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Wales Technology Seed Fund: Finance Wales answers entrepreneurs’ questions

If you’re a tech start-up or entrepreneur you’ll know it’s essential to secure seed and early growth funding to get your business idea off the ground. There are lots of options out there from crowdfunders, to banks, to venture capital firms. However it can be difficult to secure that initial investment – especially as many science and technology companies are seen as high risk.

That’s why the Welsh Government launched the Wales Technology Seed Fund in2014. Managed by Finance Wales the £7.5 million fund works with early growth companies based in, or willing to move to, Wales. They’ve recently celebrated investing £3 million across 21 companies – leveraging £3 million in co-investment.

The Entrepreneur Wales Awards recently put start-up’s questions to the fund’s manager – Dr Melanie Goward. Watch what she had to say about getting investment from the fund in the video below.



Turn Lights On at Venturefest for a third year running

Turn Lights On has hosted a stage at Venturefest for three years running now. Venturefest is about inspiring and educating business owners along with connecting investors with entrepreneurs, and we are thrilled for this to be our third year of hosting the Turn Lights On stage.

The event has an energy and vibrancy about it as people are there to learn, grow and connect. With an agenda like that the atmosphere is electric, I spend the day smiling and being constantly inspired, returning back to my own business with a mountain of ideas and the sense of me not being on my own.

So what happens on The Turn Lights On stage?

This year we are inviting entrepreneurs to talk about how they have overcome barriers in their business and how did they coped. Having your own business is painful sometimes and it’s so important for people to share how they deal with celebration, the pressure, highs and the lows.  It’s important to share all what comes with business it’s not all about the balance sheets and strategy. Having something that requires so much of your energy and passion is personal thing and it will affect your relationships and your confidence. Emotional intelligence and understanding yourself makes the ride far less painful so this is our main mission for this stage to help you to be emotionally ready and armed for your business.

What you can expect?

Hearing how it really is from the people that live and breathe it. This stage is not filled with good intentioned experts, this is from entrepreneurs that have experienced first-hand on how to deal with the barriers that will happen in growing your business. I know from first-hand experience your network is critical to your success as we do have a tendency to think that we are the only people going through challenges at the time. There is nothing better than hearing from someone in your position say “I know how you feel and it happened to me and I did this!”

There will be a lively question and answers session so if you have any current challenge you can share what is on your mind and one of the entrepreneurs could support you to finding your answer. The talks start from 9.30 until 1.30 28th  September.

To end I thought I would share with you Warren’s blog about all the things he has learnt on his journey of being a successful entrepreneur and how hard it is at times.  We have been lucky to have Warren speak on the Turn Lights On stage for all the years we have been there and this year he is my first speaker at 9.45am. Come and see him as he is a fantastic speaker that leaves you inspired and informed!

Georgina Jones  will host the live ‘Turn Lights On’ sessions at Venturefest Wales. 


Ashley Cooper (Colour) 1

Creating a National Imperative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Ashley Cooper is Chair of Venturefest Wales 2016 and Director of Catalyst Growth Partners.

In 2015, supported by the then Economy Minister Edwina Hart, Wales enrolled on the internationally accredited Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP). REAP is a capstone global initiative at MIT, designed to help regions accelerate economic growth and job creation through innovation-driven entrepreneurship (IDE). Partner regions form multi-disciplinary teams commit to a two-year learning engagement with MIT. During this engagement, teams work with world-renowned MIT faculty and the broader REAP community through a series of action-learning activities to build and implement a custom regional strategy for enhancing their IDE ecosystems.

The program admits 8-10 partner regions annually to participate in the two-year engagement, with a typical REAP region usually having a population of 3-10 million people. Each partner region has a team comprised of 5-7 highly driven and influential local members and is headed by a regional champion. All five major stakeholder groups are represented in the REAP TEAM: government, corporate, academia, risk capital, and the entrepreneurial community.

As an active member of the TEAM Wales MIT REAP panel and Chair of Venturefest Wales 2016, Ashley Cooper has been working with the Venturefest Wales Advisory Board to design a program for this year’s event which truly brings together the 5 key stakeholder groups in Wales:

  • Government will be represented by multiple elements of Business Wales, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Accelerated Growth, Innovation Point, Innovate UK and more
  • Corporate will be represented by multiple speakers, sponsors and participants from an array of Anchor Companies & Regionally Important Companies (RICs) and ESTNet members
  • Welsh Universities are represented by both our Board members and as exhibitors
  • Our Risk Capital community is represented better than ever before by three fantastic funding panels and keynote addresses from some of the most successful Welsh founders and Welsh businesses
  • Entrepreneurs will be present in numbers from Big Ideas Wales young start-ups, Accelerated Growth Programme businesses, the start-up village, ESTNet members and SMEs as a whole.

If you truly want to experience a unique environment of all five key elements of the Welsh Eco-System coming together in volume, then register for your free ticket to Venturefest Wales 2016.