The first ever Wales International Festival of Entrepreneurship

The first ever ‘Wales International Festival of Entrepreneurship’ held at Swansea University and other venues across Wales attracted over 250 participants from 35 countries engaging in  17 events over 5 days.  The result ? One fantastic festival...

Key highlights of the festival were the first ever EU Thematic Forum in the UK on Developing the Entrepreneurial University, and the UNESCO Symposium on the Entrepreneurial Learning City at Swansea University which attracted key thought-leaders and influential people from all over the world. These two events offered a rare and valuable opportunity for key decision makers to network and jointly consider the ways in which we encourage people to recognise and exploit entrepreneurial opportunity. 

Over 130 delegates attended the EU Thematic Forum which took place over three days, some travelling huge distances to be at Swansea, coming from Malaysia and India as well as from many European countries. Keynote speakers included the Deputy Minister for  Skills and Technology from Welsh Government; the Director –General for Education and Culture, European Commission; the Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship OECD ; the Ministry of Education, Government of Malaysia and  Vice Chancellors from UiTM, Malaysia and Strathclyde University, UK.

These key addresses were inspirational and often moving, drawing on real life situations that had improved through entrepreneurial thinking and behaviour. The speakers provided delegates with the latest thinking on how to drive forward the challenge of creating Entrepreneurial Universities, the main topic for consideration in a range of workshops over the three days.

Delegates were also treated to the best of Welsh hospitality at the Marriot Hotel and Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum and were even greeted with a day of beautiful sunshine!

The key to the success of the Wales International Festival of Entrepreneurship was the range of impressive partners working with Swansea University to make it happen including University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Gower College, and the City and County of Swansea. Many other partners helped deliver the many events that took place during the week in May.

Some of the highlights of the Wales-wide Festival included:

  • The launch of the Young Business Dragons  competition with schools in South West Wales as a Celebration of Enterprise
  • Pop-up Swansea. The City and County of Swansea opened the doors to Swansea Market for new start up companies to pop up and sell their wares
  • Incubation spaces such as IndyCube and Tech Hub opening their doors to aspiring entrepreneurs
  • Software Alliance Wales event on starting a business
  • LEAD Wales delegates in conversation with Peter Davies, Commissioner for Sustainable Futures
  • Showcase of the student finalists in the £250 Challenge competition
  • Workshop for entrepreneurship researchers

Professor Paul Hannon, Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership with the Department of Research and Innovation at Swansea University said of the event:

"The festival proved such a big success that we are going to work together to do it all again next year...... but bigger and better. We have successfully demonstrated the demand for such an event and want to build on its success. The feedback from participants, partners and supporters has been excellent. The organising team has been amazing and I thank all of them for their enthusiasm, passion and commitment.”