month to increase the conversion rate and increase brand awareness.” Alongside this, Click Digital Growth also works on other online strategies to drive people to the website – email marketing, remarketing, pay-per-click and content marketing. Mr Bevan says his services gives “an opportunity to pay a half or a third of the price of what it would cost someone with similar eCommerce experience to work in their company. That’s not forgetting National Insurance, Pension Schemes and employee holidays.”

From the bottom up

Mr Bevan studied Business Management w i t h a f o c u s o n m a r k e t i n g , w e n t to The University of Surrey, graduating in 2009. He returned to Swansea in the middle of a recession and after failing to fi nd relevant work in Swansea, took a job in Bristol as a marketing assistant for a company that ran online businesses.


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Taking the leap of faith

“I got really lucky – I saw a Gumtree advert by an entrepreneur who had set up two businesses selling products online. I spent nearly three years there in the end, helping it grow from a start-up to 35 employees,” he says. Mr Bevan then joined a company called Greased Lightning in Swansea, part of the Medsa Group, which offered a water-free car wash solution. His job was to increase its online brand awareness and sales from nothing. He helped boost online sales from £180,000 to almost £1 million becoming head of eCommerce for the company in the process. In the end he decided to take the plunge and started his own eCommerce consultancy business in October 2015. Since then, he has grown quickly taking on many new clients largely by targeting companies he sees advertising for ecommerce roles. Essentially, he makes the case that his company can do it cheaper and with greater support and expertise. “Companies will end up paying half or a third of the price what it would cost someone with similar experience to work in their company.” “We also try to work within the parameters of existing websites so the work can start immediately and with lower upfront investments.”

Horses for courses

Once a website is enabled for ecommerce, the work is only starting, he says. “Once it goes live it’s not a case of a pat on the back – that is when the real work starts. I work with each client looking at the data – who’s coming to the website, how many people, what are they doing there and look at how we can change things each month to increase the conversion rate,” he says. He explains that each strategy will be bespoke to each client. For some it will be a case of increasing traffic, for others it will be more about converting traffic to orders. “We outline a strategy for the short and long term,” he says. He notes that one of the most critical things in his field is to stay abreast of changes in technology. He notes that both trends and technology change rapidly and companies need to keep up while also not jumping onto every bandwagon – that is where the expertise of a specialist can prove invaluable. “A good example of this was when a lot of big companies invested in mobile websites. Then a year later it was all about responsive design. Companies wasted millions of pounds and it was a good example of not jumping into new things straightaway.” In terms of his personal goals, he now wants to recruit the right people – probably smart graduates from local universities

– and grow the company. But he also needs the right companies to work with. “The biggest struggle is definitely getting the right customers and then being allowed the time to explore their challenges and what they want to achieve.”



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Employee Share Ownership When trying to build a successful business a key headache is often how to attract and retain people with the necessary skills. As a growing company you may not have the cash to offer the same level of financial rewards as more established companies - so how can you compete? Many businesses are turning to employee share schemes as a solution. Whilst there are many schemes available the most widely used by small and medium sized (SME) companies is the HMRC Tax approved Employee Management Incentive (EMI) Share Option Scheme. The scheme offers employees the opportunity to share in the growth in value of the company. Such schemes have also been shown to improve business performance as they aim to align business and employee goals. This means that everyone has a stake in achieving success. As an approved scheme EMI offers very valuable benefits. Essentially, it enables a company to grant options to selected employees to acquire shares at some point in the future but at a price that is fixed now and agreed with HMRC. So no income tax exposure for the employee on future growth and no cash or tax cost for the company on grant. Furthermore no immediate share dilution for existing shareholders.

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Compared to an unapproved scheme where income tax or national insurance would normally be due on the market value of the shares and any potential growth if options are granted then an EMI scheme is very attractive. A further benefit is that when the shares are sold, any growth in the value over and above the option exercise price is charged only to capital gains tax. The rate of capital gains tax could be as low as 10% which is of course, significantly lower than current income tax rates of 20%, 40% or 45% that would be due on say a cash bonus. The scheme also offers companies flexibility in that it can choose which employees are to be offered options, the timing of when employees can ‘exercise’ their options to buy their shares and the exercise of the options can linked to individuals, departmental or company performance.

The scheme also provides SME businesses with certain shareholder protections. If an employee leaves the company then they automatically lose their options. Of course, with such attractive tax incentives and flexibility the scheme must be structured in a way that meets the rules of the scheme. We have implemented many EMI schemes for our clients guiding them through the process and assisting them in structuring a scheme that works for them. If you are a growing business who is interested in exploring the possible benefits of an employee share scheme please contact our Tax Director, Denise Roberts for a free consultation.

Contact details

Tel: 01792 790444

1/26/2017 1:13:03 PM


GlassTech Recycling


Fast Track 25 site visit to GlassTech in Kings Dock

Hard work and a thick skin… Despite troubled beginnings, the team led by Karen John at Glass Tech has created a world-class recycling facility in Swansea’s King’s Dock that is growing rapidly and has its sights set on further expansion Forget Dragon’s Den – the reality of raising money to fund a business plan can be much more stressful and convoluted in the real world. Full of rejection and disappointment, an entrepreneur needs a thick skin and a never say die attitude. Fortunately for around 40 staff and an extensive supply chain in South West Wales, the management team has exactly these qualities. The team first fought tooth and nail to save a Neath-based recycling company in 2010 having originally been brought in to help manage the business, discovered it was beset with financial problems and irregularities. With the backing of one of the three original shareholders and a new business plan, rolled into a new company and Glass Tech Recycling started trading in 2011. The team worked tirelessly to protect jobs and regain the trust of suppliers and customers while adding unique ideas on the business’s potential. Doing all this during the deepest recession in a generation was no easy task. Money was tight in all parts of the economy and lenders and backers nervous. So, when the business plan required a new, much bigger, round of funding to pay for

new equipment and premises, they had a major task on their hands to secure backers. “A lot of investors said not now. But we had the customers, the feed stock, the expertise and the business plan. We were not going to give up easily on something we believed in,” Ms John says. After months of doors closing, it was at a New Year’s Eve party seeing out 2013 that Ms John shared her problems with nephew Huw Bennett, the former Wales rugby player, now part of the Welsh Rugby Union’s coaching set up. At the time, he

was working with financial trading firm OSTC, which has a substantial presence in Swansea, and an investment section within the business. He made contact there and then and within a week Ms John was presenting to investors who would eventually back the business plan by investing in the company. This culminated in an investment taking place between 2014 – 2016 of £1.7 million investment package being secured from a combination of OSTC investors, Finance Wales and the Welsh Government.


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The funding was used to relocate the company to a much bigger site at King’s Dock in Swansea, as part of its development plans, creating an additional 27 jobs in the process. The new plant includes a state-of-the-art glass processing unit that enables the company to convert highly contaminated container glass into high-quality glass cullet which it can sell to manufacturers as a cost-effective raw material. The company’s primary output is glass cullet, an increasingly popular raw material used by manufacturers because it can reduce energy costs during the manufacturing process and decreases the need for unsustainable virgin material. It is estimated that some 400,000 tonnes of container glass are reprocessed in the UK every year, with an average of up to eight jobs created from every 1,000 tonnes of glass recycled. Glass Tech also works with other recyclable materials whereby it arranges the collection and sale / purchase of

materials such as steel, aluminium and plastics, offering a more complete waste management package. This new piece of equipment, which is effectively a complex production line combining machinery and manpower, was the teams’brainchild. She affectionately refers to it as “Bertha” and explains that it has transformed the productivity of the business and also the quality of the glass that it outputs, which Ms John describes as the best in Europe. This is important because it means Glass Tech can sell it for more – up to a third more than other producers. The machine, which went live in 2016, can process 25 tonnes of glass an hour and one of GT’s goals now is to introduce three shifts at the plant seven days a week, meaning the company is maximising the investment the new equipment. The increase in quality and production has allowed it to target new markets overseas, something that is even easier again because of its location in King’s Dock. It is already

exporting to Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and Belgium and the plan is to continue to grow this reach. The company has come a long way and changed dramatically since some pretty bleak times when Ms John first walked into what turned to be a very problematic business. And its growth is now set to skyrocket. Ms John estimates that she will need to increase the workforce by 15 in 2017. The company’s turnover, which was approximately £1.2 million in the 12 months to June 2016, could also dramatically increase in 2017 to potentially over £6 million for the full calendar year. Ms John is also pondering the addition of new facilities including one in North Wales. Glass Tech Recycling represents an example of a Welsh business sitting at the cutting edge of a rapidly growing industry with further growth potential as recycling becomes ever-more important globally. From difficult beginnings, Ms John has created a fantastic success story in SA1 and a company to watch in the future. 63

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Wales vision

Expert opinion ember 2016 October/Nov


Issue 44

with Ian Price, Director of CBI Wales




Infrastructure commission – Wales vision www.swanseaba






BUSINESS LIFE December/J anuary 2017

Issue 45


S COMMUN www.swan ITY seabaybusi



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The must-read for the Swansea Bay City Region business community Swansea Bay Business Life magazine, a bi-monthly business publication for the Swansea Bay City Region incorporating Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot. Its in-depth features, interviews, columns and news analysis are read by directors and senior decision makers in the region’s business and public sector communities. The magazine looks to champion the best of business in the region while covering national and international business issues from a local perspective.

