Welsh ICE Blog: Global Entrepreneurship Week
In a new column for the Caerphilly Observer, businesswoman and Welsh ICE director Mandy Weston looks at the significance of Global Entrepreneurship Week (Nov 12 – 16) and what it means for entrepreneurs locally.
On Wednesday (November 14) hundreds of Welsh businesses, including my own, will attend the first ever Entrepreneur Wales conference in Cardiff as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012.
Arranged after Welsh SMEs formed a group on networking website LinkedIn and voiced the need for such an event, the prospect of increased collaboration across Wales is exciting for us as entrepreneurs holding our own in bordering towns like Caerphilly.
We have huge amounts of talent in Caerphilly Borough as a whole, and great colleges and universities nearby, but we need more routes for these people to develop their ideas into business.
I was lucky to work with some of the best entrepreneurs around in the last 10 years of my corporate career, but no amount of experience can prepare you for how lonely starting your own business can feel.
I spent the last year of employment trying to create a better life-work balance and re-energise my working life, which instead led to the creation of my own consultancy and virtual assistance business, Wize Consulting, and subsequently the creation of two new jobs for Caerphilly town.
But like other companies I work alongside at the Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (ICE), the responsibility I now have to those employees, and the overall lack of financial stability involved in running your own business, can still be terrifying!
Networking with other businesses is, therefore, a key factor to success and this is why events like Global Entrepreneurship Week affect the local economy too.
Some start-up businesses may not feel ready for events like the Cardiff conference, for example, so Welsh ICE is also raising awareness of Global Entrepreneurship Week with smaller events taking place at Caerphilly Business Park later in the week.
Learning from others that have successfully fulfilled their dreams, as well as fellow start-ups facing similar issues, brings inspiration and much-needed camaraderie in a world that can feel very solitary at times.
Hopefully, through Global Entrepreneurship Week and other events throughout the year, we will continue to show that Caerphilly and its surrounding areas are key places for entrepreneurship to grow.
Mandy Weston is a highly self motivated business professional with a wealth of experience in all areas of back office business activities and key operational experience in the service environment.
Work as an administrator for Faucet Sales Ltd in the early 1980s quickly progressed to a leadership role as Administration Director at the National Britannia Group Ltd, and later at Connaught Plc (both based at Caerphilly Business Park).
From 2002 Mandy’s also role involved sitting on the Executive Management Board at National Britannia and saw her oversee the management of its HQ and staff numbers in excess of 250.
Responsible to the CEO for all the head office administration, quality standards, budget control, marketing/ PR and human resources, Mandy added a further £7million in turnover through five acquisitions and also helped with a business remodel that turned it from loss to profit-making within two years.
In 2009 she became a board member at leading compliance company Environmental Scientifics Group Limited (nationwide), which has a turnover of £100million, reviewing all back-office functions and creating one HQ location as she did so.
Currently Managing Director of business administration consultancy Wize Consulting Ltd, Mandy now combines running her own business with part-time work supporting new start-ups and entrepreneurs at the Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (ICE) from the centre based in Caerphilly.
She is also a member of the charity committee for Breast Centre Wales and also enjoyed a two-year stint as chairwoman of Caerphilly Business Forum.
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