Monday, 27 January 2014

What a brilliant weekend at the Big Ideas Wales Bootcamp at Bluestone

Wow! I'm just back after a wonderful weekend on the Big Ideas Wales Bootcamp at Bluestone resort in Pembrokeshire.
It's been a 'full on' weekend helping inspire the next generation of Welsh entrepreneurs.
Here is a Welsh Government press release which gives you an idea of what it was all about . . . 

Big Ideas inspire Wales's next top young entrepreneurs

An intense weekend of inspiration, ideas and business planning has kicked off the Welsh Government's Big Ideas Wales Challenge, with 45 young people, drawn from all four corners of Wales, given the chance to become Wales's next top entrepreneurs.
Hand picked from a series of auditions throughout Wales, the young people aged between 16 and 24 years of age got together for the first time last weekend in a bootcamp at Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire to thrash out their big business ideas with entrepreneurs and business experts.
"The bootcamp confirmed our belief that Wales is a hot bed of entrepreneurial talent," said entrepreneur James Taylor who established SuperStars after leaving university and is now a role model for Big ideas Wales.
"The ideas and enthusiasm coming out from the 45 young people was amazing and the passion displayed demonstrates that we early do have some future young entrepreneurs who will be running businesses that I'm sure we'll all come to know and will be contributing to the economic growth of Wales in years to come."
Among the young people was Caryl Thomas of Sparkles Cleaning, Neath.
“The Big Ideas Wales bootcamp was absolutely brilliant. Not only did I get the chance to network with some of the country’s top entrepreneurs, but I was also given the opportunity throughout the weekend to personally ask them how they achieved their lifetime goals.
“On top of this, all of the realities of business were covered from tax issues that may arise to health and safety as well as the legalities inbetween to ensure optimum growth for our businesses. The whole weekend was a constant stream of support and belief in our ideas from the nicest people possible,” she said.
Entrepreneurs including James Taylor, Kevin Green, Annette Chin and Ashley Cooper were among those involved over the weekend and are backing the challenge, along with 20 businesses who have pledged support to date.
The bootcamp is part of the Welsh Government’s Big Ideas Wales campaign encouraging entrepreneurship among young people, helping them turn their bright ideas into tangible businesses.
Business Minister, Edwina Hart, praised the young people taking part in the Big Ideas Challenge and bootcamp, saying it had helped them take their business ideas forward.
“The Big Ideas Wales campaign is helping young people throughout Wales to focus on their future and the potential to their own business,” she said.
“These young people are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the entrepreneurial spirit and potential we have in Wales. The challenge is one way of cultivating this and the bootcamp has demonstrated just how serious they are in taking their business ideas forward,” she said.
The young people come from all part of Wales and are either already employed, in education and training, or unemployed.
Entrepreneur Kevin Green, who has also appeared on Channel Four's Secret Millionaire programme, said the Big Ideas Wales Challenge would not only support the 45 young people taking part, but encourage more to come forward.
"It's about encouraging more young people to come forward with their business ideas or to think about how they can turn an idea or a hobby into commercial reality," he said. "These 45 youngsters are just the start. We know there are many, many more young people with entrepreneurial spirit to can become part of Big Ideas Wales and be inspired to become Wales' future business leaders."
The Big Ideas Wales Challenge is managed by Menter a Busnes on behalf of the Welsh Government to support the delivery of the Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy (YES).
The challenge continues after the bootcamp with regular board meetings, networking events and training as they progress towards establishing their own businesses.
The Challenge itself has already received the backing of 20 Welsh companies who have pledged support to the participants throughout the challenge, from work shadowing to PR and marketing support, to business mentoring and access to incubation support.
The pledgers to date are S4C, Event Rater, The Welsh Business Show, Capital FM, UnLtd, Heart 96-104, Ice Dragons, ice, Morgan Quarter, JamJar PR, Caerphilly Observer,, mela, Centerprise NPTC, Cake Communication, Absolute Creative Events, Buffoon Film and Media,, Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme, and Mr Producer.
GoCompare founder and Chief Executive, Hayley Parsons, welcomed the young people to the bootcamp via video message, encouraging them to think hard about their big ideas.
For more information about the Big Ideas Wales Challenge and Big Ideas Wales, visit

Here's a slideshow from the weekend -