GUARANTEE YOUR COPY. SUBSCRIBE NOW. Enquiries - email: or tel: 03337778004

Infrastructure is key to boosting competitiveness, accessing markets and alleviating pinch points Building infrastructure is by its nature difficult and complex. It delivers significant benefits but requires hefty planning and financing and the length of projects transcending political cycles brings the prospect of disruption and political headaches. Difficult decisions have been repeatedly delayed and business is looking to the next Welsh Government to take these decisions without delay. Despite welcome news on Severn Bridge tolls, our nation’s transport network remains under strain – with roads congested, ports overlooked and key rail links reaching their limits. Positive developments are on the horizon, including the electrification of the Great Western Mainline and repeated government promises to deliver the M4 Black Route. These promises represent the right direction of travel, but to make a tangible difference we need to see decisions made swiftly and visible progress on the ground. However critical these actions are they only deal with the backlog. Wales needs a long-term solution to our infrastructure puzzle that will put an end to our ‘start’ and ‘stop’ approach to investment. We must accept our current way of building infrastructure is broken and the Welsh Government must put it right. For the CBI, the answer to this infrastructure puzzle is transferring devolved infrastructure planning to an independent Welsh infrastructure commission. As has been demonstrated in places like Australia, an infrastructure commission can develop a truly long-term plan for Wales and allow a holistic approach to planning our infrastructure, achieve economies of scale and giving business the confidence to invest. At a UK level, the CBI published ‘Plotting the course’, which captures businesses’ vision for the UK’s new infrastructure commission. What lessons can Wales learn from the UK commission to-date? First, we should accept that a long-term plan for the UK’s infrastructure – rather than one that changes every political cycle will enable our infrastructure providers to establish robust supply chains, our contractors to map out the skills required, and our investors and planners to think innovatively on how we best deliver the infrastructure the UK will need. Secondly, empowering a commission to undertake an independent evidence-based assessment of long-term need presents a massive opportunity. This process ensures our policies today are shaped by the infrastructure we need tomorrow. It provides businesses with a longer-term vision towards which they can aim, while also ensuring whether it’s a national set-piece project like HS2, or smaller schemes like energy from waste projects – UK infrastructure is pulling in the same direction. Thirdly, the creation of the UK commission presents an opportunity to explore how the UK tackles specific challenges where a problem has already been identified – issues where all too often, political pressures and procrastination prevents us from grappling with the thorny issues at hand. Whether it is the long-term strategy we employ to ensure security of our energy supplies, or the role that new railway lines have to play in growing the UK’s connectivity, the independence of the UK commission enables it to take a wider outlook and grasp the opportunities of integration, across sectoral and departmental lines. An independent Welsh infrastructure commission, able to focus on cross-cutting issues like broadband, electrification and energy infrastructure could greatly support our wider social and economic aspirations. The most important lesson of all, however, is that our infrastructure aspirations will be no longer way-laid by politics. A commission could focus instead on the challenges that matter most to those who rely upon Wales’ infrastructure. Like the UK, Wales would be far from the first to create an infrastructure commission. As the Armitt Review highlighted, countries from Australia, Canada and Singapore have all benefited from the creation of a commission and the long-term clarity and planning that brings with it. The CBI’s message to Welsh politicians is clear - in this global race for jobs, Wales cannot afford to be stuck in the slow lane anymore.


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                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                  

      

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   

   

   

    

1/27/2017 12:08:02 PM

 

                     BizLifeFebAds.indd 66

1/27/2017 9:43:01 AM

                                                                                 

       

        

    

                                                                                                                                                                                                      BizLifeFebAds.indd 67

          

                                                                                

1/26/2017 10:59:31 PM

business review of the year 2016

At a Glance... EXPANSION OF BRIDGEND DEPOT Alongside the main site in Swansea, the firm has 3 other sites across South Wales and in October of 2016, the team proudly opened a new site in Bridgend. Located on the site of the Braceys Builders Yard on Porthcawl Road, the new depot was more than three times the size of the previous one and included a wide range of new equipment available for customers to hire.

NEW EQUIPMENT Although the firm offers a wide range of products from access equipment and dumpers to drills and safety clothing, the most popular product hired by both members of the public and professional trades-people is the mini digger. With it’s ability to fit through a 750mm doorway, the digger is perfect for projects with difficult access and the introduction of the Track Barrow compliments the digger perfectly as it too can fit through 750mm door ways and carry a ton at a time.


Miles Hire Ends 2016 on a high. Local independent hire firm Miles Hire has had one of their best years on record.

evening and the founding of the Builders Breakfast Exhibition.

In 2016 alone, the family run plant and tool hire company has seen the expansion of their Bridgend depot, the recruitment of new staff, new equipment, exclusive distribution rights for a market leading product, UK recognition at an industry awards

Ryan Miles, Director commented “2016 was a fantastic year for the company. We have been growing steadily year on year for quite some time however we decided in 2015 to review and implement some new ideas and thankfully they have paid off”.

Safety fencing has always been a popular product and Miles Hire fencing can be seen on the Kingsway, protecting damaged areas of Swansea Docks as well as building sites and events across Wales. A partnership with HERAS saw the firm become an exclusive distributor of the market leading fencing brand across South Wales in a deal that is the first of its kind in Wales.

HIRE ASSOCIATION OF EUROPE AWARDS In April of 2016, we were shortlisted for the Company of the Year Award and were proud to be finalists but also extremely proud to be the only Welsh business to make it to the finals.


New Staff To help implement the plans formulated in 2015, one of the first appointments was Gwyn Morris as Business Development Manager. Gwyn joined in the January and brought a huge amount of experience from over 30 years in the access equipment industry. Throughout the year there were additional appointments to the trades counter as well as new drivers as the business grew as well as a number of internal promotions such as Brandon Miles. Brandon, who joined the firm from school, worked his way up through the company and after completing his qualifications and after a successful stint as the Swansea Assistant Manager was considered the perfect choice for the new Bridgend depot.

CONTACT US: tel: 01656 347026

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In addition to focusing on their own business, brothers Ryan and Darren Miles have also looked at ways to develop the trades and construction sector across South Wales and are founding members of the ‘Builders Breakfast Exhibition’. The event looked to bridge the disconnect between local trades and contracting firms and the multimillion pound projects taking place on our doorstep. The first event in February 2016 focused on the £500m Swansea City Centre Development and saw presentation from Councilor Robert Francis Davies. The event was such a huge success, there are 8 events taking place throughout Wales in 2017 with the first in the Liberty Stadium on 16th February and is seen by the Welsh Government as the ideal platform for major projects to engage and communicate with local construction businesses. Darren Miles commented “we had a fantastic 2016 and are looking to continue and build on that success in 2017 including the launch of our improved Miskin depot and further expansion in to Cardiff and Newport” Watch this space!.

1/26/2017 10:58:43 PM

     

         

                                                                                                                                      

      


                                                                                                                               

        

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                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                               

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business review of the year 2016


A bold growth opportunity A change of location and a new branch of the business have reaped dividends for Stephen Hughes’ jewellery business, writes Jenny White. Last year was a big one for Stephen Hughes, both in terms of change and business success. After 20 years on Portland Street in Swansea, Stephen moved his flagship Stephen Hughes fine diamond business to The Quadrant – and at the same time opened a new concept store, also in The Quadrant, specialising in boutique jewellery for a younger market. With a stylish interior and big brands such as Cloggau, Thomas Sabo and Swarovski on offer, the shop perfectly compliments the rest of Stephen Hughes’ business, which includes his fine diamond store and six Pandora franchises in South Wales and the Channel Islands. Stephen took the momentous and expensive step of moving all his Swansea shops into The Quadrant after observing changes in shopping patterns in the heart of Swansea. “Our business on Portland Street had been static for the last three or four years. We found that we were suffering from a lack of footfall: the shopping focus in town is moving south – there is very little retail on the Kingsway and Portland Street was beginning to suffer, so as hard as my team were working, the business just wasn’t growing. When the opportunity came to move into the centre, it was a no brainer.”

Contact us: 5, Queens Arcade, The Quadrant, Swansea, SA1 3QW Tel: 01792 462999

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business review of the year 2016

In recent years most of the business’ growth has been driven by Stephen’s six Pandora shops, so the move to the Quadrant was an opportunity to focus on boosting business for both the diamond shop and the boutique. The results over Christmas have been excellent: “We saw 50% growth in sales in December this year in our Stephen Hughes business - and all of the key indicators in terms of sales have grown. We needed that because of the cost of the move and refurbishment.” He has also seen the stores attract a wider range of customers than were previously drawn by the Portland Street store. “People have always come to us in Portland

Street for diamond rings but now we have been able to grow the core of the business - for example, we have balanced sales of diamond rings, with an increase in sales of other items such as watches or pairs of gold earrings.” Meanwhile, the store’s market for diamond engagement rings has expanded to include buyers on more modest budgets, with all customers receiving the same VIP treatment. “We have a nice salon at the rear of the store where customers can sit down and it’s a bit more private and we open a bottle of Prosecco for them. I always tell my staff that it doesn’t matter if a customer is spending £50 or £5000, the quality of service must be the same.”

Stephen Hughes employs a total of 120 staff, and Stephen sees them as at the core of his businesses’ success - including the runaway popularity of his new jewellery boutique. “We were delighted with how it performed over Christmas - it achieved a quarter of its yearly targets in December, so it’s looking at coming in on budget in its first year. We have a young team there, and they are delivering very well. The shop has a different sort of appeal from the diamond store it’s for people looking for gifts for young people, and for young people buying jewellery for themselves.

Looking forward to 2017... Stephen believes there is every reason to be optimistic. “Contrary to what the doom mongers say, I think the British economy is flexible and responsive. The more we can encourage home grown businesses to grow in Wales, the better the economy in Wales will do - and for me the main opportunity in 2017 is to grow our brand outside of Swansea in line with the way we have grown the Pandora brand.”

