Big Ideas Blog

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Idea Creation and Development


It’s February and we’ve got a brand new blog for you! This month we are looking at idea creation and developing those ideas into businesses. Whether you are working on one idea, or if you’ve got a few options floating around in your head, we hope we’ve captured some useful information for you here.


Let’s look at where the ideas can come from first. If you know that you want to run your own business but don’t have an idea yet, it can seem difficult to know where to start. It doesn’t necessarily have to come from a ‘eureka’ moment or be something completely new. It could be an idea that improves the use of something that already exists. It is important that you are passionate about your idea as you will be spending a lot of time on it. We have some great Top Tips about idea creation and business start-ups from our Role Models over on our Instagram account, so why not go take a look?

Here are a few questions that could help you come up with your ideas:

  • What kind of work suits you?

  • What are you interested in?

  • Have you got a hobby that could be profitable?

  • Do you have a skill (or could you learn a new one) that is in demand?

  • Have you spotted an opportunity that you could make the most of?

  • Are there any hurdles that you need to overcome?

  • Can you solve a problem with your idea?


It is important to remember that your idea needs a Unique Selling Point (USP). Why will people choose to use you over someone else? Once you have all this worked out, why not come up with an elevator pitch? This way you can test it out and see how they react. Remember to take note of what Callum Griffiths said at Bootcamp – ‘your mum isn’t a valid test market.’ You can see more of what he had to say in the Bootcamp 2018 and November Blogs.


So you have an idea but you’re not sure what to do with it, or how to explain it? There’s an online platform that can help guide you through your idea creation and development. It’s called Simply Do, and if you register on our website, you get a free user account. We’re going to show you round the Simply Do Ideas platform and you how it can help.


When you login, which was quick and easy for us, you are taken to the homepage which is where you can add a new idea and access your previous ideas to add to them. Like many entrepreneurial brains out there, you probably have more than one idea, so this is perfect if you want to sort your thoughts out into an easy to view format! In adding a new idea, the page then splits up into the core elements that will help you focus your idea; concept, customers, competitors, compatibility, contents and cash. These are the areas that you need to fill in regarding your idea. You can add images and videos too which might help support your plan. (Check out our next blog in March which will be all about Business Planning!) Take your time; you are able to save your progress, re-caffeinate and come back to your ideas at a later date.



After you have documented your idea and you’re happy with your progress, you can exit the ‘edit mode’ to see your thoughts as a whole. You then have the option to export it as a PDF so you can save and keep it as a document, share it with your friends, family, business advisor or role model. Simply Do Ideas can also turn your idea into a presentation – we know that previous young entrepreneurs have found this useful when apply for competitions through their college, university or for Big Ideas Celebrated. This could also be really helpful when you start thinking about the elevator pitch that we mentioned earlier!


Not quite got your idea yet? Last month’s blog was all about inspiration so why not have a browse through that one too? If you want any more information and support, you can chat to us on our socials @BigIdeasWales – we’re on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Like to read? Then why not check out our website and the wider Business Wales site for more real life stories, updates and events. You can also call the Business Wales Helpline on 03000603000, they’re a friendly bunch!




Get Inspired

First of all, the Big Ideas Wales team want to wish you all a Happy New Year. Have you got any plans for 2019? This month, we want to try and help you get inspired. You never know, you may end up starting your own business this year!


Did you know that 12.9% of the workforce in Wales is self employed (FSB, 2017) so why not join them? If you’ve got a great idea, then there’s no reason why you can’t make it happen. If you’re still unsure what an entrepreneur is, then get inspired by having a look at this video.



Have you had a look at Big Ideas: Featured? This is where we publish real life success stories from young entrepreneurs just like you. They have set up and are running businesses across all sorts of sectors. Elin Evans has started a real leather bag and accessory making business. Mollie Watkins has launched her own false eyelash business and the likes of Gemma Collins from TOWIE have tried them out. Will Brooks and Imogen Wright have started an ethical candle making business. Joe Charman set up his own flight simulation software business while studying at university and now has over 3000 customers worldwide. These are just a few examples and you could be the next name we see up there. If you’ve got an idea that you want to run with then go for it.


Our Role Models run workshops in schools, colleges, universities and community groups across Wales. They want help you consider entrepreneurship as an option for your future by telling their own personal start up story, often challenging those stereotypical ideas of business owners. If this is something that sounds interesting to you, then you can get in touch with us. If you don’t want to, why not get your teacher/tutor/youth leader to contact us here! You can have a browse through the Role Models in your area here and see who inspires you.


