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Written Statement - Setting up a Task and Finish Group to provide strategic guidance for the Minister to develop a Micro-Business Strategy for Wales

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Edwina Hart, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science

I am advising Assembly Members that I have set up a Micro-Business Task and Finish Group, under the Chairmanship of Robert Lloyd-Griffiths, Director Wales, Institute of Directors. 

The purpose of the Task and Finish group is to provide me with advice and recommendations on the development and implementation of a Micro-Business Strategy for Wales.  For the purpose of this review and strategy development micro-businesses are defined as those that employ between one and nine persons.

The role of the Task and Finish Group is to:

  • Identify evidence for micro-business support in Wales drawing on evidence, best practice and evaluations available;
  • Identify and establish benchmarks;
  • Identify cost effective options for Government delivery and support for micro-businesses;
  • Provide strategic direction to the work of developing a Strategy; 
  • Provide guidance on the future role of the Regional Centre Service; and
  • Promote the Strategy to the business sector.

The aims and objectives are:

  • To develop a Micro-Business Strategy for Wales;
  • To understand the needs and requirements of micro-businesses;
  • To understand how we can help create the conditions for micro-businesses to operate;
  • To define where active public intervention is required for providing micro businesses with the support necessary to assist growth and sustainability;
  • To review the support for micro-businesses including the Regional Centre Service and consider cost effective options for future Government supported delivery;
  • To define how the Welsh Government and stakeholders can develop the micro-business sector in Wales;
  • To provide guidance and expertise in the drafting of the Strategy; and
  • Develop a set of criteria to monitor and evaluation framework for the Strategy.

I am delighted that Robert Lloyd Griffiths has agreed to Chair this key Task and Finish Group.  Robert brings a wealth of experience from a long career in marketing and communications as director at Wales law firm Leo Abse & Cohen and with marketing agency Golley Slater and more recently as Director Wales, Institute of Directors.

The full membership of the Task and Finish Group is set out below.

As part of its deliberations the Group will hear and gather evidence from key individuals and organisations.  Much of this work will take place during autumn.  The Micro-Business Task and Finish Group starts work this month.  I anticipate receiving the Group’s draft report before the end of December 2011.

Task and Finish Group Membership

Chair

Robert Lloyd Griffiths, Director – Wales, Institute of Directors

Robert Lloyd Griffiths was born in Cardiff in 1965 and has been the Institute of Directors Wales director for just over 2 years. Before that he spent six years as marketing and communications director at Wales law firm Leo Abse & Cohen and spent more than 15 years with communications and marketing agency Golley Slater. He has a degree in banking and finance from UWIST (University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology) – now Cardiff Business School, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and has lectured in marketing communications for the Diploma in Marketing. He is a professional advisor with a number of organisations offering strategic advice and support. He is active in several charitable organisations. He is also the Wales Autism Employment Ambassador raising awareness of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the workplace.

Members

Sue Balsom, Francis Balsom Associates

Sue Balsom is founder and Managing Director of her own successful, bilingual Communications, Design and Publishing business founded in 1989.  A former teacher, university careers adviser and journalist, she lives in Aberystwyth and has learnt Welsh.

Sue was a member of the TV-AM regional board until 1992 and Vice-Chair of the BBC’s Broadcasting Council for Wales 1996-2002. From 2003 to 2010 she represented Wales on the Content Board of the UK media + telecommunications regulator OFCOM.

She has also served on the Board of Welsh Development Agency, Finance Wales and chaired the Prince’s Trust Cymru where she raised several million to support the Trust's business start up programme for disadvantaged youngsters in Wales.

Sue is a Trustee at the Centre for Alternative Technology, a board member of Artes Mundi the international art prize and non executive director of the community interest Cambrian Mountains company. 

Jacquie Williams, SCS Aftercare 

SCS Aftercare is a specialist provider of the service, maintenance, refurbishment and replacement of smoke ventilation systems.  Their portfolio of clients includes Morrisons Supermarkets, IKEA, Mitie, GE, Debenhams, colleges, Property Management Companies and numerous Residents Associations. Jacquie Williams is the owner and MD of the business. 

This year (2011) the business has been recognised as a Fast Growth 50 business due to a turnover increase of 80% over the last 3 years from £240,000 to £505,000, growth this year is predicted to be a further 30% increase on last year.  Outside of the business she is the founder of Welsh Women Walking a group that encourages women to hill walk for Wellbeing.

Janet Jones, Federation of Small Business

Janet Jones is the Welsh Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.  With some 10,000 members, the FSB is Wales’ largest business organisation drawing its membership from every sector of the Welsh economy.  The FSB exists to promote and protect the interests of all who own and/or operate their own business.
Janet is married and helps run the family farming business along with her husband and two of her three sons.  She has been an active member of the FSB since 1998 and is in her fifth year as Welsh Chair. She has represented and spoken at the Welsh Party Political Conferences and much of her time is spent promoting the needs of SMEs and ensuring the voice of business is heard.

Robert Chapman, Robert Chapman and Company

With twenty six years post qualification experience as a Chartered Surveyor, initially Robert worked as a Land Agent for Smith-Woolley, Strutt & Parker, The Severn Trent Water Authority, Powys County Council and The National Trust.  Over the last twenty one years he has immersed himself in the commercial property arena working for the WDA (Welsh Development Agency), Grimley International (now GVA Grimley) and Stephenson & Alexander before establishing his own niche practice 10 years ago.

Peter Denton, Williams Denton Cyf

After training as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Leicester, he worked in practice for several years and was admitted to the Chartered Institute of Taxation in 1980.  He then spent two years lecturing at Caer Rhun Hall, North Wales. He joined H Cecil Williams in Bangor on 1 October 1983.  Since then the practice has opened a second office in Llandudno and has grown to include 5 Directors and 31 staff between the two offices.  He was honoured to be appointed the first president of ACCA North Wales and has served on the ACCA Wales steering committee for 6 years.  Last year he was elected As Wales Representative on the International Assembly of ACCA and has joined the ACCA small practitioners panel.  He has recently been co-opted onto the ICAEW International Auditing Standards Implementation Panel.

Allan Lloyd, Treasure, Mumbles

Allan Lloyd is the owner of Treasure, a family owned small specialist department store specialising in unusual merchandise. The store was an original idea of the present owners Allan and Pat Lloyd in 1969. Both were comprehensive school teachers but wanted a greater challenge.
Treasure is now in its 41st year of non stop trading by developing retail merchandise for the discerning including a self serve restaurant whose excellent reputation for good quality foods prepared and cooked on the premises attracts customers from a wide area.

Allan is also a Board member/shareholder of Cadwaladers Ice Cream, is MD of Camedee Properties Limited; and manages a 50 strong Suckler Herd of Pedigree Welsh Black Cattle on the Gower Coast. 

David Russ, South Wales Chamber of Commerce

David Russ has spent the last 14 years as the dynamic Managing Director of the Newport and Gwent Chamber of Commerce Enterprise and Industry, the parent company of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce and the Centre for Business, and over 25 years of business support in Wales. David has been extremely successful in identifying Market and Human Resource opportunities to meet customer needs, operating at board and senior level within multi–national and indigenous businesses.

David represented Wales Enterprise on the Entrepreneurship Action Steering Group and was the author of the Business Birth Rate Strategy and Entrepreneurship in Growth Business.  David has considerable experience in developing entrepreneurs and the development of programmes to ensure their long-term survival.

Previous roles include Business Development Director for the West of England Development Agency and 10 years with the Welsh Development Agency as International Director and Regional Director.