Contact us:

5 Queens Arcade, The Quadrant, Swansea, SA1 3QW Tel: 01792 462999

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Workforce Gower View Foods

Rapid growth for Gower View Foods, a recipe for success

Workforce is sponsored by

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advertising feature

Substance Abuse at Work A Legal Headache for Employers Clare Bowen, Head of HR Services at JCP Solicitors manages a team who provide outsourced HR services to businesses in a range of sectors. Clare’s expertise and experience is welcomed by her diverse client base; from manufacturing companies, to healthcare practices and charities. “Alcohol and drug misuse in the workplace is a growing issue, with key ethical and legal implications for employers. According to latest figures* one in 12 16 to 59-year-olds have used an illicit drug, so it is no wonder that misuse at work is something many employers are becoming increasingly attuned to. “The use of drugs or alcohol at home can lead to impaired function and lower productivity the next day at work. And, of course, the use of drugs and alcohol within the workplace itself, or during someone’s breaks, can lead to greatly increased risks of accident or harm, both to those who have used drugs and alcohol and to their colleagues or to any members of the public they might come in contact with. “Employers, Managers and HR Professionals need to look carefully at their

policies and procedures and consider whether they are robust enough to tackle this issue, since there are serious legal implications for employers who fail to address substance misuse at work. “In particular manufacturing companies and workplaces that operate heavy duty machinery should ensure they have strict policies in place to protect their employees from possible harm caused by others under influence. In a similar guise, employers should also seriously consider their responsibilities when an employee reports ill health or ill health is suspected. “Most employers are also very keen to offer their staff meaningful support if they have substance misuse issues and this is something that should be considered within a legal framework too.”

In 2017 JCP Solicitors will be running free HR workshops on the following topics. When Employee Health Issues Cause Safety Concerns An overview of the responsibilities of an employer when an employee reports ill health or ill health is suspected within the manufacturing and construction industry. What Employers Can Expect in 2017 A look ahead focussing on the year’s main employment changes, notable case law decisions to be expected and future law changes. Disciplinary Process and Procedures Answers to common questions (and more) on disciplinary processes and procedures. Dealing with Awkward Situations in the Workplace and Common Mistakes This session will cover common awkward situations that arise within the workplace and how to deal with them, avoiding common mistakes. *Figure taken from the UK Governments 2015/2016 Crime Survey for England and Wales.

To book your place at one of our free workshops, or to discuss the contents of this article further contact Clare on 01792 529623 or by emailing:

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Gower View Foods

A (not so) secret recipe for success From humble beginnings, a combination of passion and pragmatism has spurred rapid growth at Gower View Foods driven by its founder Jon Lewis. He gave Fast Track 25 sponsors an exclusive tour of the company’s premises and attempted to define his secret recipe for success Ask ten entrepreneurs for their secret to success, and you will get 10 different answers. Some will talk business plans, product and market opportunities; others will talk timing, opportunism and even luck; others will talk about need for good people. There is no single answer, of course. In fact, what they will have in common is they will probably answer the question with the same amount of passion, regardless of their response. Before likely turning the answer around to extol the virtues of their business or businesses – all in a very engaging way that makes listeners believe and want to work with them. Sitting with Jon Lewis, the founder and managing director of Gower View Foods, in his brand new still being fitted office on Cross Hands Food Park, it is hard not to end up sharing his infectious enthusiasm for a business that has grown, and is still growing, exponentially despite operating in an ultra-competitive sector where quality and reputation are everything. For the record, his official answer to the first question is: having the right people around you – a common answer for many entrepreneurs and one that is timeless

and true.Yet those people still need direction and structure and, most importantly, inspiration. And it is clear how Lewis with his passion, knowledge and industry connections, has supplied all those things. A Fast Track 25 company, this publication visited Lewis with event sponsors Santander and Bevan & Buckland. “I am very passionate about what we do.

I have spent my entire career in this industry and I am passionate about every aspect of it,” Lewis admits. Gower View Foods was formed by Lewis in 2005 and it started production in 2007. A dairy farmer originally, Lewis spent 21 years in the dairy business working for Swansea butter company Evan Rees. He left there initially for a complete change


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Gower View Foods

and sold packaging materials for a year. But he says his passion for the food business combined with an innovative idea he had prompted him to return to his roots and pursue a dream. His first product was a yogurt stick and his first client was Rachel’s Organic, based near Aberystwyth, a company renowned for its ethical approach and high standards. With financial support from the Welsh Development Agency funding his initial production equipment, the company got up and running on one contract but, as Lewis used his considerable connections in the industry, quickly developed to packing butter. The next logical step was to make its own butter. It invested in the churning equipment needed, started making its own butter brand called ‘Shirgar’ while also churning for other companies and brands. Fast forward to 2017 and Gower View Foods is the biggest independent butter packer in the UK – by a long way – and the second biggest overall. Gower View Foods is also the leading manufacturer and packer of brandy butter in the UK. But during that journey, the company has also diversified rapidly. It now also packs a wide range of products from seaweed to crackers to cheese and potentially an edible body paint made by Ann Summers. It has also enjoyed a spike brand, publicity and awareness of the company thanks to working with cake company Ridiculously Rich, the company launched by Alana Spencer, the 2016 winner of TV show The Apprentice.

Lewis says the connection with Spencer was formed at a London Trade show. “That has certainly put us on the map in the bakery sector and the bakery packing business has been growing fast on the back of that,” Lewis says. The company’s growth has been steady and fast. It recently took on much bigger premises on Cross Hands Food Park, complementing an original unit it has outgrown. The company now turns over between £5 million and £6 million, but he also stresses that this number should be viewed in the context of its business model. Unlike some companies that do similar things, Gower View Foods does not take on the cashflow burden and associated risk of the majority of the products it works with. So when it makes butter for another company, rather than paying for the cream and ingredients and then selling the butter back to a client, it only charges for the service itself. Lewis stresses that if the company bought and sold all the produce that passes through it, its turnover would be approximately £80 million now. “But I am only interested in what I call the leftovers (profit),” Lewis stresses. Gower View Foods employs some 70 staff now and Lewis is keen to stress the depth of talent in the company. Partly, he attributes this to the fact the region has traditionally been so strong in the dairy sector. Many staff who gained their experience in other very good companies, which have now closed or changed direction for various reasons, now work for Gower View Foods.

Pictured: Alana Spencer, 2016 winner of the Apprentice


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Expert opinion Pictured: Jon Lewis MD of Gower View foods with Chris Evans from Santander and Alison Vickers Bevan & Buckland

with Lawrence Bailey, owner of public affairs specialists Whiterock Consulting

Connectivity still the key to regeneration

“The key to any good company is good people,” Lewis says. “We have been very lucky to have found some excellent people. We also have a strong management team that we believe can take the business forward. It really is about a lot more than me.” Gower View Foods now boasts client base that includes many household names including Fayrefield Foods, Lactalis, CNWC Crackers, Arla, Wyke Farms, Dairy Crest, First Milk, Coombe Castle International, Castell Howell, Staple Dairy Products, Snowdonia Cheese Company, Prima Foods, Grahams Family Dairy, Muller Wiseman, Ornua Foods, Cotswold Dairy, Delamere Dairy and Cradoc’s Crackers. For these customers, it provides a variety of services outside butter ranging from cream potting to netting to shrink wrapping to making liquid sticks from raw ingredients including vodka. The company’s growth has been underpinned by a commitment to quality in everything it does. It boasts accreditations from bodies including: the HACCP, Soil Association, BRC, AA Plus and Red Tractor and is an approved site by Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose. The other secret Lewis revels is a mixture of persistence and innovation. Many of the contracts the company now has have come about because the firm has found a better solution. “We have the philosophy that anything is possible and we use logical simple thinking and solutions to solve issues. It has certainly worked for us so far,” Lewis says.


There’s no argument that the internet has changed our lives beyond recognition. In less than a generation, work, commerce and leisure have been totally transformed. Improved connectivity has become second nature in business. Furthermore, there is a growing body of opinion that it is the key to unlocking regeneration potential in south west Wales. I’ve been fortunate enough to sit in on a series of high-level briefings on how the City Deal for the Swansea Bay Region has been formulated. Each progress session has left me impressed in terms of ambition and the single-minded approach taken towards delivery. Proposals for £3.3bn invested in the region over 20 years to create 9000 jobs directly with around 35,000 in total coming out of spin-offs have also impressed government assessors. It looks like the next challenge is getting indigenous business on board. There were some mixed opinions among panellists at a recent debate held at the new Swansea University new campus about the current City Region. One speaker complained of too much focus on public sector and higher education interests. My expectation is that the current board structure is likely to change in order to deliver on some pretty tough objectives. Meanwhile attention needs to focus on the basics when it comes to connectivity. Not least is how Wales is failing to address the abundance of mobile phone “not-spots” The industry claims that adopting the practice of allowing masts up to 25 million without a full planning process – as happens in England – would help make a significant difference. The Welsh Government says it will look at the evidence before deciding whether to relax restrictions. I think a journey from Cardigan to Rhyader should suffice. As ever in business, it’s the little things that make a big idea successful. 79

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1/27/2017 10:11:46 AM

Industry Insight With Peter Lynn

partner at Peter Lynn & Partners

Commercial Litigation – Protect yourself and your business from expensive court cases Peter Lynn and Partners were formed in 1999 with one aim – to prevent legal problems. Eighteen years later and it remains at the core of everything we do but where did the objective come from? Peter Lynn explains. “Having spent a lot of time on the legal circuit in Wales and London, I represented a high number of business owners including successful Directors and Partners of multi-million pound businesses who were suing each other over disagreements. What always surprised me was that these successful partnerships had Terms & Conditions

in place for the deals they did with clients but nothing in place between themselves”. Peter continued “This resulted in protracted and often bitter legal battles, usually involving several law firms, which became extremely expensive for all concerned. When the cases were brought to court, often the outcome would be a winding up order and frequently, the legal costs incurred would be much higher than the amount the business was valued at and the individuals would have to foot the bill themselves. Whilst there

were some that could “take the hit” for many, it caused a significant if not critical impact on their personal finances”. This experience was a driving factor during the formation of Peter Lynn and Partners as they sought to help business partners avoid expensive legal battles by drafting the right documents in the first place. Peter added “many of the cases could have been avoided if the partners concerned had the right agreements in place. In some cases, the partners had paid for the documents to be drafted but simply had not signed them!” Peters advice is simple – if you run a business with one or more partners or shareholders, make sure you have up to date agreements in place. A few hundred pounds spent drafting correct terms can save many thousands in legal fees, not to mention the stress and bad feeling. To arrange a meeting with Peter Lynn and his company and commercial law team, all 01792 450010 or email info@ for a free, confidential initial chat.

