The successes of young entrepreneurs were put under the spotlight during a day of celebration at Venue Cymru, Llandudno.
Thousands of young people between 11 and 19 years old in Gwynedd, Anglesey, Conwy and Denbighshire have been learning key business skills through the Llwyddo’n Lleol project over the past year.
With the aim of promoting a culture of entrepreneurship among young people, Llwyddo’n Lleol seeks to raise their awareness of the opportunities that exist locally.
With over 250 enterprises having been established in Gwynedd alone, the celebration event was an opportunity to see some of the project’s key successes.
Llwyddo’n Lleol is an innovative project, partly funded through the European Social Fund by the Welsh Government, Gwynedd Council, Anglesey County Council, Denbighshire Council, Conwy Council, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, 14-19 Network and the Môn Menai fund.
Jonathan Jenkin, Stakeholder Relations and Socio-economic Manager, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, commented: “This is a strategic, transformational activity to create a culture of enterprise amongst young people in North West Wales and learn about future career opportunities. It is important that the next generation of young entrepreneurs get the support they need to succeed within their communities and very rewarding to hear that almost 400 enterprises have been established as a result of this project.”
Welsh Government Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, said: “European funds are making a real difference to the lives of thousands of people across Wales, and I’m delighted to hear about the impact the Llwyddo’n Lleol project has had on the prospects so many young people in North Wales. I’d like to congratulate each of the award winners and offer my best wishes to all of the people who’ve taken part in the project.
“Through new EU funds investments for 2014-2020, we’re committing a further £240 million to projects that will increase youth employment opportunities and improve the career prospects of many more young people across Wales.”
Among those with stalls at the event was Ffion Jones, who sells personalised goods from her shop Pwyth Pistyll at Pwllheli; Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen, which produces and sells greeting cards; and Ysgol Brynrefail which has started a community radio.
Two other youngsters who have benefited from the scheme are Lucy Biskin who is now a self-employed photographer and Ricky Sargent who has set up his own media company.
Prizes were presented to winners in the following categories:
- The individual with the best business idea – Jim Ellis, Eryr Olwg
- Successful entrepreneur – Ffion Jones, Pwyth Pistyll
- Environmental business – “Yes we can”, Ysgol Friars
- The most enterprising school – Ysgol Y Moelwyn
- Innovative School – Ysgol Brynrefail
- Accreditation award – Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle
- Teacher Award – John Bryn Owen, Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle; Rhian Jones, Ysgol Y Moelwyn.
Councillor Mandy Williams-Davies, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy, congratulated all the young people who have taken part in the project:
“Our enterprising youngsters deserve all credit for their dedication and hard work. Our aim through the Llwyddo’n Lleol project is to focus on instilling their confidence in our communities.
“It has raised young people’s awareness of the growth sectors in their locality and the opportunities they offer in terms of jobs and self-employment work.
“We have also been encouraging young people to consider self-employment as a possible career option and have helped them develop the essential enterprising skills.”
With the ageing population in North West Wales, it is essential that we take steps to retain more of our young people, she added.
“Rural areas are declining as a result of young people moving out and older people moving in to retire,” she said.
“Llwyddo’n Lleol seeks to stem this loss by developing young people’s skills and showing them the opportunities their communities can offer them to allow them to live and work locally.
“Above all, Llwyddo’n Lleol aims to show that young people can enjoy an exciting future here in north-western Wales – and to discard once and for all the negative belief that one must move out in order to move on.”