Caerphilly innovation centre contributes £13.8 million to Welsh economy

An independent report published last week has found that Caerphilly-based Welsh ICE has contributed £13.8 million to the Welsh economy since launching in 2012.

The findings were announced by Welsh ICE board members Gareth Jones, Mandy Weston and Will Record during an event held at the Senedd last Thursday.

The report revealed that the start-up incubator is helping to create and sustain a dynamic and growing start-up scene in South East Wales.

Completed by CM International, it investigated the number of full-time jobs created by businesses at the innovation centre and also analysed surveys among Welsh ICE members.

According to the survey responses, there’s an added value being delivered by ICE in the form of subsidised support places – which helps early stage entrepreneurs run their businesses without worrying about the costs of starting up.

As well as this, there’s a sense of community generated at ICE, and stakeholders feel that the start-up environment in Wales is “growing in dynamism and confidence” and is “very fertile and increasingly innovative’.

The report concluded that if the net GVA continues for a further three years, Welsh ICE will achieve even more success. It’ll generate an estimated cumulative net GVA benefit of £36.3m, with an additional GVA of £13.09m if members’ estimates of future job creation are realised.

Speaking about the growing start-up scene in South Wales, Welsh ICE CEO Gareth Jones said: “The community at ICE is incredibly inspiring, and we are proud to have shown that small amounts of investment combined with the right strategy can have a huge impact for fledgling entrepreneurs.

“Naturally, as the companies gain momentum they are more likely to create jobs and wealth for the local economy, but if they cannot afford to get started in the first place, it will never happen.

“The concept is simple – we help businesses get off the ground and start trading – it’s the implementation that’s difficult, and that’s where our fantastic team at ICE really shine.”

Commenting on the report, economy minister Edwina Hart said: “The figures from this report are very encouraging and a clear indication of the importance of helping, supporting and nurturing entrepreneurs and start ups.

“Their contribution in terms of economic impact and job creation can deliver significant benefits, particularly enterprises with high growth potential.

“The work carried out by the centre complements Welsh Government activities and I am pleased we have supported ICE to help around 80 businesses start up and grow.”