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Uncertainty and opportunity: Engaging diaspora in a post-EU Wales

27 Mar, 2019

As the UK’s EU exit looms, one thing’s for certain, our future is uncertain. For the UK, but especially in Wales, many things will have to change; new initiatives and innovative thinking in the way we do business with the world will need to emerge to ensure we don’t get left behind.

Amongst the change will be opportunity-a-plenty. Central to maximising these opportunities will be the formulation of a plan for how we engage and operate internationally, and the Welsh diaspora can have a pivotal role in how this plays out...

We’ve said it from day one, Wales greatest export is its people. There’s upwards of three million Welsh diaspora out in the wider world, many of whom are doing truly amazing things, with the will and means to give back to Wales but, historically, with no direct channel to do so. That’s why GlobalWelsh exists and this is where a clear opportunity lies.

"We’ve said it from day one, Wales greatest export is its people. That’s why GlobalWelsh exists and this is where a clear opportunity lies."

 We know that our diaspora want to give back, they want to help, they can open doors; connect people; create opportunities. In a country so rich in pride and promise, Wales’ diaspora is one of, if not THE, most passionate, generous and patriotic in the world.

In a post-EU Wales, the value of engaging this passion-rich dispersed network of people has never been so high and has never been so crucial to Wales’ future success as a nation. The old adage rings true time and time again - it’s not what you know but WHO you know.

Wales is behind the curve when it comes to diaspora engagement. Other countries have been benefitting from it for years. This is also an advantage, we’ve watched how others have done it and have taken key learnings from their experiences.

 For the last two years GlobalWelsh has been a dedicated grassroots taskforce focused on uncovering Wales’ lost diaspora. We’ve been telling the untold stories of Welsh success around the world and enabling world class Welsh to give back with great success.

"We’ve been telling the untold stories of Welsh success around the world and enabling world class Welsh to give back with great success."

We are a passion-driven privately funded focused group of people, mostly voluntary, trailing the four corners of the earth to bring back real economic value to Wales - and come hell or high water we’re doing it! We now have a global community in 43 countries, and growing by the day.

 As an organisation we’re focusing on four key areas that offer Wales real positive economic impact…

  • Attracting and facilitating inward investment to Wales
  • Enabling and facilitating international trade opportunities
  • Providing global mentorship opportunities for Welsh businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Bringing world-class thought leaders to Wales

We must do more of this. In a post-EU Wales, there needs to be a heightened sense of urgency to scale our efforts to engage with diaspora on all fronts.

Time is of the essence. Leaving the EU, or not, will mean that competition will intensify, especially from other UK countries, as they face the same uncertainties. We must maximise Wales’ potential to be truly global player and win its fair share of business, whether it’s through exports, inward investment or leveraging entrepreneurial talent and our diaspora can help with this.

Irish diaspora expert Kingsley Aikens tells us there could be as few as 20 individuals that could transform Wales fortunes. It’s incredible to think that to even a small percentage of our diaspora could make a seismic difference to our future. Herein lies the true power of diaspora engagement.

"It’s incredible to think that to even a small percentage of our diaspora could make a seismic difference to our future. Herein lies the true power of diaspora engagement."

So, we must ask ourselves - who are they? Where are they? What are they doing?  What is their capacity and propensity to give back to Wales? Once we know these things, we have the engine fired up to engage and facilitate their give-back.

We need to move faster and act smarter. GlobalWelsh is in pole position to help Wales thrive, EU or no EU and you can help us. Join the community, share the mission and ask yourself - who do I know?

If you are interested in learning more about GlobalWelsh or wish to discuss becoming a Founding Patron please email Walter May at walter@globalwelsh.com or call him on +44 (0)7787 386127.

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