The North Wales Policy Conference took place in Pontio, Bangor on 12 July. It was hosted by BBC presenter Sian Lloyd (pictured with FSB South Wales Chairman Janet Jones and Ben Cottam, FSB Head of External Affairs, Wales) and attended by business owners, the self-employed and academics in order to discuss some of the biggest issues of the day.
The themes of the event were:
Fair work and employability – The conference heard about the Welsh Government's new "fair work" agenda and how this will affect small firms, HMP Berwyn's approach to rehabilitation of offenders and listened to an inspiring case study from Prince's Trust Enterprise Programme which supports and funds young people to explore their ideas and start their own businesses.
North Wales Growth Deal and what this means for North West Wales – This included an update on the Growth Deal from Iwan Trefor Jones of North Wales Economic Ambition Board, from Sasha Davies (Horizon Nuclear Power and Chair of the North Wales Regional Skills Partnership), on delivering the skills needed to support regional economic growth and learned from expanding local business, Dylan's, about its view of how business growth in North Wales can be supported.
Innovation and the "missing middle"- why is there a lack of medium sized firms in Wales, and what does that mean for the Welsh economy? Does this "missing middle" impact on the development of new products? The conference heard from from Bangor University's innovation and product design champions and got an update on what MSparc - the Menai Science Park - will be doing to support business growth.
Gwyn Evans, North Wales Chair, said; “It was a pleasure to bring together some of the best business minds in North Wales for the policy conference. It was clear that by discussing the big issues of the day, we can continue to plan for a successful and thriving SME economy in North Wales.”