Peter Lynn & Partners 2nd Floor, Langdon House Langdon Road Swansea SA1 8QY Tel: 01792 450010 Fax: 01792 462881 DX number: 56768 Peter Lynn of Peter Lynn & Partners


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Gwariwch arian arnoch chi’ch hun neu byddwch yn barod i wynebu’r canlyniadau

Spend money on yourself or face the consequences

             

             

           

     

                                                                                  

                                                                          

                

              

     

        

     

    

                

                 

                                                                         

                                                

             

                 

              

            

               

               

     

     

            

       

                                                              

                                                      

             

       

             

                

             

              

                                                                  

                                                         

            

             

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Business, Development & Innovation

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1/27/2017 10:19:57 AM

Industry Insight With Mark Jones

Principal, Gower College Swansea

Building on growth Whatever we think of 2016 – and some of the politer descriptions that I have heard to describe the year just gone include ‘unpredictable’, ‘challenging’ and ‘interesting’ – the year itself was a decent one for the UK economy with GDP growth holding firm, even after the referendum, and by the end of the year forecast to be in line with the CBI’s prediction of a 2% increase. But as we move into 2017 we are hearing a range of very different messages in terms of what the next 12 months has in store for the economy. On the one hand, the lack of clarity around what Brexit actually means has clearly led to some degree of uncertainty which, in some areas, has resulted in a reduction in business investment. And this, together with the recent fall in sterling, will push up import costs and lead to the rise in inflation which we are now seeing. However, the Most Welsh Business Barometer, p u b l i s h e d by t h e Chambers of Commerce, reflects on Welsh businesses that are clearly adapting and ‘doing their best to trade through the uncertainty and seize opportunities as they arise’ and that in overall terms ‘growth will continue in 2017, albeit at a more modest pace’. Whilst this is good news I think that when we look back on 2017 our view will be ‘coloured’ by the progress, or not, that is made on some of the relatively larger projects that have the potential to transform the Welsh economy and which include the M4 relief road, the Circuit of Wales, Wyllfa Newydd in Anglesey and the proposed South Wales Metro for the Cardiff region. In Swansea and the

West Wales region, we are already starting to hear positive rumblings in terms of both the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and the Swansea City Deal. From a college perspective we are actively gearing up to be able to respond to the demands for skills that will accompany these new projects, and after a couple of challenging years (from a financial perspective) we’ve used our relatively better settlements for both 2015/16 and now 2016/17 to make key strategic investments. These include investments in priority curriculum areas for us including construction and life sciences – we’ve also made investments into priority ‘markets’ including employability programmes and higher education and, at the same time, we’ve also invested in the College’s infrastructure including resource areas such as essential skills and capital areas such as our estate at Tycoch and our new premises in the heart of the Kingsway. And in doing so we’re trying to look 3 – 5 years ahead even though we only know our definite funding for the next 12 months.


The next 12 months is potentially one of the most important years ever for the Welsh economy and, as a college, we will be doing everything we can to support our partners in hopefully making 2017 a successful year to remember.

Gower College Swansea 01792 284000/890700


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            • • • • • • •

                 

• • • • • •

           

• • • • •

            

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1/27/2017 2:13:19 PM

Property and construction Building new perceptions

Charlotte Hale of Neath-based Hale Construction talks about why there may be so few women on building sites.

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Property & Construction is sponsored by

1/27/2017 9:35:50 AM

Building new perceptions Charlotte Hale of Neath-based Hale Construction is thriving as a site manager. Here, she talks to BUSINESS LIFE about why there may be so few women on building sites With figures estimating that women account for just one per cent of workers on construction sites, it’s rare to find a female site manager running the show. But they do exist. And they can bring real benefits to the working environment as illustrated by site manager Charlotte Hale of Neath-based Hale Construction. Instead of keeping order by yelling as might be the stereotype of a site manager - her approach is different. “I talk to people” she said. “If someone isn’t working as well as usual, I’ll ask them if something is wrong instead of shouting”. Yet Ms Hale does add that the ability for a woman to shout is still a pre-requisite. “You do need to be strong. Construction sites can be dangerous places so if there’s a potential health and safety issue for example, you have to be stern,” she says. Although Ms Hale hadn’t previously planned to join her family’s construction business, she helped out on site during her university holidays and found she loved it.

“I really enjoyed being in the thick of things. It suits my mind-set. When problems arise, although they’re construction based, I can see a way out of them through being innovative.” She puts a lot of her approach down to her route in to the industry; through first doing a business degree. As well as learning how to problem solve, she also learnt a lot about how to manage people and get the best out of them. For someone who didn’t initially plan to join the construction industry but is thriving within it, she offers a perspective on why there are so few women doing jobs like hers. “It’s not because women can’t do the job, or because there’s a lack of respect for them on site - I’ve not had any derogatory comments or problems like that,” she said. “I think it’s due to how we’re brought up as children – boys have digger toys while girls don’t. It’s socialisation. I think things are changing as people find that



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Building new perceptions

Property & Construction

it’s good to have women on site but the change definitely isn’t as quick as in other industries.” This is definitely true. The Office for National Statistics says the number of women working as roofers, bricklayers and glaziers is so low that it cannot be measured. Interestingly Ms Hale’s brother, Graham - who has also recently started working as a site manager for Hale - knew he wanted to join the construction industry from an early age. He said: “I started off by doing a plumbing apprenticeship before then going on to do site management qualifications. “I think I’ve really benefited from having that trade background in terms of understanding what goes on site.” Learning a trade first is the more traditional route into construction and is the one that Hale Construction’s chairman, Jonathan Hale took. 91

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Hale Construction


He started out as a carpenter before later setting up Hale Construction in 1996. Considering the fact that both of Jonathan’s children are doing well as site managers despite their different routes into the industry, it’s not surprising that their shared background – time spent on site – is the key factor that Jonathan sees for a successful career in construction. He said: “People have started up construction companies coming from a completely different background, such as accountancy for example. “But this approach can fail. You need to know the trade so that no one can fob you off!”

“Alongside that you do need a mixture of practical and people skills as it’s not the easiest of industries - there’s a lot more legislation and red tape now which has changed things. However it is very rewarding when it all comes together and you build lovely homes for people, plus of course it’s great to have Charlotte and Graham on-board.” Hale Construction employs more than 130 people and is part of a wider Hale Group, which includes private housing developer Hale Homes and eco-friendly joiner company Seven Oaks. The group has a turnover of over £30 million and is set to expand further in 2017.

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1/27/2017 10:14:18 AM

Expert opinion with Dave Kieft, president of the ECA and ECA Wales spokesperson.

Potential opportunities with the city centre regeneration The Swansea Bay City Region deal is undoubtedly of major importance for the local area, and indeed the whole of Wales. The combination of localised planning and infrastructure investment can play a crucial role in economic growth and could bring a vast range of opportunities to the construction, engineering and manufacturing industries. Arguments for the Swansea Bay City Region deal were well advanced during Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Statement in November 2016. The ‘Internet Coast’ themed deal has a major focus on digital infrastructure, including the region initiating the roll-out of superfast 5G broadband in the UK. Regeneration of the city centre and support for other key projects in the region, such as the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, will provide further opportunities for businesses in the area. The ECA has urged government to support tidal power, highlighting the energy security it offers as well as its positive impact on the South West Wales economy. However, one key issue for the engineering and building services industry is the number of skilled workers and managers that will be needed if these projects are to successfully come into fruition. The current engineering skills shortage makes major projects such as these challenging, as it’s vital the work is done to the highest technical and safety standards. It is therefore important that both industry and government continue to address the needs of our sector as we prepare for the future. The ECA supports government efforts to boost apprentice numbers, but also recognise the importance of quality, as well as quantity. We must ensure training is rigorous and challenging so that the next generation of skilled workers can successfully undertake iconic and world-leading projects across the country. 93

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1/27/2017 10:15:04 AM

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                        



                       

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1/27/2017 12:04:11 PM

Property Dawsons moves with the times


Chris Hope

Dawsons moves with the times Award-winning Dawsons has seen equal growth in both its sales and lettings departments and the South West Wales-based agency is now looking to the future as it celebrates 25 years in business One of South West Wales’ best known property brands is celebrating a significant landmark – Dawsons is 25 years old this year. Dawsons has had its name displayed in roads and streets across the region since 1991. But though the award-winning property company has reached 25 years in business, the expertise within the organisation goes back further. Chris Hope, senior partner at Dawsons, said: “We might have begun trading as Dawsons 25 years ago and everyone involved should be congratulated, but the roots of the company and the expertise we can call on goes back as far as the 1970s. “While some of the name of the company has changed over the years, there is very much the nucleus of that expert team still in place.” From a single office in Walter Road with eight staff, Dawsons has grown into a company boasting 18 specialist departments utilising more than 130 staff members. Hope joined Dawsons’ original founding fathers Malcom Jones and Mike Dawson in 1977, then part of company David Henry & Malcom Jones. In 1981, the business merged to create Henry Jones and Hobbs and with the acquisition in 1986 by Abbey

