Friday, July 30, 2010


“As the world emerges from recession, successful exporting companies will be even more important for economic prosperity. Globalisation means our competitors are just as likely to be across the ocean as down the road, so international focus is vital.”

So that is why you have abolished International Business Wales which, at a cost of £10.5 million in 2009-2010, has created or safeguarded around 7,500 jobs this year.

Let us also not forget IBW has helped hundreds of Welsh companies with their exporting activities during the last twelve months - a business support activity which will now be abolished for companies across Wales.

International focus is important to WAG - what do you think?

Update: read the following extract from a comment that has just been posted:

Thanks for setting up this blog, I’ve been reading it every day for the last week and been passing on the link to officers in WAG, clients of mine and other business professionals. 
It should be noted that the success of IBW had been largely helped by the grant scheme that was on offer to clients; consequently, the Invest Wales Team (WAGs grant dept) should also get a lot of the credit for the job creation. 
Let’s face it; a substantial grant to help with set up costs; job creation is a considerable inducement to potential inward investors. 
This week an associate of mine went up to an FS4B (I thought it had been scrapped) event, and apparently the presenters had asked for some briefing from WAG on the proposed changes, but no-one was able to supply anything. It would be a safe bet to suggest that they (whoever they are) are still trying to make it up! 
Repayable grants were introduced in 2006 on a selective basis, and were usually targeted at companies that forecasted high profits and cash flow. I understand, to date, none of these repayable grants have been collected, therefore, the success or failure of repayable grants can’t be measured, so what basis can it now form as policy for all offers of grant.
It seems shameful that WAG officials fought tooth and nail for Assisted Area Status (and Wales still has another 2 years to benefit from it) for IWJ to flush it down the toilet.
And which companies said businesses don’t need grants!! Doh!!  Do you want a grant? No, I’d rather have a loan, please ! It’s intellectually incoherent!!!!
My understanding is that the local authorities have been asking to up the level of grant assistance (currently £5k) for the Local Enterprise Fund (grant for small businesses) to help fill the void, but WAG said ‘No!’…. another own goal.
I’m told Scotland is keeping its grant scheme for the time being, but don’t panic we can offer broadband, so if you want set up your business in Newcastle Emlyn you can yippeee ………well ok not now but at some point, booo!.

The sentiment is well made - I had a telephone conversation this morning with someone who was hugely instrumental in bringing in Admiral to Cardiff. He believes, like many others, that to abolish support to business in Wales at a time when we are trying to emerge out of recession is utter madness.

Keep the comments coming in. In particular, I would be grateful for ideas on how we get WAG to reconsider this madness before it starts to really affect the Welsh economy.