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GlobalWelsh brings bright minds together at first Founding Patrons Forum

01 Mar, 2019

GlobalWelsh, the diaspora network for Wales, has hosted its first Founding Patrons Forum Cardiff.

The event, which was held at Principality Building Society’s headquarters in Cardiff, saw GlobalWelsh founding patrons and supporters meet to establish how the privately funded community interest company can scale and grow to maximise engagement opportunities with Welsh diaspora to benefit Wales.

The event welcomed founding patrons, GlobalWelsh supporters, returning Welsh diaspora and politicians for a morning of talks, discussion and ideas on how it can grow and scale faster.  It aims to engage the global diaspora network in Wales and contribute towards creating a more prosperous future for the country.

GlobalWelsh is a grassroots, not-for-profit organisation. Its founding patrons include leading figures from some of Wales’ brightest exports and organisations, such as: Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce; Heath Davies, CEO, Clearswift; Mike Powell, chairman, FlyBondi; Lyndon Faulkner, CEO of Pelican Products; Blue Stag, Cardiff-based creative agency; Odgers Berndtson, leading executive search firm; the Welsh Rugby Union; and the Development Bank of Wales.

The morning’s event was hosted by Sky Sports host and broadcaster, John-Paul Davies. Talks were delivered by Martyn Phillips, GlobalWelsh chairman and CEO of WRU, Walter May, GlobalWelsh founder and CEO, and Steve Hughes, CEO of Principality Building Society, who presented the room with a strong picture of Wales’ economic landscape, challenges and potential.  

Steve Hughes, CEO of Principality Building Society, said: “It was fantastic to host the event and to support the GlobalWelsh vision to promote all that is world class about Wales and to have a positive impact on the future prosperity of the country.”

Mandy Powell, founder of The Good Wash Company, and Gareth Lewis, founder and CEO of growing fintech company, Delio, offered insights into the realities of returning diaspora setting up businesses in Wales. Phil Buck, founding director of Sunnybank Investments Ltd, delivered a snapshot of his investment strategy, having invested heavily in Welsh business over the last 12 months.

On a week that saw a Welsh Government report call for a better diaspora engagement, the event was also attended by the recently appointed minister for international relations, Eluned Morgan, who explained diaspora engagement would be central to her new international strategy and expressed interest in working with GlobalWelsh to support this.

The event reaffirmed that Wales is a fantastic place to invest and do business but as a country is yet to realise its full potential on the world stage.

Walter May, founder and CEO of GlobalWelsh, said: “As an organisation dedicated to finding and engaging with Wales’ global diaspora network, we already know the impact that our diaspora can bring to Wales, whether it’s in international trade, inward investment, mentorship, skills, talent attraction and retention. We’re already have members in 42 countries and being as impactful as we can, but we want to do more.

“The forum was about establishing better ways to grow and scale to maximise the benefits that diaspora engagement can bring to Wales. It certainly reaffirmed our thinking, and provided us with clarity on our goals as well as facilitated pledges of additional backing from our fantastic Founding Patrons and supporters so we’re very excited for what’s next.”

The event was also attended by: Andy Fryers, Hay Festival; Mark Loosemore, Loosemores; Matt Wordley, CEO, the Orchard Media & Events Group; Rhona Parry, VP, Equifax; Rhys Iley, group commercial director, Patisserie Holdings (formerly Vice President Operations EMEA, Starbucks); Aileen Richards, board member, WRU (formerly Executive Vice President Mars Inc), Carwyn Jones, ex-first minister for Wales and AM for Bridgend; Stephen Kinnock, MP for Aberavon; James Davies, executive chair Industry Wales (formerly Chairman, Calsonic Kansei Europe), Sophie Howe, future generations commissioner for Wales; Llywelyn ap Gwilym, head of consulting, Admiral Group.