National, the firm continued to trade as Cornerstone. From that, Dawsons emerged in 1991. The agency has evolved over the past two-and-a-half decades as a trusted name for all property matters, including sales, commercial and rental. Hope added: “The great thing about Dawsons is that we are based on continuity where partners and staff have a career path. We are far from being a here today, gone tomorrow organisation. “We have staff ranging from the ages of 17 to 70 who have differing skill sets and are on different career paths but are all equally important to us within the organisation.” A big part of Dawsons’ customer service has been its ability to adapt, especially with the onset and development of the web. The digital age and emergence of property marketing websites has meant a cultural switch in the way people purchase, sell or rent property. Hope said: “Our mantra is – what does the client want? It is all about understanding your customer’s needs and requirements and making sure we give them expert advice across a number of fields based on key local knowledge. “Customers in the 21st century are much more informed and we reflect that in our level of service with unrivalled local



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Dawsons timeline • 1990 - A plan comes together

THE GREAT THING ABOUT DAWSONS IS THAT WE ARE BASED ON CONTINUITY WHERE PARTNERS AND STAFF HAVE A CAREER PATH. WE ARE FAR FROM BEING A HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW ORGANISATION knowledge. Dawsons are as active online as we are on a personal level. “From a sales point of view, gone are the days of having one big office with a whole stream of properties on display. The industry is much more instantaneous and 24/7.” As well as sales, Dawsons specialises in lettings, which continues to expand. Dawsons has been recognised as The Times and The Sunday Times’ Wales Lettings Agency of the Year for the past two consecutive years. With the equal growth of both sales and rental, Dawsons has directors heading both divisions. Ricky Purdy was appointed rental and lettings director in 2011 and Joanne Summerfield-Talbot was promoted to sales director last year. Dawsons has recently given key advice to hundreds of landlords in South Wales on new Rent Smart Wales legislation that has been brought in by the Welsh Government. But the agency is not just about sales and rental. It boasts a number of expert departments covering auction (Dawsons hosts six auctions a year), commercial, surveys, land and new homes and mortgage advice. Dawsons’ ability to service customers has led to it being chosen as the only independent agent in Swansea and Llanelli to represent the Relocation Agent Network. RAN exists to help customers relocate to locations across the UK and worldwide. “Being chosen as a RAN agent means that we are able to relocate people from Sketty to Skegness or welcome buyers from Upminster to the Uplands,” Hope said. He added as a company that had proven its longevity, Dawsons was now looking forward to more years helping people find their perfect properties in South West Wales. “The business has changed a lot over the years and Dawsons has proven its ability to both move with the times and stand the test of time,” he said. “Our emphasis on genuine expertise and quality service has made us the agent of choice for a huge proportion of people in South West Wales and we’re already looking forward to celebrating our next milestone birthday.”

• 1991 - Acquisition of Dylan’s Estate agents created premises for the launch of Dawsons incorporating Malcom Jones, Mike Dawson and Gary Hockley • 1992 – Dawsons opened Killay and Morriston offices • 1993 – Dawsons acquired local Mumbles estate agent John Francis • 1995 – Dawsons acquired rental agent Thomas George - Swansea • 1997 – Dawsons acquired Stuart Wilkey estate agents – Sketty • 1999 – Macolm Jones retires from the partnership • 2000 – Tim Kostromin joins as a new Dawsons partner • 2001 - Acquisition of estate agent Dave Jones – Gorseinon • 2003 – Garry Hockley retires as a partner • 2006 – Launch of new Land & New Homes department • 2007 – Open new Llanelli office for sales and rentals • 2008 – James Dawson joins as a partner • 2010 – Mike Dawson retires as senior partner • 2010 – Open new Swansea Marina office for sales and rentals • 2011 – Ricky Purdy promoted to director of residential lettings • 2015 – Wales Lettings Agency of the Year • 2015 – Joanne Summerfield-Talbot promoted to director of residential sales • 2016 – Awarded Wales Lettings Agency of the Year for second year running

Rick Purdy 97

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Industry Insight With Lee Mogridge, Regional Director of Lambert Smith Hampton Wales

New city confidence Most of us will be familiar with Dylan Thomas’ description of Swansea as ‘an ugly, lovely town’ but fewer might be aware that he then added ‘... by the side of a long and splendid curving shore’. And it is the recent and ongoing public and private sector developments along our shoreline that will secure new prosperity and opportunities for our city. From Swansea University’s Bay campus on the 65-acre former BP Transit site, the UWTSD Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter on SA1 to the opening of the new leisure development at Oyster Wharf in Mumbles, student and visitor numbers are steadily growing. Swansea University’s second campus has also led to a 120% increase in the number of new research projects

awarded since 2012. It is the vital first step towards achieving the promise of the ‘knowledge economy’ – incubating innovation and new businesses. Start-ups and growing businesses could be accommodated as part of Swansea Council’s ambitious plans to regenerate the Kingsway and create a thriving business district. Whilst it is essential to transform our city centre, it is our coastal location and the quality of life it offers that sets us apart. It helps employers to attract staff, particularly as the average house price here is £143,000 compared to the UK average of almost £218,000. Whether residents, students or visitors, leisure time matters more than ever to the economy. Visa recently released data which showed that consumer spend on clothing and footwear grew by only 1.1% last year which was dwarfed by the 6.9% increase in spend on hotels, restaurants, bars and pubs. A culture where public and private sector continues to work together is proving critical. From the Tidal

MOST OF US WILL BE FAMILIAR WITH DYLAN THOMAS’ DESCRIPTION OF SWANSEA AS ‘AN UGLY, LOVELY TOWN’ BUT FEWER MIGHT BE AWARE THAT HE THEN ADDED ‘... BY THE SIDE OF A LONG AND SPLENDID CURVING SHORE’ Lagoon project planning to offer sport facilities and an Offshore Visitor Centre, to the regeneration of the St David’s development site with an indoor arena and beachfront restaurant quarter, Swansea is harnessing all the bay can offer. I am confident that with the right commitment and ambition, Thomas’ love for our long and splendid curving shore will be shared by many and help secure a vibrant future for all.

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Technology & communication Surfing safari

New app that combines surfing and tech was conceived and developed in Swansea

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Surfing Safari It’s no surprise that a new app that combines surfing and tech was conceived and developed in Swansea… What do you get when you mix TechHub, bright young developers, and a surfer with an entrepreneurial spirit? Johnny on the Spot, or JOTS, as it is affectionately known, is re-writing the rules of the app world – taking a tough stance on privacy and requiring a one-off payment of £3.99. The brainchild of surfer and Swansea university English skills lecturer, Ben Martin, JOTS launched in December 2016. Thanks to partnerships with Quiver Surfboard in Cornwall, and Surfers Against

Sewage (SAS), JOTS was floated in front of thousands of surf afficianados. But even before its official launch, the app had attracted users worldwide, keen to harness its power as a resource that helps them track the perfect, or not-so-perfect, surfing conditions. Essentially, it answers the question that a surfer asks after every surf – what conditions came together to make a surf so good (or not)? The potential of the app is huge if it can tap into other outdoor sports markets.

“I’m focussing on surfing at the moment – I want to get that right because that’s what I know,” he explains. Martin, himself a keen surfer, points out that half the enjoyment for a surfer is the planning and preparing before a surf. “There are so many variables – wind, tide, temperature, how much rain etc,” explains Martin. “Surfers tend to check more than one site (most check an average of three or four sites to help them decide when and where they are going to go surfing).


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Surfing Safair

Technology & Communication

of Plymouth, and worked part-time as a research fellow with the Coastal Processes Research Group for seven years. “A legend in the world of surf forecasting,” is how Martin describes him. Butt lives most of the year on the north coast of Spain, and spends the southern winter in Cape Town, South Africa. “He’s incredibly patient – the testing process has taken about two years, with him giving us feedback, and then re-testing it, and the whole way that we present the data is a result of the collaboration with him.”

Getting people to question why things are free…

Shooting the curls – what’s it all about?

“There are lots of surf-related apps, and forecast apps. But instead of being in competition, I see JOTS as an addition to a surfer’s toolkit, mainly because surfers do like to browse lots of websites and apps.”

“Surfers are a funny breed!” says Martin. “We’ve all got our secret spots, we don’t always like to tell other people where we’re going. “There are surf spots that can only hold a certain number of people. The best thing about surfing is when you turn up somewhere really good, with just a few friends, and you have really good waves. So privacy is a really big thing for us. “There are surf apps that focus a lot more on sharing, because they’ve been designed more from a tech point of view – so the fact we approach things from a surfing point of view is a big plus. “We go into more detail than a lot of other surf apps. Most surf apps are forecasts, whereas JOTS charts past conditions, so there’s a slightly different approach to data.” Martin has also managed to bring a surfing legend to the table to put the app through its paces. Surf expert, Tony Butt, has a PhD in Physical Oceanography from the University

What makes JOTS different?

JOTS, says Martin, is a really useful tool for surfers because it carefully diarises the whole smorgasbord of variables that contributed to the conditions they have encountered in a particular surf. So far, the whole project has been developed on a shoestring, with Martin putting in around £3,000 over the course of three years. The competitive advantage of JOTS, says Martin, is the surfer-focussed approach. Estimates for the number of surfers in the world range from 5m to 23m, and Martin veers towards the more modest figure. In terms of the potential market share that JOTS can achieve, he says it’s hard to know. “We tend to have a consistent 10 percent figure in terms of response on most things, so if we could get 10 percent of the market, that would be incredible.