Big Ideas Celebrated is coming up in March and we want to see you there! It is a day for you to get inspired about entrepreneurship and we really don’t mind if you are considering being your own boss one day or you’re just not sure yet. Celebrated is an opportunity for you to discover the potential within you, learn how to express yourself and be confident in your ideas. You can find out more about Celebrated and how to secure your place here.


If starting your own business isn’t for you then why not take this workforce of the future quiz (from PWC)? All you have to do is select a statement that you most agree with for the seven questions. You’ll then get a short report about which world of work you might belong in and what it may look like. It could help to inspire you into thinking what sort of career you want where you can still apply entrepreneurial skill. You can still benefit from thinking like an entrepreneur whilst working for someone else, creating opportunities for the business and yourself.  


If you want any more information and support you can browse our website, check out the Business Wales site or call the Business Wales Helpline on 03000603000. Remember to like, follow and tweet us @bigideaswales on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Message us on there and one of the team will get in touch!


Looking after yourself, Self Reflection


It’s December already which means the countdown to Christmas and the New Year has started. Big Ideas is thinking about self reflection this month, looking at how far we have come and what we still want to achieve. Self reflection is seen to play a huge part in someone’s success so why aren’t we making the most of it? 


Whilst at Bootcamp, we got the opportunity to listen into a Q&A with some previous Bootcampers. One of those was Siwan Reynolds who started up a business called Cardiff Meditation, based around the idea of using meditation in school and the workplace. Meditation was something that Siwan discovered in university whilst trying to find an alternative way to combat her epilepsy. She fell in love with it and wanted to deliver that service to other people. As part of her presentation and answers in the session she talked about the importance of having a positive energy with what ever you are doing. The energy that you put across says more than your CV or business card ever could.

It is who you are that someone will remember; people buy into a personality, not what a piece of paper says about you.

When you think about it, it makes sense really doesn’t it?

Siwan also mentioned the importance of looking after yourself because if you are at your best then your school work, business idea or whatever you are doing will be the best that it can be too. We should all learn to ‘be our own cheerleader’ as it is so easy to knock ourselves down for something that didn’t go as well as planned. In doing this you can discover your own self worth. This can really help in your business ideas. In knowing your self worth, you may find it easier to price your product or service and may also stop people from taking advantage what your business offers.


As much as none of us like to think about our strengths and weaknesses, it helps to develop our skills and to consider whether our ways of doing something are the most effective. Self reflection is important for whatever you are doing and thinking about our strengths and weaknesses can help. It can all seem a bit awkward or embarrassing at first as no one likes to think about what they’re good at and we all seem great at picking out the things we’re not so good at. It is important to question yourself in a positive way. Why not consider the following:

  • ·         What are my strengths?

  • ·         What are my weaknesses?

  • ·         Is there a problem that may be having an affect on me?

  • ·         What have I achieved this year?

  • ·         Why am I doing this?

  • ·         What do I want to achieve in the upcoming year?

  • ·         Do I have an end goal?

  • ·         What am I happy about?

  • ·         What is it that really makes me happy?

  • ·         Are there any things that are making me unhappy?

  •      Is there anything that I can do to improve in these areas?

In In just thinking about these questions, you are giving yourself the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and failures but also consider what needs to be your priority right now and what can be done at another time. Mistakes are a normal part of any process. We all makes them. You only have to take a look at our Role Model profiles to see that they’re part of starting a business too. We all need to take a step back sometimes to just think about ourselves and where we are at.


This is not to say that your business or school work, or anything for that matter will work straight away if you reflect on yourself and what you’re doing. Success comes with hard work too and that takes time, energy and effort. Self reflection should just come as another skill that adds to your success.


If you want any more information and support you can browse our website, check out the Business Wales site or call the Business Wales Helpline on 03000603000. Remember to like, follow and tweet us @bigideaswales on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Message us on there and one of the team will get in touch!



Bootcamp - The Summit Centre, November 2018

We all enjoyed another jam packed Bootcamp weekend full of business workshops and networking. 46 bootcampers joined us at the Summit Centre, Treharris in November 2018, all with the aim to network and develop their business from the advice and support available.




