Posted on 16 May 2012
Professor Dylan Jones-Evans and Dr Niall Mackenzie
Wales should focus its efforts on supporting those firms with the potential for further growth and development, say Niall Mackenzie and Dylan Jones-Evans.
The University of Wales Global Academy, in partnership with the Western Mail, has today published a new listing of mid-sized Welsh companies.
The “Wealth Creators” supplement focuses on those mid-sized group of companies that the new Director General of the CBI, John Cridland, last year called the “UK’s forgotten army”. Such businesses, despite making up less than 1 per cent of the total number of firms in Wales, have enormous potential for export, innovation and acting as a new engine for growth for the economy. The listing specifically identifies those companies with an annual turnover in 2011 of between £5 and £15 million (which is the definition used for mid-sized corporate by the banking sector). The 200 firms featured have a collective turnover of £1.9 billion and employ 21,638 people.
According to Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, who has compiled the data with Dr Niall McKenzie, this supplement shows some of the hidden champions that exist within the Welsh business scene that, with the right advice and support, could have a significant effect on the Welsh economy.
“If the focus of politicians in both Westminster and Cardiff Bay is on developing a prosperous economy over the next few years, then they must target businesses that have the potential for growth and employment and ensuring that those wealth creating firms take advantage of the funding available to help them grow further.
“For example, the UK Government has provided up to £20 billion to support business under the National Loan Guarantee Scheme. It has also announced £1.2 billion for the Business Finance Partnership to develop new forms of non-bank finance. With the Welsh Government having its owned bank in the form of Finance Wales, policymakers could put forward a coherent strategy so that these funds, along with the money already held by Finance Wales, could create a far bigger source of funding for Welsh firms.”
“The UK Government has also announced an ambition to more than double annual UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020, expanding not only the role of UK Export Finance but doubling the support to UKTI. As this list of firms shows, Wales has enormous potential, via its manufacturing industry, for increased levels of international trading and this presents a real opportunity for Cardiff Bay to work with Whitehall to get more Welsh firms to trade overseas”.
Dr McKenzie said: “Devolution for economic development has given Wales the opportunity to put in place the best policies and structures to identify, support and grow those businesses that can create jobs and make a real difference to the prosperity of our nation.
“And it would be no bad thing to start with a coherent strategy to support the wealth creators within the economy and their potential for growth.”