Big Ideas Blog

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Hi everyone! It’s been a couple of months since we’ve written a blog. Summer is in full swing in Wales (cue wet sheep memes online!) Hopefully a lot of you are enjoying the sunny days we have been having and making the most of the beautiful Welsh countryside, coasts and activities we’re all so lucky to have on our doorsteps. (Read more about that here…)


So, in between iced coffees we thought it was about time we put digital pen-to-paper and wrote a new blog about being your own boss over the summer months.


There are so many opportunities to become a #SummerEntrepreneur and see where things go. Whether you just try it out for a few weeks or whether it lasts longer, at least you can say you’ve turned your ideas into reality. Want to make sure you’re doing it right? There’s loads of info about the dos and don’ts here.


Maybe you’re sitting in your office reading this whilst having your lunch (or whilst you’re meant to be working) and thinking about making some money on the side – whether to save up (very sensible) or to spend on that summer holiday you’re dreaming about. So many people under the age of 30 are running a side hustle alongside their jobs and with the long days and light evenings it’s the perfect time to give it a go. Read about starting a business part time and see if it’s for you


You might have just graduated or you’re in between education and haven’t got your next steps sorted. Well, why not have a think about the different business ideas you could test out over the summer holiday period? You never know, it might turn into something bigger! Get inspired and find out what your big idea could be.


Still waiting to get your inspiration and don’t know who to speak to or what to do next? Why not get in touch with us to ask a question or you can sign up to get a copy of the Young Person’s Guide to Starting a Business and access to Simply Do Ideas where you can get your ideas on paper (metaphorically - it’s all online!)


Enjoy the rest of the summer months and let us know how you get on, we’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @BigIdeasWales



The Enterprise Hubs

Have you heard about the five regional Enterprise Hubs in Wales? They are aiming to create a collaborative space in which you can develop an idea or your business, network, innovate and find a community to support you.  You also have access to a range of support on offer from Business Wales and other partner organisations.


Starting a business isn’t all plain sailing and can be quite a daunting and lonely experience. By making the most of the hubs, their community and their services, you could be making your entrepreneurial journey just that bit easier. In surrounding yourself with like-minded people at the hubs, you can learn from one another and maybe even spot opportunities to work together. Whether you have a new idea or your business is something you have been working on for a while, the hubs are a great place to base yourself from. 


We spoke to some of the staff at the hubs. This is what they had to say.


The Wrexham Enterprise Hub

The Wrexham hub opened in May 2018 and was the pilot for the other four hubs. It has since supported more than 170 individuals and businesses and also runs a successful 5-9 club.

We offer a place for you to grow and develop your idea, helping you to turn it into something that can put money in your pocket. We offer up to 12 months fully funded service which includes access to our co-working space – the perfect environment to collaborate with like-minded people. We run regular workshops, events and surgeries by industry experts to make sure you’re equipped with the right information for your business to thrive.


MSparc, Gaerwen

The Enterprise Hub in Gaerwen is delivered in partnership by Menter Mon and MSparc.

The Enterprise Hub provides entrepreneurs with the knowledge, inspiration and space to transform their idea into a successful business. The impressive MSparc building provides an excellent base with hot desking facilities, meeting rooms, a café and plenty of parking. If Gaerwen isn’t the location for you, we’ve got satellite hubs in Dolgellau, Pen Llyn, Llandudno Junction, Rhyl, Porthmadog and Ruthin. We offer a package of support, tailored to what you require and create a community of like-minded people to share ideas and offer encouragement.

We also provide you with support and a range of activities from guest speakers and hackathons to pitching events and interactive workshops.


Newtown Enterprise Hub

The Newtown Hub has opened in the Pryce Jones building in Newtown. The building which dates back to 1878 was built by Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones who was a Welsh entrepreneur that founded the first mail order business

The hub has satellites at the Innovate and Enterprise Campus at Aberystwyth University, UWTSD Lampeter and Coleg Ceredigion.