Martin decided to make JOTS a paidfor app, opting for what he considers a reasonable price point – a one-off payment of £3.99 – with 50p of each sale going to SAS. “It’s the price of a pint, or less in some places, and a lot more useful,” he says. “But because it’s an app, and people are used to getting apps for free, it’s hard to know exactly what take-up will be like. “The way apps make money is either by collecting data or adverts, or both. And I didn’t want to do that to people. So we made this decision to have this business model that’s a bit unusual in the app world. “I wanted it to be an honest transaction, old school. We’re not going to keep trying to sell to you, we’re not going to do anything with your data. We’re charging because we’ve got to make our business viable, and this one-off small payment is the way we make it viable. One big thing I want to do with JOTS is make people question why everything’s free. If you start looking into it the answer is actually a bit scary.

Overcoming setbacks along the way

“With a software company there are so many things that are out of your control. We’d get the app ready and IOS would update, and then the features would stop working and we’d have to update everything,” says Martin. “At one point, the company we were using to store our data went bust. Another time our lead developer had to have an operation and couldn’t sit at a desk for three months. “The number of deadlines we’ve set only to have things happen that were out of our control – but you have a choice of how you react to it.

What’s on the horizon?

Martin is keen to partner JOTS with a well-known surf brand or a surfboard company. “I love Patagonia I think they’re a brilliant brand,” he says. “But to reach out to anyone, something I learned from all the time I spent going pitching in the beginning, you really need some solid numbers. Meanwhile, the surfer entrepreneur is keeping perspective on his business adventure in the best way he knows how – by riding the waves off the Gower Peninsula. 105

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Technology & Communication


Expert opinion

Focus on technology to boost your business in 2017

with Adam Curtis, CEO of Hoowla and MD of Clockwork Bear

By Nicola Millard, BT’s Futurologist Anyone willing to stake their reputation on predicting what might happen during 2017 should remember this: a £10 bet on Donald Trump, Brexit and Leicester City winning the Premier League would have returned around £30 million. But I’ve never been one to err on the side of caution. So I’m happy to share some thoughts about where I think business owners across Wales should focus during 2017. With the amount of technology and innovation at our fingertips, small businesses are now able to punch above their weight, particularly online, like never before. At the forefront of this digital revolution is BT’s huge investment in fibre broadband. It’s now reached nearly 90 per cent of homes and businesses across Wales, thanks to the Superfast Cymru programme (a partnership between Welsh Government, UK Government, EU and BT) and BT’s commercial rollout. And as we head into 2017, there’s no better time to share my top tips that will hopefully make the year ahead a successful one for you and your business.

Making it EASY is now the most important thing

BT research shows 62 per cent of people find customer service from all types of businesses exhausting. Nowadays, people want things to be simple. There is less brand loyalty, and convenience is often more important than price. But all our research shows that if you make it easy for customers, they’ll keep coming back to you. But how do you do that? Put simply, make it easy for customers to buy from you, make reporting a problem or asking a question a painless process, and make sure your social media channels are up to the task. Did you know more than 70 per cent of people expect a response from businesses on social media within just 15 minutes? Or that one in three people think Twitter or Facebook are the best ways of interacting when things are urgent? So perhaps 2017 should be the year you review your social media channels and make sure they’re effective and meeting the expectations of your customers. If not, then all that effort you put in to being online could actually be doing more harm than good.

Look after your employees and they’ll look after you

Nearly two-thirds of office workers now say that being able to work flexibly, such as working from home, is more important than having a company car. More than half of us now work in this way, and with such an importance being attached to being able to work on the go, business leaders need to explore if they’re doing enough. Technology is key. Two in three say better communication would really help their organisation succeed. They want to use technology to improve the way they work and BT’s work with fibre broadband helps make that happen. Our research shows the smartphone is key. Sixty nine per cent want screen sharing on their handset, 62 per cent want instant messaging when out and about, and nearly half want to be able to use video chat when away from the office. It’s an interesting concept and one that is constantly developing. But the message is simple. Make sure your workforce has appropriate access to technology and tools required to do their job and they’ll embrace flexible-working.

Video killed the radio star

So crooned the Buggles back in the late 70’s. And it’s fair to say that video has been the ‘next big thing’ for many a year since. As customers, many of the ways we interact with businesses are becoming more automated and remote. So video is seen by many as a way of offering a more personalised experience. It’s more accessible than ever with a combination of smartphones, tablets and PCs with cameras, plus better/ faster/cheaper connectivity means that video services like Skype, Facetime and YouTube have become part of our everyday lives. But chatting to our friends and family is one thing. Would you want to use video talk to speak to a business? Some of our research suggests the answer to this question could well be yes. More than half of people now have the appetite to use video chat when speaking to a business. Of course it’s not perfect in every scenario but the one thing it’s proven to do is build trust. It could well be worth exploring further during 2017 as a way of improving service and developing your relationship with customers.

Start-up nation As someone who grew up in Swansea I think the planned commercial development in West Wales is long over-due and will have many benefits. But will that extend to the tech industry in West Wales and can commercial development help the tech industry? Does an industry where many of its long-term success stories pride their garage start up origins need support via commercial development. Recently cities and governments have put a lot of finance and support into creating buildings/spaces for tech companies. But we are now seeing start ups abandon Tech City in London’s Shoreditch as commercial rents soar. What you want as a tech start up is as cheap running costs as possible and great developers around you. New startups should only care about sales. Worrying about the space you code and sell from is pointless. Existing high profile tech companies use interesting office space to attract employees in a competitive market. South Wales is not that market yet. There isn’t a large middle tier of software developers with lots of companies fighting over them. The industry either hires graduates and keeps them or doesn’t invest in the area and outsources abroad. If local tech companies invest in our graduates and not outsource their software development abroad then we have a bright future. It costs more, but if a company wants to support its community it’s what they should do. That’s why for me what both of Swansea’s universities are doing in commercial development is of most interest to the local tech industry. Dan Senor and Saul Singer, authors of Start-Up Nation, put Israel’s startup success down to the mixing of people from different background, an exchange of ideas and very high tech skills learnt in national servers spilling into the private sector. There is no mention of commercial development being a factor in creating a great tech industry.


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Peugot 3008

3008 a Peugeot space odyssey By Steve Orme

Stop a young person in the street today and tell them that once upon a time to make a telephone call away from home you needed to go into a small box reeking of stale cigarettes with a handful of change and they will immediately be on their smartphone to the police funny strangers hotline The idea that at any point we are not connected to cyberia either to chat, gather news or play games is totally alien. I well remember sitting in a presentation on how the world of newspapers was going to be. People would sit on the bus and access news broadcast across the ether to electronic pages. And so it came to pass that should you get on the right sort of transport two things will happen. It will arrive more or less on time and on your tablet you will be able to reads all the newspapers you desire and enjoy other sites some which may well have people sat around you also ringing police hotlines.

Had Arthur C Clarke had wanted to write a car into his 2001 trilogy this Peugeot SUV would have been it. It is a masterpiece of technical wizardry blended with comfort and style. From the outside lines are sleek and classy although not everyone will seek out the Peugeot signature paintwork option which mates a black rear with coloured forward two thirds. With a price range starting at £21,795 for the 1.2 Pure Tech petrol and rising to £32,995 for the fully luxuriated two-litre Blue HDI auto the 3008 covers all, the trim and equipment bases on the way, at all stages selling itself on a high-tech cabin which the French maker calls its i-Cockpit. The concept features a compact and exceptionally user-friendly flat-topped steering wheel, eight-inch touch screen and 12-inche heads-up instrument unit which can be configured and personalised to each driver.

But here’s the thing, rather than needing to stab about at a screen to select functions there is a keyboard-style array of toggle switches. On a pitch-black moorland route, in a smooth 1.6 auto HDI, the idea worked perfectly well.


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The system can be set up to give two driving modes, Boost and relax and there is even a choice of three cabin fragrances. And the kids will love to know that smart phone sat nav connects through the touch screen. Technical advances continue with distance alert and active safety braking with identifies other vehicles and pedestrian in the road. Smart money is going on the 1.2-litre petrol engine but it was unavailable at launch so patience must remain a virtue. There is a super-quiet 1.6 163bhp petrol which in GT Line spec, the better equipped range-topping GT only comes in two-litre diesel form, has all the kit you could wish for short of leather seats at ÂŁ28,000. There are two diesels, a 1.6 118 or 99bhp and two-litre with either 148 or 178bhp. Around 55mpg is claimed for the petrols and up to 67mpg for the smaller diesel but that leaves you with sluggish 13 seconds to

62mph performance. Quickest are the 1.6 petrol and larger diesel at 8.9 seconds. The more powerful petrol is smooth and refined coming in automatic form only as is the case with the 1.6 diesel. Ride quality is good, even with 19in wheels. Be aware, however, that choosing the not quite 4x4 grip system brings with it all-weather tyres which take away some of refinement. If you get a little enthusiastic bends are stress-free. This may be a work of technical art, it may be swish and have a cockpit to rival the very best but first and foremost it is a family car and so practicality and economy counts. No failings there if you get close to the consumption figures. 3008, Peugeotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very own space odyssey. 117

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No matter what you’re looking for, Sea-Doo now offers a new wide range of performance watercraft for every purpose and budget. From the super fun Spark series, to the specialist Wake Pro and high performance, supercharged RXP-X 300.

