Wales looks to best global minds to put fire into its young business dragons

The Welsh Assembly is working together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to boost young businesses and grow its nation’s economy.

A panel comprising Welsh entrepreneurs, such as founder Hayley Parsons and Drew Nelson of manufacturer IQE will join academics Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, University of West England and Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Swansea University will help deliver the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP) for Wales.

Economy minister Edwina Hart, who chose the panel, said: “REAP provides a great opportunity to work with the world renowned MIT facility to develop a strategy specifically for Wales that puts innovation-driven entrepreneurship at the heart of the drive to create jobs and boost the economy.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are key drivers of economic growth and prosperity, and this initiative will not only enhance the work we are already doing in Wales but add a new dimension and act as a catalyst to accelerate economic growth and help inform future direction. I attach great importance to the role of this panel and thank the members for their support and I very much look forward to their contribution.”

Wales is one of eight regions or cities on the two year programme, with others including Tokyo, Beijing, Santiago, South West Norway, Ashdod in Israel, Bangkok and Al Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

The regions will work together to strengthen their areas of comparative advantage and share best practice and experience whilst working with a diverse group from the MIT facility.

The panel will then identify opportunities and make recommendations to the Welsh government on the development and implementation of a tailor-made strategy to strengthen young Welsh businesses and the nation’s economy.

As part of the programme, participants attend two-and-a-half day educational workshops twice a year between October this year and July 2017, where they will be exposed to the theory and practice of developing regional clusters of innovation-based entrepreneurship.

The MIT, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, aims to “advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology and other areas of scholarship”.

It said REAP is designed to help regions promote economic development and job creation by implementing a more “robust innovation-based entrepreneurial ecosystem”.

Image: Jacek Wojnarowski /