We want to encourage innovative and vibrant business ideas among local entrepreneurs. We offer a dedicated workspace, professional workshops and expert guidance to entrepreneurs in Powys and Ceredigion, whilst providing a space to incubate and accelerate new and growing businesses.


Welsh ICE, Caerphilly

Caerphilly’s Enterprise Hub is located at the Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (Welsh ICE) which was founded in 2012 as a co-working space where freelancers and individuals can share office space, work together and support one another as their businesses grow. Since then, more than 200 businesses and 400 business owners and staff call the Campus home. You can also access their 5-9 Club at one of their outreach locations in Merthyr, Blaenau-Gwent, Torfaen and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

As well as coworking space, we provide support, to help guide people into a sustainable business. ICE is special because of the community it has created with 74% of businesses at ICE having created formal agreements with one another, meaning they work together to support each other’s businesses.

ICE has also recently launched its outreach programme which is aiming to bring guidance and the ICE community across the South Wales Valleys.

There’s a lot of mystery around starting a business – some think it needs to come from a radical new idea with a lot of money behind you while the reality is that businesses often come from humble beginnings and grow steadily, employing people as they go or make enough money to just live comfortably. Both of these are real options when you get the right support in a collaborative environment.

If you have an idea, why not apply to the ICE 50? Successful applicants get access to the excellent support, co-working space and community that is on offer. For more information, call 02920 140 040, email or go to  


Carmarthen Enterprise Hub

Carmarthen Enterprise Hub is delivered by Business Focus at Yr Egin with satellite locations at Bridge Innovation Centre Pembrokeshire, The Beacon Llanelli and Coleg Sir Gar.

We’re here to help support you in turning your business idea into a reality, by offering a programme of support, a community of likeminded people and access to co-working and event spaces.  Come over and experience our Informal business workshops, listen to inspirational speakers and meet people who are experiencing the same journey as you. We want to support people wherever they are within their business journey so why not see how we can help?



So what are you waiting for? Why not contact your local enterprise hub and take the next step on your business journey as part of a co-working community?







Big Ideas Celebrated - Liberty Stadium, March 2019

In March 2019, we travelled down to the Liberty Stadium, Swansea ready for Big Ideas Celebrated. The festival of entrepreneurship gave young people aged 16-25 the chance to explore new skills and ways of thinking – whether they have already started a business or haven’t even thought about it yet.

The day started off with an introduction from Chris Jones before Josh Llewelyn Jones gave a great inspirational talk about his own story. Born with cystic fibrosis, Josh has gone on to do some incredible things and defied what anyone has ever told him. He told his story and how it has been full of ‘big ideas’, often defying the impossible. He also told us that impossible is just an opinion so we shouldn’t let that put us off doing something. Brilliant advice coming from someone who lifted 1 million kg in less than 24 hours!

After that it was time for the first set of workshops. We had to choose which workshop we went to – The Part Time Entrepreneur, Tourism and Hospitality and Dare to Think Business. Dare to Think Business was run by Caroline Thompson and Charly Hagger, both from BetheSpark. They talked the through the different ways we can start our own business by using co-working spaces, accelerator programmes, business support services and membership organisations. There was a particular emphasis on the fact that it is not a weakness to ask for help.

We then had the opportunity to listen to more inspirational speakers –this time from Hayley Wheeler, Jay Smith and Chris Nott. They all told us their different start up stories, telling us to not allow limits to hold us back, the only way to succeed is finding out the hard truths – you may fail at something during your journey, but don’t give up and do things that you like to do and know that you have skills in. Although all of their stories were different and all their businesses were different too, the same message about surrounding ourselves with the right people and values came through from all of them.

It was then time to choose which workshop to attend again – How to present yourself, Top Tips for Freelancing, How to start a high street business and The Entrepreneur Mindset. How to Present Yourself was led by George Savva. Top Tips for Freelancing was led by Lisa Fearn with a panel of Role Models – Noel James, Lee Woodman and Louise. Again the idea of being surrounded by the right people came through as well as be willing to take risks, always put 100% into a project no matter its size. How to Start a High Street Business was led by Chris Jones and included a panel of Role Models – Tino Dzaro, Ryan Stephens and Dr Ben Reynolds. We discussed the costs of setting up a high street business as well as making sure that we stand out from competitors.

