Unleashing entrepreneurial spirit and freeing business from the shackles of bureaucracy will boost economic recovery in Wales, attract inward investment and enable Wales Plc to prosper, Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan told members of the Wales Institute of Directors at the Celtic Manor, Newport.
Mrs Gillan highlighted the importance of encouraging a new generation of entrepreneurs and businesses into Wales but emphasised the important role the private sector will play in taking this forward.
Speaking at the 2010 Clubhouse, which in three weeks will host the Ryder Cup, Mrs Gillan said: “Turning the Welsh economy around will reward us with well-paid jobs, thriving businesses and rising living standards. However, Government can not do this alone and that’s why I want to see the private sector working with us to lead Wales to recovery. We want to create an environment in which business can thrive and to do this we need a permanent dialogue with business.
“Wales has much to offer, and the many businesses that have chosen to locate here will confirm that. Over the years Wales has attracted investment from both small and large companies, including some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies. Last year alone, over 3,400 new jobs were created in 65 projects in Wales through foreign investment despite the difficult economic climate. This is an improvement on the previous year but we need to do more.
“I believe that more can be done to encourage foreign companies to set up a base in Wales. To do this we need to show these companies that Wales has the right environment for them to come to and invest. And we do have the right environment. Alongside the developing infrastructure, Wales has a well qualified and skilled workforce, and with excellent links to Welsh academic institutions, this contributed to a world leading research and manufacturing capability.
“This country is forging itself a reputation as being a prime European site for growth and success and that is why so many global brands have moved here. However, we cannot be complacent and need to look at encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs to seize their ambition and succeed.
“We need to look at the next generation entering the beginning of their working life; we need to provide these young people with opportunities to boost their skills, to learn new trades and to become an asset to both companies and the country. We need businesses across Wales to consider young people and give them a chance.
“Wales is an excellent place for companies to locate and it is our job to keep promoting Wales and to continue to work towards attracting foreign investment to this country. I want to encourage more companies to relocate, to show that Wales is and will continue to be a place that has the skills, the knowledge and determination to move forward and progress. By promoting private sector growth and attracting inward investment we can secure the economic recovery and ensure a bright, sustainable future for Wales.”