1/26/2017 1:15:58 PM

2017 SEA-DOO SPARK TRIXX AN AFFORDABLE PWC THAT FOCUSES ON FREESTYLE FUN What’s missing from today’s personal watercraft market? Arguably a little bit of oldschool fun factor. Sure today’s models carve on the proverbial dime and reach dizzying top speeds, but in the process they’ve lost a little bit of that freewheeling playfulness. Riders used to have fun spinning the craft out into a 180 or power sliding them through a corner. Now, those types of maneuvers are mostly a memory as hulls hook with tenacity and favor precision over playtime. Playfulness, however, is coming back into vogue. Sea-Doo likely started the trend with the GTI, and more recently, the SPARK. But no model has taken playtime to the extreme like the 2017 SPARK TRIXX.


The Spark TRIXX is designed to make freestyle maneuvers easier. Based on a two-passenger SPARK with the 90hp 900 ACE HO engine, the TRIXX is distinguished by a trio of features designed to work together to bring out the

Positions range from a base setting 3” higher than the normal Spark position, to 6” higher fully extended. The final component of the TRIXX system is a set of wedges added at the rear of the footwells. Angled at 60 degrees, the 7.5” x 4.5” blocks give the rider a secure footing when riding bow high, as well as make it easier to position your weight over the stern on the craft. So is the SPARK more fun doing TRIXX? The consensus from most of the press on hand at the brand’s media launch was yes. With handlebars up and trim high, it’s surprisingly easy to pull the craft into a tailstand. With practice, you can hold that position, turn it into a rotating tailspin, or perform tail hops with relative ease. For more aggressive riders, the enhanced leverage and nozzle angle also makes it possible to pull off old-school “nose stabs” or bronco-style leaps out of the water, although beware the return to earth can be a little jarring if you don’t land it just right. With the enhanced nozzle range, I also found it easier than before to spin the craft out into power slides or surface 180s. Keep in mind many of these are tricks few people have ever accomplished on a PWC, let alone a runabout. Sea-Doo envisions family and friends trying to one up each other inventing new moves, and bragging about it on social media to further fuel the TRIXX’s fire.

THE SPARK WITHIN craft’s freestyle potential. Most intriguing is a revamped VTS (Variable Trim System), which now features greater range. In stock form, the SPARK’s VTS trims the nozzle between 7 degrees up and -4.5 degrees down. On the TRIXX, that range increases to 17 degrees in the upward position and -6 degrees in the downward position. That enhanced range upwards effectively powers the bow up into the air with minimal throttle, making tricks like tailstands much easier to perform. A familiar “double-tap” of the VTS trim button on the handlebars allows riders to quickly switch between two pre-programmed positions. Enhancing the potential offered by the greater VTS angles is a new handlebar setup featuring an adjustable aluminum riser. Designed to offer the rider greater leverage over the craft, the bar position can be changed on the fly by opening and closing a bicycle-style skewer located on the front of the handlebar column.

BizLifeFebAds.indd 119

But what about when you get bored by these maneuvers, or like me, just plain tired out after hours of TRIXX play? A standard SPARK still lurks within. I’ll rehash the story for those out of the loop. The SPARK made waves upon its introduction for a low base price ($4,999, now increased to $5,299 for ’17), revolutionary hull and deck construction method (polypropylene with long-strand glass fibers rather than SMC), and, given the weight savings the latter provided, lower horsepower engine. In the TRIXX, that’s the aforementioned 90 hp 900 ACE HO, capable of powering the craft to an average 48 mph top speed. On the TRIXX, as on all HO engines, riders have the option to choose between the gentler acceleration curve provided by Touring mode, or the more aggressive power delivery of Sport mode. Ninety horses may be minimal horsepower given what’s available at the opposite end of the spectrum, but on a small, lightweight craft

such as the SPARK, it’s enough and surprisingly fun. As is the hull, which when not spinning out or tailstanding, can be ridden with relative precision through the corners. Sea-Doo continues to distinguish the SPARK with bold colors and eye-popping graphic kits. The TRIXX combines both, with a black hull, Candy Blue (think teal) accent panels on the deck, and Chili Pepper red seat. Chili Pepper is carried over into graphics on the forward half of the hull, as well as the handle grips (which continue to incorporate the palm rest designed introduced in ’16). Intelligent Brake & Reverse, which gives the craft exceptional forward, neutral and reverse manners around the dock as well as braking power at speed, is also a standard component of the TRIXX package. The primary parts can also be retrofitted to previous SPARK models..


As to shortcomings, one that I immediately noticed was the lack of a standard reboarding step. When learning tricks it’s a given you’ll fall, and a step (available as an option) would make reboarding much easier. I’d also like to see some form of padding forward of the saddle to cushion the inside of the knees and upper calf. Getting tricky can produce the occasional bump and bruise. And like all SPARKs, storage amounts to a small glovebox. If you want more, you’ll need to add the optional 7-gallon forward compartment, and lose a little of that cool, skeletal look.

But overall, I like the the fact that the TRIXX brings back a little fun factor to what have become relatively precision rides. During SeaDoo’s two-day press intro, I never took the TRIXX further than 100 yards from the beach, and probably didn’t go much faster than 10 mph much of the time. That I still had a heck of a lot of fun was probably the TRIXX’s biggest trick of all.

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Networking Recent and upcoming events

Business Life rounds up some of the hottest business events of the season...

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1/27/2017 9:38:20 AM

Advertisement Feature

Ospreys in the Community th achieve 1000 appearance The Ospreys have toasted an “incredible year” after revealing that over 1,000 player community appearances were recorded during 2016. The landmark was smashed during December at the second of two Christmas hospital visits during the month, when the players took time out to meet patients in the children’s ward at Bridgend’s Princess of Wales Hospital. It marks an astonishing increase of more than 33 per cent on the previous year, when just shy of 750 player appearances were recorded throughout 2015. Paul Whapham, Foundation Manager, Ospreys in the Community, hailed the figures of evidence of the impact that the newly registered charity is having, while thanking the rugby department at the Ospreys for the ongoing support afforded to OitC. He said: “Since the launch of Ospreys in the Community at the end of 2015, the growth in our activity has been huge. Ospreys Rugby, with the support of the WRU Community development team in the region, was always extremely active, but having a dedicated team working within the Liberty Stadium has allowed us to take things to a different level again.” “We have been able to increase the number of club visits and appearances that are happening, while we have seen exponential growth in schools activity thanks to the success of our educational programme,

with multiple player visits every week during term time.” “It’s important that, on behalf of Ospreys in the Community, I say thank you to Steve Tandy, the coaches and the players for the incredible support they give us, and the commitment that they share to really make an impact in the community every day. Without that assistance, we couldn’t do what we do.” “2017 promises to be even busier. Our team continues to grow, with four more members of staff joining in 2016 and the team expanding even further next year. We are looking forward to some really exciting developments that, in partnership with the WRU, will create one community plan, continuing to transform our community activation and engagement over the course of the year.” OitC has already created a wide range of strategic partnerships enabling the creation and activation of innovative programmes

that will be contained within four Strategic Themes; Education, Health, Sport, and Inclusion. These partnerships saw OitC engage with 17,000 people in its first year. Although OitC shares a strong relationship with the Ospreys, and forms a key part of the region’s long-term business strategy, it operates on an entirely independent basis to the professional rugby organisation. Working in conjunction with commercial partners, public sector bodies and third sector agencies to generate financial support and resources, the aim of Ospreys in the community is to create a vibrant and sustainable Foundation that utilises the undoubted power of the Ospreys brand, and players, in a positive fashion, to harness social good and make an impact in communities. For any details regarding the Ospreys in the community charity please contact Foundation Manager Paul Whapham on

Ospreys Rugby Sponsors Evening Ospreys Rugby held a sponsors evening in January inviting some of its prestigious commercial sponsors to come and meet the players they sponsor all year round as a thank you for their continued support. At the event was a Q&A with players and rugby management as well as a behind the

BizLifeFebAds.indd 122

scenes tour of the stadium with Alun-Wyn Jones and Rhys Webb. It was a fantastic opportunity for both the sponsors and the players to meet again and continue the excellent relationship between the rugby side of the business and the commercial side.

1/26/2017 10:47:49 PM

What a season to get hospitality OSPREYS RUGBY PRESENTS Wales v Ireland International Day at the Clayton Hotel, Managing director Andrew Millward discussing with key sponsors the season so far

Cardiff Friday March 10th KO 8:05pm The unique experience includes Return transport from Swansea to Cardiff Event starts 6:00pm with Pre-match 3 course meal Q&A with Ospreys legends All-inclusive drinks and Post-match nibbles

For season long membership costs please contact the hospitality team on 01792 616488 or email Come share a coffee and check out what we offer Our OSTCfx Suite offers you the perfect surroundings to watch a game at the Liberty Stadium. The Ospreys still have a fantastic selection of games before the season ďŹ nishes including a European knock out Quarter Final at the Liberty Stadium so why not come and see what is on offer? Get in touch and perhaps drop by for a coffee simply just to see what is on offer. Give us a call on 01792 616488 or email to book your spot.

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1/26/2017 10:48:00 PM

Networking Hutchinson Thomas

Hutchinson Thomas launch party Tell me more: Hutchinson Thomasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; launch party of their new office in SA1 hosted at La Parillia


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1/26/2017 1:17:01 PM

Networking Swansea Business Club

Swansea Business Club - Burns Night Tell me more: Swansea Business Club, Burns Night dinner at the Marriott Hotel, Swansea. Principality CEO, Greame Yorston and President, Hayley Davies


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                                    


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Networking Swansea Bay Business Club

Swansea Bay Business Club Tell me more: Swansea Bay Business Clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Christmas lunch with speaker Connie Fisher and pictures with president Hayley Davies.