After we had all checked in, there was an induction from the Summit Centre staff who gave us some great advice before the weekend had even started – ‘it’s not about getting to the top of the wall, it’s about trying your hardest.’

George Savva led us through an icebreaker and gave us the opportunity to get to know one another. After that Stifyn Parri gave us some time to set some goals for the weekend.

Chris James from CIOTEK led a workshop on exploring our personality, how our different personalities fit within a team and how we can then play to our own strengths and left us with some valuable advice – ‘Self awareness is key to being a successful entrepreneur.’ We were then joined by Carmel Barry who led the Business Basics workshop. 

After dinner, previous bootcampers led a session, talking about their success stories, how far they have come since Bootcamp, what they got from the weekend and then we had the chance to ask them questions. This was one of the highlights of the weekend for many of us as we felt that we could really relate to them. It was a great way to end DAY1.



Day 2 started with a workshop led by Kath Penaluna who talked us through the ways that we can protect our ideas. She brought several bags of jelly babies along with her which just made the brilliant workshop even better! Chris Bissex then led a Money Matters workshop before lunch.

After lunch, Jon Dawkins led a great interactive workshop on marketing and branding where we worked in groups to come up with a new brand for a space exploration company.

George Savva then ran a great workshop about selling our products/services, how we describe what we sell and what our customers think they’re getting from us.

We then rotated between rock climbing and networking with the Big Ideas Wales Role Model team. The rock climbing was a great way to wind down from all the information we had to take in over the first two days. Networking with the Role Models gave us the chance to ask questions from business people who have been there done that and were a great source of information.

Austin Walters led a great workshop after dinner on digital presence and strategy. Our Saturday night

concluded with Callum Griffiths from Clydach Farm. This was another highlight of our weekend, his story was so interesting, highlighting that ‘your mum is not a valid test market’ and he was really willing to answer all of our questions. Callum described himself as a ‘self taught’ entrepreneur who started his business when he was 13 years old, breeding and selling chickens. Now six years on, the business has moved a lot, focussing on dry pet food, exporting to 13 markets worldwide and to retailers like Waitrose and Ocado.



To begin our last day of Bootcamp, Ashley Cooper led a workshop on growing our businesses, highlighting the importance of finding our ‘why’ and gave us the chance to think about our own businesses. Stifyn Parri then kept us all laughing during his brilliant pitching practice and confidence workshop, really giving us some things to think about before we go and pitch our own businesses.

After lunch we rotated around 1-2-1’s with our business advisors, pitching practice with Stifyn Parri, a session to work on our business plans  and another networking opportunity with Role Models.

After that, it was time for the awards and conclusion for the weekend. The award for ‘Most Improved Bootcamper' went to Mollie Williams and her beauty therapy business. There was also an award for ‘Most Engaged Bootcamper’ who we had to vote for ourselves. This went to Liam Purnell and his digital marketing business.  

None of us could believe that the weekend was over, but we have all taken so much away from it.


Does this sound like something that may interest you? Then why not think about applying to the next one?

Applications are now open!



Start local, go global

Another month means another blog from Big Ideas Wales; with this one focussing on starting local and going global. Starting up isn’t easy and expanding it to the global market can be even harder but that isn’t to say it is impossible! There are plenty of businesses that started at a kitchen table and have gone on to become big household names so there’s no reason you can’t do the same.


So much has happened in November, it’s been a very busy month! Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) took place from 12th-18th November, aiming to inspire us to engage in entrepreneurial activities. This year they were focussing on four themes – women, youth, inclusion and connecting the ecosystem. There were events all over the UK helping us to consider entrepreneurship as an option for our futures.


Big Ideas Wales held the Bootcamp to Business this month too which took place at the end of GEW. We travelled to Treharris and enjoyed a jam packed weekend full of business workshops and networking. 46 bootcampers attended and took part in workshops on all sorts of topics like finance, business growth, digital strategy and presence, pitching, marketing and branding as well as business planning help. On the last day, everyone was given the opportunity to have a one to one with their business advisor to plan their next steps – what they want to achieve once Bootcamp was over. As well as workshops, there were plenty of opportunities to network with our great team of Role Models from all sorts of sectors as well as make contacts between the bootcampers themselves. The weekend was brilliant and everyone got so much out of it. If this sounds like something that may interest you, why not have a think about applying to the next one? 


