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Investing in the Future of Wales

By: James Sweeney, Junior Account Executive at Jargon PR


Business and technology have undergone rapid evolution in recent years, with technological developments continually redefining the boundaries of what we perceive as 'possible' in our ever-expanding digital landscape. This relentless progress, shaping the vision of our collective future, would not be possible without the investment of both time and resources, pioneering research and innovation for the future of society.


I recently attended the “Funding the Future of Wales” session at this year’s Wales Tech Week, hosted by panellists from Beauhurst, the British Business Bank, the Development Bank of Wales and Mentra Ventures. I’ll be breaking down my key learnings from the talk in today’s blog.


The Call of the Angels


The session commenced by noting how although the fundamentals of investment have remained the same in the current economy, what has changed is who is providing it, with angel investors becoming the dominant player in the market. The Angel Capital Association reinforces this ideology in its 2022 ACA Angel Funders Report, recording that on average, angel groups invested a total of $5.3 million per group, a 15% increase from the 2020 report.


The rise of angel investors is not strictly limited to their financial offerings, however, it is more so in the flexibility of their investment and the numerous, additional benefits that they provide. Angels bring a wealth of experience, expertise and contacts that can help propel businesses forward into a new age of commerce. They can offer valuable guidance, industry insights, and networking opportunities to the startups and businesses that they invest in, vastly improving the odds of a successful future.


Addressing Inflation


In recent years, inflation and the crisis surrounding the cost of living have gained significant attention, as individuals and businesses navigate through a turbulent economy. While businesses of all scales have felt the effects of economic uncertainty, the impact on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and startups, already managing precarious financial positions, can be particularly distressing.


The last couple of years have seen a shift start to occur in the attitude to accessing external investment - businesses are slowly becoming more open to the prospect, as a means of surviving the changing economic tide. Furthermore, as businesses require greater amounts of investment in order to tackle the rising costs, deal sizes are also increasing, to adapt to the changing circumstances.


The Investment Fund for Wales


One of the key talking points of the session was focused on the “Investment Fund for Wales” created by the British Business Bank which was released on the 23rd of November, with Wales receiving £130 million in extra support for businesses across the country. This project is one of many being launched by the British Business Bank with the intention of delivering a £1.6 billion commitment of new funding to smaller businesses across the UK.


This initiative has the potential to be revolutionary for technology businesses across Wales, endowing them with much-needed investment to drive innovation, streamline operations, and foster growth. The project, among others, serves as an essential lifeline for SMBs and startups, creating a safety net amidst this turbulent time, and allowing them to focus on maximising their efficiency and longevity.


Funding the Future of Wales


Towards the end of the session, the panellists began to discuss sectors that they believe are going to excel in the future of the Welsh technology ecosystem. They noted how the diversity of businesses is increasing, with new ideas in VR, FinTech, AI and more changing the investment landscape, altering the ways in which people search for and implement invested resources into their businesses.


While discussing the future, the panellists reached a consensus on the significant roles that sectors such as AI, green technology, and agricultural innovation will play in shaping the Welsh technology landscape. They noted the importance of addressing direct issues affecting both people and the world, with a focus on these solutions as an attractive prospect for potential investors.


In regards to seeking investment, they emphasised the criticality of leveraging technology or solutions effectively. Recognising and highlighting the unique aspects that distinguish one's business from others will be vital in securing funding. Businesses that grasp this concept are set to reap the greatest benefits moving forward.


Despite the challenging times that businesses have faced in recent years, the horizon appears to be highly promising. Initiatives such as the Investment Fund for Wales paint a prosperous vision for the future of Welsh technology and innovation.



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