Page 130 SWBC.indd 1

1/27/2017 10:23:54 AM

The pursuit of hoppiness... To those of you new to Tomos Watkin, let us introduce ‘The Great Ales of Wales’. Within our range of beers there is something for everyone. From the user friendly session bitter ‘Cwrw Braf’, to the sophisticated premium ‘OSB’, to the refreshingly light and popular ‘Cwrw Haf’. All traditionally brewed beers crafted using the finest raw materials. Whatever your choice, we hope you derive as much pleasure and satisfaction from drinking your beer as we do brewing it – we currently have over fifty awards to our name (including the prestigeous World Beer Champiionship in Chicago) for the quality of our beers and the outstanding performance of our people. Tomos Watkin is the brand name of our range of multi-award winning beers, distributed by the Hurns Beer Company. We supply pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafés and cash and carry’s with all national and international wines, beers, spirits and soft drinks. Our sales team have in-depth knowledge and experience of all aspects of the licensed trade. They can help you to grow your business and maximise your profits by installing innovative craft and world beers. Our bespoke service is available to you 7 days a week, every week so please call us and we would be delighted to discuss your needs. In addition to supplying our own products, we also offer bottling and canning services – including custom label personalisation – for individuals looking to mark a special occasion or to micro-breweries looking to add a professional edge to their business.

The Tomos Watkin Brewery event space Our unique and distinctive function venue The Tomos Watkin Brewery is the perfect venue for both corporate and private parties. Our celebration space is a fully-functioning live brewery by day, making it the unique alternative for a party-with-a-difference by night. � Comfortably catering for any number between 50 and 500 guests � We are literally wall-to-wall with Tomos Watkins ales, making us perfectly placed for pre or post match celebrations � By personalising our products to your event, we make special anniversaries, Christmas parties or formal functions a truly special experience.


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1/27/2017 11:06:21 AM

Networking ABGlass

AB Glass Tell me more: A dinner dance organized by Swansea-based architectural aluminium manufacturing and installation company AB Glass held at the Liberty Stadium. The company celebrated 25 years in business.


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1/27/2017 10:25:30 AM

Networking Wales Exporters Association

Wales Exporters Association breakfast meeting Tell me more: Wales Exporters Association breakfast meeting held at Towers Hotel, Swansea. Guest speaker: Embassy of the United States of America Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs Senior Commercial Officer John E. Simmons (right) with Kash Global Managing Director Malek Kashkara (left) and Steve Smith of Handelsbanken (centre).


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1/27/2017 10:26:27 AM

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Networking US Embassy visit

Expert opinion with Tommy Davies

Visit of the Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs based at the US Embassy to Swansea

“We are living through a very uncertain and peculiar times,” was how John Simmons, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs based at the US Embassy in London, described the current political and resultant trade situation globally. Mr Simmons was speaking at a well-attended event held by the Wales Exporters Association at the Towers Hotel on Friday January 20 – the same day as the inauguration of US President Donald Trump. He stressed that the presidency of Trump brings great uncertainty partly because of his rhetoric around potentially scrapping free trade agreements globally. He also said that Brexit is causing great uncertainty, especially because of just how intertwined the UK and EU economies now are after 40 years or free trade. After welcoming remarks by Steve Smith, Chairman Wales Exporters Association in which he noted that some 40 per cent of foreign investment in Wales is from the US, supporting some 50,000 jobs, Mr Simmons began his presentation by giving some statistics himself on the relationship between the US and the UK. He noted 7,000 US companies operating in the UK either directly or through subsidiaries. Tourism represents a significant market and it is estimated that five million US residents visit the UK each year and at any one time there are approximately 11,000 US citizens here. Equally, about four million visitors go the USA each year mainly to New York, California and Las Vegas. In terms of travel he noted that they have implemented measures to make it easier for UK citizens to travel freely to the US, so avoiding the immigration delays at airports. In terms of business, Mr Simmons talked about three issues that are causing uncertainty in the USA. Brexit was the first and Mr Simmons described how he was in Washington when the news of the UK Referendum result was received and the general feeling was one of shock. There is no doubt that a trade deal with the UK would be welcomed, but he cautioned that this could not happen until after the UK’s future trading arrangements with Europe were finalised. Allied to the Brexit decision, he noted that there are serious concerns in the USA regarding the implications for Europe and whether other countries will follow suit. He noted that the key problem for business arising from both of the above, concerns the regulatory regime. He also stressed that many US companies choose to be based in the UK because it is a gateway to Europe and it is only as the Brexit negotiations proceed that the implications for them and the decisions they may make will become clear. Finally, he admitted that the inauguration of President Donald Trump, especially after the rhetoric which has caused division and uncertainty amongst the American people, is also a cause of great uncertainty. Mr Simmons said it will only be in the coming weeks after the inauguration that we will see exactly where President Trumps’ priorities lie. On a positive note, he suggested that the Senate confirmation hearings perhaps give a direction of travel. But whilst this is a time of uncertainty, overall, Simmons was upbeat for the future relationship between the USA and the UK and the opportunities for trade.

In defence of Donald Trump I was raised to be patriotic. Growing up in the Swansea Valley, the curtains were closed when Wales played England. And they stayed shut if we lost. Even the dogs stayed in their beds such was the mood of my father in the aftermath of such a catastrophe. I fought back the tears and chocked when I first sang the anthem at the old Cardiff Arms Park – in the midst of the old terraced stand where the ‘water’ meant for the toilet ran beneath our feet and the drunks were kept upright only by the crush of the bodies, all seemingly youth teams from the valleys who would never make it home that night. I smile when I see the Croeso i Gymru sign after the Severn Bridge and grimace going the other way. I know all the words to at least six Tom Jones songs, own every Stereophonics album; I am proud of the Brecon Beacons and our beaches and I support anyone Welsh doing well on the world stage – from the Olympics to a Friday night quiz show to The X Factor. No matter what you achieve or how far away from Wales you go, that stuff never leaves you. It defines me and my outlook on life – whether I like it or not. Now I am in business, I express my patriotism in other ways – infinitely more tangible. I try to keep my companies and business interests in Wales and use local suppliers where I can. I am biased towards Welsh staff – the prettier the better! I buy Welsh lamb even when it is more expensive than New Zealand (bunch of cheats anyway!) I am cynical about the Welsh Government – but then I am sceptical about all politicians and civil servants, reserving almost equal distain for both sets of spongers. But I do back Wales having a certain level of control distinct from England. As useless as our politicians are, at least they will make decisions based on the dynamics of where my friends and

family live – as opposed to those living in London. Wales First – how would that slogan go down in Wales, I wonder? Take the debate around the Welsh language – long the Achilles heel of any ‘party for Wales’ in my opinion – out the equation and simply appeal to people based on their sense of core identity and patriotism, whatever that means. I wonder what response you might get. Now with all that in mind, consider Donald Trump. If you can ignore the sexism, misogyny and inconsistencies – as millions of Americans clearly have – what you are actually left with is actually described above but, instead of for little old Wales, for the superpower America. His key message is that he will put America first and to hell with the consequences. People voted for him because they wanted that and – as strange as that may seem to many – that was more important to them than anything else. I feel the need to write this not because I like or agree with Donald Trump but because he is now the most powerful man on the planet and it is worth understanding him and those who put him in power. If the Russians do have compromising material on him, and it emerges, it will end his tenure as President early (remember where you read it first!) I just hope that before that happens he does not do too much damage to international relations. There is a difference between putting America first and putting people offside along the way. But even if Trump is dethroned, the national feeling and discontent that gave him power will not. It is worth understanding that it is the same sentiment that drove the UK to leave the European Union and could well be the defining force of the world for years to come.

Tommy Davies, born in mid-Cwmtwrch in the Swansea Valley, is one of the region’s most successful entrepreneurs with businesses in telecoms, marketing and heavy industry.


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Diary Networking

Swansea Bay Business Club’s upcoming events...

Dates for your diary February/March 2017... Calendar highlights...

St David’s Day Lunch Location: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli With: Scott Quinnel, former Wales International rugby league and union player When: Wednesday, March 1 Time: 12.15pm arrival, 1 pm for lunch Member tickets: £40 Non-member tickets: £45.50

Women’s Networking Event April Lunch Location: Village Hotel, Swansea With: Sarah Powell, CEO of Sport Wales When: Friday, April 28 Time: 12.15pm arrival, 1pm for lunch

Date: Monday, February 6 Time: 10am to 11.30am Venue: Tino’s, Wind Street, Swansea What: Networking morning organised by ‘South Wales Networking for Women’ group. Meet up with the other ladies in this group, and learn about their businesses.Very informal, friendly and chatty meeting.

Member tickets: £25

More information: groups/SouthWalesNetworkingForWo

Non-member tickets: £30.50

Strategic HR planning

Date: Wednesday, February 8 Time: 5.45pm to 8pm Venue: University of Wales Trinity St David What: The CIPD have brought together expert panellists and winners of the 2015 branch awards will share how they have successfully designed and implemented a strategic appropach to HR initiatives in partnership with the workforce. For more information, visit: www.swanseabay

Swansea Bay Business Awards 2017

Date: Friday, March 3 Time: 6.45pm Venue: Brangwyn Hall, Swansea What: A celebration of the greatest business successes in the Swansea Bay region. Run by Swansea Bay Business Life and its sister newspaper the South Wales Evening Post in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers, the awards recognise top firms and individuals in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.

Enabling a flexible workforce Date: Tuesday, March 7 Time: 5.45pm to 8pm Venue: St Clears (TBC)

What: Drawing on examples of excellent practice in the workplace, the CIPD panel of experts will discuss how to achieve and embed flexible working, the challenges and benefits of using flexible workers, and the legal perspective. The event is supported by Hugh James solicitors. 137

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