Whilst at Bootcamp, we got the opportunity to interview Callum Griffiths, one of our Role Models and a ‘self taught’ entrepreneur who started his business when he was 13 years old. Clydach Farm Group first started when Callum began breeding and selling chickens. The business has moved on a lot since then, now focusing on dry pet food and exporting to 13 markets worldwide and to retailers like Waitrose and Ocado in the UK. Have a look at what he had to say. 

When did you first start exporting?

The export market has been really important to us from the time that we built the business. I really thought that we were building a global brand and it was vital that we had that distribution not just in the UK but abroad as well. We started exporting 4-5 months after we started trading in our sector. It was really early on and I would also encourage lots of other people to do that because it gives you a change in demographic and allows you to tie into other parts of the market, both entry level products and core products. Exporting is a really good way to see how the business supports you in the overseas market as well. 




How does the overseas market differ to the market in the UK?

Overseas markets for us are a lot more competitive than domestic markets. We find it a lot more of a competitive playing field when working with other brands. The demographic choice is wider, we can choose lots of different kinds of people to engage with our brand but also engage with price points as well. We have some countries where we really see ourselves in a premium position and in other countries we see ourselves as a more value or entry level product. It enables us to trial products as well and see how new formats and pack sizes and things like that work across different areas as well.

Callum’s story is an interesting one and you can read it here.


The Brexit Portal was launched over on the Business Wales site this month. It is there to support businesses through Brexit, helping to reduce the risks and help us to consider the challenges but also the opportunities that are coming up. If you are thinking of starting a business or already run one, it may be worth you heading over to the Brexit Portal and their six key business areas – strategy and operations, innovation, sales and marketing, export, people management and finance. There is also a great tool that can help you to assess your business or idea in how prepared you are for Brexit and what may come with it.


If you want any more information and support you can browse our website, check out the Business Wales site or call the Business Wales Helpline on 03000603000. Remember to like, follow and tweet us @bigideaswales on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Message us on there and one of the team will get in touch!


Build your Knowledge and Skills

You might already have a career in mind, you might want to start your own business one day or you may just have no idea what you want to do and that’s fine. Often, when we’re young, thinking about the future and what we want to do seems like such a long way off but really there is no better time than NOW to build on your knowledge and skills. Whether you’re still studying or already working, we’ll try and point you in the direction of where to go to get the best information, support and opportunities to develop your business knowledge and skills.


Our Role Models run workshops in schools, colleges, universities and community groups across Wales. They aim to help you consider entrepreneurship as an option for your future by telling their own personal start up story, often challenging those stereotypical ideas of business owners. If this is something that sounds interesting to you, then you can get in touch with us. You can have a browse through the Role Models in your area here and see what inspires you.


If you’ve already got an idea that you really want to pursue or you’ve just started but need some more help, then you might want to have a look at our Bootcamp to Business. It is a great opportunity to network with other young entrepreneurs who want to be their own boss one day as well as our Role Models, learn from each other and also about important business topics. Or we’ve got Big Ideas Celebrated which is for those of you who may have the start of an idea or really you’re just considering entrepreneurship as an option. This is also great if you’ve got an enterprise team in school and you want an opportunity to test the water with something you have been working on.


If you don’t feel ready for all of that, BOSS is a great online resource on the Business Wales website. There are over 140 courses on a whole range of topics, available 24 hours a day, giving you the opportunity to learn at your own pace, whatever the hour! You can access as much as you want, whenever you want and they can really help you through whatever stage you’re at on your entrepreneurial journey.


Business Wales also run events and workshops on every business topic you could think of so why not have a look on their Event Finder to find out what is available in your area. These events can be anything from writing a business plan to getting your business online. Take a look, it could be the next step you are looking for to get going or get you to start thinking about an area that you had never considered before.


If you’re still studying, have you thought about getting yourself a part time job? You’ll not only be earning money but it’s a great way to get a real insight into a business and how it really runs. It may not necessarily be in the industry that you are interested in but the basics will still be there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions while you’re working; really listen and take note of what is being done. This opportunity could either show you how things should be done or make you think about how you would do it differently. If this isn’t your thing then you could volunteer your time in order to gain some experience and develop your knowledge.


Whatever way you choose, start to develop your business knowledge and skills now. Remember to like, follow and tweet us @bigideaswales on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Message us on there and one of the team will get in touch!