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.