We then had the chance to listen to George Bellwood and Lisa Fearn and their startup stories. George Bellwood, in his final year at Cardiff University, attended Bootcamp in November 2018. He has since started Virtus Tech and is working with Business Wales’  Accelerated Growth programme . He talked about failure being our first attempt at learning and the importance of finding out and understanding what your customers want and need. Lisa Fearn talked about when starting a business, there is no such thing as an overnight success, your business requires work.

It was then time for the final set of workshops – You work, your Business, The Digital World and Starting up on a Shoestring. Your Work Your Business was led by Anthony John and Denzil Hopkins from Admiral who talked about being intrapreneurial and the importance of team work.

Before the end of the day, there was an entrepreneur panel with Michelle Roche from Enterprise Nation, Stacey Adamiec and Angharad Woodland and where we had the chance to take part in a Q&A session.

Over 50 young people showcased their businesses at the event. Some of these had recently started, some had set up in college or university as part of a qualification and others were familiar faces who had recently attended Bootcamp. There was a whole range of businesses showcasing - Cameron Reardon who runs BugBox, an online insect store that also runs educational workshops, a Welsh clothing brand called Arfordir who has taken inspiration for their designs from the coast of Anglesey, Beth Howes who runs a pilates business and Lucent Dreaming, an independent magazine that publishes fiction, poetry and art to name just a few! This was a great opportunity to network, ask questions, see what we could get involved in as well as catch up with those we had worked with at Bootcamp

Overall, Celebrated was a great day, full of interesting information for all, no matter where they are at on their entrepreneurial journey.

You can check out some other opportunities to get involved over on our Opportunities page.

Why not have a read through some of our real start up stories too. You’ll find them at Big Ideas Wales: Featured.



Bootcamp, Glan Llyn, Bala, March 2019

Another Bootcamp weekend has been and gone. 30 aspiring entrepreneurs joined us at Gwersyll yr Urdd Glan Llyn, Bala in March 2019 all ready to network and work on the skills they need to start their own businesses.



Once we had all arrived and signed in, David Bannister took us through an introduction to the weekend and what we expected to get from being there. A member of staff from Glan Llyn gave a short intro to the site and where to find everything. Chris Walker had us all take part in the Welsh Haka which was a great ice breaker. After that, we were straight in with workshops and getting to know one another.

Penny Matthews was first to lead a workshop on the Aspirations Research. Penny talked us through her own entrepreneurial journey and role in Big Ideas Wales. She ran a brilliant networking bingo game which was fun and a great opportunity to get to introduce ourselves. Penny’s workshop was great and made us think about why we wanted to start our own business, what our reasoning was and what we wanted to get from the weekend.

Chris Walker then led a workshop about How to Pitch. We watched some videos of other people pitching their ideas – what to do and what not to do. Then it was over to us. He gave us 10 minutes to come up with our own elevator pitch and then we each took it in turns to pitch our ideas to the rest of the group. This was a brilliant way to learn what our ideas were and also make the links of who we could work with in the future.

After an intense few hours, it was time for some food and a break!

Jon Hughes, owner of Providero, joined us and ran a workshop on crowdfunding and how it helped him to start up his own business. He talked us through the different crowdfunding platforms that are available, which work best for what projects and also showed us the videos he put together for his own campaigns. He left us with some great advice ‘big dreams require plans but are born small.’

Chris Walker then led a workshop about team roles. As part of the preparation for the weekend, we had been asked to complete Belbin’s team role questionnaire. We then worked out what sort of role we played in a team environment and how we may need to draw upon others’ skills, not just our own when starting a business.

After a very busy DAY 1, it was finally time for bed!





