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The Caerphilly-based Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (Welsh ICE) has celebrated its tenth anniversary.
The start-up business hub was launched at Caerphilly Business Park in 2012, and has since grown into the largest co-working space in Wales.
In that time, it has generated a net contribution of more than £60m to the Welsh economy and created the equivalent of 800 full-time jobs – as well as helping thousands of entrepreneurs start their own businesses.
Currently, Welsh ICE has more than 700 members across both its campus and online platforms.
According to Welsh ICE, 77% of its businesses have a survival rate of three or more years, higher than the UK average of 61%.
It also runs the 5-9 Club, which is an after-hours programme aimed at helping people who are looking to launch their own businesses.
“I’m proud to say that it’s still going strong today”
Llinos Neale first joined Welsh ICE as a receptionist in 2017. In June this year, she was appointed as its CEO, following a spell as its Community Manager.
Ms Neale said: “When the founders started ICE, it was with a vision of growing a community that would enable local enterprise to flourish, bringing the concept of co-working as a structure to nurture and grow start-ups.
“They were told it couldn’t happen in Caerphilly – that the vision of a flourishing community of innovators was reserved for the likes of Silicon Valley, not the Rhymney river, but today our community has grown far beyond the county borough.
“If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that wherever you are can be the centre of the universe. Whether it’s the local graphic designers Bomper Studios making music videos for the Foo Fighters, research and development firm Maple Consulting advising on the future of European transport infrastructure from our coworking space or science presenter Huw James delivering remote workshops to kids on Disney cruises from his ICE office – businesses that started here are having an impact on a global scale.”
Ms Neale continued: “When people work together, they can accomplish incredible things.
“The first ten years of ICE have been amazing and we’re excited to see what opportunities, partners and people the next decade, and beyond, will bring.”
Caerphilly’s Labour Senedd Member, Hefin David, spoke at an event to mark Welsh ICE’s tenth anniversary.
Dr David said he has seen ICE go from “strength-to-strength” during his six years in the Senedd and continued: “The importance of local connections and having somewhere to go is crucial for successful start-ups and that’s exactly why Welsh ICE is so important. They bring people together.”
Welsh ICE is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
For more information on Welsh ICE, contact email@example.com or call 02920 140040.
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