Energy entrepreneur becomes 1,000th business start up success story
First Minister Rhodri Morgan presented a certificate to Swansea University graduate Philippa Jones this week, as she celebrated becoming the 1,000th Welsh Assembly Government g2e (Graduate to Enterprise) start-up business in nine years.
G2e is a successful programme designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs set up in business in Wales.
And Philippa, aged 25, who has set up Swansea-based PCJ Energy Ltd, joined six other new and established Welsh businesses at a showcase event held at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay on Monday (November 12), to mark National Enterprise Week.
PCJ Energy Ltd provides energy performance certificates to home sellers to be incorporated into the recently introduced home information pack. The certificate grades the home on an A-G scale and contains advice on how to cut carbon emissions as well as fuel bills.
"Buildings are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, both in their construction and energy usage during their lifetime," said Philippa.
"Making more efficient use of energy in buildings is one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing greenhouse gasses as well as energy costs for householders.
"My aim is to be a part of the Government's drive towards building a greener future and to expand the business on a national basis to become the number one energy performance certificate provider in Wales by both training and employing a number of people."
Philippa, a Swansea University School of Engineering graduate, worked in the steel industry for the Corus Group for three summers before deciding to broaden her knowledge of environmental issues.
She took a Masters degree in recycling technologies at the University and in May 2007, she launched her own business with help from the g2e programme, a Knowledge Exploitation Fund (KEF) scholarship, which pays an allowance of £144 per week for nine months to new business start-ups, and the Wales Spin Out Programme.
Philippa, who hopes to employ five people within three years, added: "The KEF Scholarship has enabled me to commit myself 100 per cent to the business. And the program has also allowed me to meet other people in the same position as myself, which has acted as a support network.
"It has also given me contacts in all different areas of business throughout Wales, from dry stone walling to plumbers, caterers and party organisers."
The Welsh Assembly Government’s flexible g2e programme works in partnership with universities and further education colleges across Wales to offer a range of support to students and graduates who want to launch a small business in Wales.
The programme is tailored to meet the individual needs of aspiring entrepreneurs from the initial stage of exploring business ideas, throughout the start-up period and for a year after a business is up and running. Experienced business experts provide one-to-one mentoring, specialist consultancy support and help with small business grant applications.
The g2e programme is part of the Knowledge Exploitation Fund, which is designed to transfer skills and research knowledge gained at colleges and universities in Wales to industry.