We woke up to horrendous rain and floods across the area. We didn’t let that put us off though. After breakfast we were then introduced to the challenge that we would be working on over the weekend. The tasks depended on which group we were in which were decided based off what our business ideas were. The teams were freelancers, tech business, social enterprise, creative business and services. We had this time to get to know everyone in our team and work through the initial brief. We all had to use the workshops over the weekend to collate information that would help produce a presentation based off our individual group task.

David Bannister then ran a workshop on market research where we had to consider why a customer buys a product/service. Chris Walker then joined us again for a marketing workshop. Here we had to think about the different forms of marketing and which would work best for our business ideas.

Following that, Katherine Lewis talked us through Financial Control and how to set up our own cash flow forecasts. We then had an opportunity to go through a worked example – thankfully Kath had the answers at hand for when the numbers got a bit much!

During our lunch break we were introduced the the workshops we would be attending in the afternoon. There was a lot to get through – Intellectual Property, Digital Marketing, Financing your Business, and Search Engine Optimisation.

After lunch we were supposed to have an outdoor activity. Due to the weather this had to be brought indoors but it was still good fun. It was all about team building with some of the tasks including building structures from spaghetti and marshmallows! 

After the activity it was time for more workshops. Again due to the weather, not all the Role Models and speakers could attend in person. However those who couldn’t, we were able to still hold a Q&A session via Google Hangout. 

Then it was tea time already! The weekend was flying by.

After food, we were given some time to work on the challenge in our teams and gather the information that we had collected throughout the day. We had to prepare a three minute presentation on our business plans, ready to show the rest of the group.

Day 2 concluded with each group presenting their videos and a short Q&A session.



Our last day of Bootcamp began with Chris Walker taking us through the Business Model Canvas

We were then split into two groups – one group had a Role Model Speed Dating workshop while the other went to a Sales Masterclass with Dave Fildes. The role model speed dating was a great opportunity to network and ask questions in a short space of time. We also had the chance to organise a further meeting with those role models that we felt could really help our business journey. It was a great way to make contacts with other business people. The sales masterclass was also really interesting and we all had a lot to take away from it – especially the 8 point process with sales.

After lunch each group switched activity before it was time for a de-brief from David and the rest of the team.

Then that was it, Bootcamp was over. None of us could believe how quickly the weekend had gone but we have all taken so much information away from it. Now we can’t wait to get started and apply what we have learnt to our own businesses.


Does this sound like something that may interest you? Why not think about applying to the next one? Apply now.


Business Planning 

Spring has sprung, it’s getting warmer and staying light for longer. We’ve got a busy month ahead of us at Big Ideas Wales with Bootcamp to Business and Big Ideas Celebrated taking place. You can find out more about these here and keep an eye out on the Events Finder for our one day events too! 


So far this year, we’ve looked at getting inspired and idea creation and development (check out the previous blogs!) Following on from that, this month, we’re going to focus on Business Planning.


Writing your business plan is one of the most important things to do when setting up a business. It sets out what your business is all about, what your plans are and how you are going to get there. It should be realistic so don’t be tempted to just wing-it or pluck figures out of nowhere. Your business plan is essential if you are applying for finance or looking for investment so keep this in mind when you’re writing it. It is important to note that your business plan will change. Your business, ideas, market, target customer, etc may change so remember to keep your plan up to date too. 



Febraury’s blog talked about Simply Do Ideas and how that platform can help to form the basis of the plan. Go check it out if you haven’t already.

There are over 50 courses on BOSS all about business planning. These are a great resource for improving your knowledge if you’re not feeling too confident in starting the plan right now. You can find out more about writing a business plan on the Business Wales website and there’s a lot online too. There is also some really interesting information about business planning in our start up guide which you can access by signing up! When you sign up, you can tell us that you’re interested in meeting a business advisor and they can advise you too. Or you could call the Helpline and ask one of the team there about meeting an advisor.


If you’re not quite at the business planning stage yet, remember you can look back at previous blogs below 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!



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!