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To kick off this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, Economy Secretary Ken Skates is celebrating the success of a North Wales network.

First published:
14 November 2016
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

Ken Skates is visiting Glyndwr University to learn more about how the local Business Entrepreneurship Network (BEN) is inspiring and supporting local entrepreneurs to realise their business dreams.

BEN is a North East Wales based network, chaired by Flintshire businessman Askar Sheibani that was established in 2012 with support from the Welsh Government. 

It is a genuine collaboration between entrepreneurs, government, academic partners and youth and community groups, and has seen real success through activities such as Dragon’s Den style events and local enterprise clubs which  encourage people in  harder to reach groups to consider the possibility of entrepreneurship. 

During his visit, Ken Skates will also highlight the success of a Welsh Government programme aimed at supporting entrepreneurs and SMEs in Wales to start and grow. 

In January the Welsh Government launched its  enhanced and extended Business Wales service that was  backed by £86m Welsh Government and EU funding. 

Latest figures show that between January and September the extended service has  helped to create over 2100 jobs, safeguarded 350 jobs, supported over 2200 people seeking advice and provided information and direction to over 5000 customers. 

Ken Skates said:

“Entrepreneurs are hugely important to the Welsh economy and have the potential to significantly increase employment levels and prosperity. 

“I am determined the Welsh Government will do all it can to encourage, support and grow entrepreneurial activity right across Wales and this includes inspiring the next generation of budding business men and women to make their business dreams a reality."

“There is no doubt that starting a business can be a huge and daunting step so initiatives like the BEN and our re-launched  £86m Business Wales service really are invaluable in  providing  that much needed assurance and helping hand  to our budding entrepreneurs.

“Today’s visit shows that if you have drive and an idea, the support is out there to help you turn that idea into tangible success. As a Government we are committed to  championing our entrepreneurs and helping to create  the right environment for businesses to grow. ”

Chair of BEN,  Askar Sheibani said: 

“Our network has so far supported over 150 talented individuals in achieving their entrepreneurial ambitions. Businesses created by these individuals continue to positively impact the local community, industry and Welsh economy. 

“The overwhelming success of this initiative is owed to the generous participation of the local business community and the vital continued backing of the Welsh Government and Flintshire County Council. BEN's unique mentorship programme has since garnered attention and support from across the country and it is now our mission to roll-out the innovative model across Wales and the United Kingdom.

“We are absolutely confident that today's event will inspire fierce momentum in our campaign's growth, increasing our reach to empower countless more aspiring entrepreneurs in Wales and beyond.”