PRIME CYMRU MAKING A DIFFERENCE

One of my most enjoyable roles in business is as a trustee of PRIME Cymru, the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise in Wales.

This is the only organisation in Wales dedicated to providing practical support to people aged 50 and over who want to become (and remain) economically active.

PRIME Cymru was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales fifteen years ago in response to letters he had received from many people saying that they felt that after the age of 50 they were on the scrapheap and they had faced insurmountable problems in securing paid employment because of their age.

Indeed, economic activity amongst the over 50s is a critical problem in Wales with nearly a quarter of a million people not working (or 38 per cent of the total number of people in this age group).

That is why the work of PRIME Cymru is so important and through its staff, trained mentors and associates, the organisation provides clients throughout Wales with free tailored one to one support whether they wish to start their own business, return to the workforce or volunteer to develop skills and confidence to move closer to economic activity.

During the last year, it engaged with more than 11,000 over 50s in Wales who were interested in returning to economic activity.

More specifically, one-to-one support was provided to 2,298 individuals developing action plans to return to economic activity. Of this number, over 82 per cent gained a tangible positive outcome of starting a business, securing employment, undertaking further learning or volunteering to gain skills and confidence.

This means that in the past 12 months, PRIME Cymru has helped the equivalent of 2.5 people every day of the year to return to economic activity through securing employment or starting a business.

Last month, HRH The Prince of Wales visited one of the most successful PRIME Cymru supported businesses and to meet those who had helped to make it grow.

Coedcae Services in Bridgend is a sustainable woodland management and wood-fired, kiln dried log business run by Mr Dave Marchant and his team.

As would be expected, Dave is very passionate about his work but the tree and wood business has not always been his line of work.  He had a very good career in I.T. but really felt that he had no quality of life.

Remembering how happy he used to be working outside in the woods with his grandfather, he decided at the age of 50, and with the support of PRIME Cymru, to chuck everything in and set up his own business in wood products.

Since then the business has grown quickly and has taken on more staff to meet the demand for its wood products.

Coedcae Services is a sustainable business based around the whole life cycle of trees – the firm plants thousands of trees, cut them down and makes furniture out of the very good wood. It also removes diseased larch trees and uses them in the wood-fired kiln to dry locally sourced wood, and then sells these logs to the public to heat their homes.

With investment in the business, the firm has expanded enormously in the past two years and now employs several staff with plans to significantly increase output next year especially given that kiln dried logs – which provide a consistently dry firewood - have revolutionised the firewood business.

Certainly, the visit to Bridgend by Prince Charles was a fitting tribute not only to the success of Coedcae Services but also to hard work and dedication of the mentors and staff of Prime Cymru. By working with those older individuals who may feel that nobody else is interested in them when they are thinking of setting up their own business, they are making real difference to the enterprise economy across Wales.

PRIME CYMRU MAKING A DIFFERENCE

One of my most enjoyable roles in business is as a trustee of PRIME Cymru, the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise in Wales.

This is the only organisation in Wales dedicated to providing practical support to people aged 50 and over who want to become (and remain) economically active.

PRIME Cymru was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales fifteen years ago in response to letters he had received from many people saying that they felt that after the age of 50 they were on the scrapheap and they had faced insurmountable problems in securing paid employment because of their age.

Indeed, economic activity amongst the over 50s is a critical problem in Wales with nearly a quarter of a million people not working (or 38 per cent of the total number of people in this age group).

That is why the work of PRIME Cymru is so important and through its staff, trained mentors and associates, the organisation provides clients throughout Wales with free tailored one to one support whether they wish to start their own business, return to the workforce or volunteer to develop skills and confidence to move closer to economic activity.

During the last year, it engaged with more than 11,000 over 50s in Wales who were interested in returning to economic activity.

More specifically, one-to-one support was provided to 2,298 individuals developing action plans to return to economic activity. Of this number, over 82 per cent gained a tangible positive outcome of starting a business, securing employment, undertaking further learning or volunteering to gain skills and confidence.

This means that in the past 12 months, PRIME Cymru has helped the equivalent of 2.5 people every day of the year to return to economic activity through securing employment or starting a business.

Last month, HRH The Prince of Wales visited one of the most successful PRIME Cymru supported businesses and to meet those who had helped to make it grow.

Coedcae Services in Bridgend is a sustainable woodland management and wood-fired, kiln dried log business run by Mr Dave Marchant and his team.

As would be expected, Dave is very passionate about his work but the tree and wood business has not always been his line of work.  He had a very good career in I.T. but really felt that he had no quality of life.

Remembering how happy he used to be working outside in the woods with his grandfather, he decided at the age of 50, and with the support of PRIME Cymru, to chuck everything in and set up his own business in wood products.

Since then the business has grown quickly and has taken on more staff to meet the demand for its wood products.

Coedcae Services is a sustainable business based around the whole life cycle of trees – the firm plants thousands of trees, cut them down and makes furniture out of the very good wood. It also removes diseased larch trees and uses them in the wood-fired kiln to dry locally sourced wood, and then sells these logs to the public to heat their homes.

With investment in the business, the firm has expanded enormously in the past two years and now employs several staff with plans to significantly increase output next year especially given that kiln dried logs – which provide a consistently dry firewood - have revolutionised the firewood business.

Certainly, the visit to Bridgend by Prince Charles was a fitting tribute not only to the success of Coedcae Services but also to hard work and dedication of the mentors and staff of Prime Cymru. By working with those older individuals who may feel that nobody else is interested in them when they are thinking of setting up their own business, they are making real difference to the enterprise economy across Wales.

ENTREPRENEURIAL LEADERSHIP

An increasingly complex business environment, where rapid changes in technology, competition, regulation and customer needs are the norm, has led to the search for new ways in which organisations can develop the right capabilities by which they can continuously anticipate the need for change.

In particular, effective entrepreneurial leadership is becoming increasingly important in ensuring that organisations adapt quickly to changes in today’s fast moving global economy.

But what is entrepreneurial leadership and what does it mean for those working with such an individual?

Various studies have shown entrepreneurial leadership is actually not one particular trait but actually a range of different personal attributes. These include the ability to anticipate, envision, maintain flexibility, think strategically and work with others to initiate changes that will create a viable future for the organisation.

However, the most critical defining factor is that good entrepreneurial leaders care about their organisations and their people but this is a difficult balancing act in ensuring that they can work closely with their staff whilst maintaining a leadership role.

For example, they need to be friendly, approachable and treat them like equals whilst remaining sufficiently distant to exert authority. They also ensure that their team are empowered to make decisions, are aware of the rewards and penalties of not achieving their objectives but also trust the leader’s judgement.

They do not impose their solutions on their teams or exclude or suppress potential. Rather they encourage their staff to be creative and to find their own solutions to problems.

Most importantly, the authority of entrepreneurial leaders does not come from the position they are given but from their expertise and values.

Having a fancy job title does not make someone a leader. Instead such individuals gain respect by leading through example, empowering their teams and nurturing leaders at all levels to ensure that the organisation is successful even when they are not around.

One of the key characteristics of such individuals is that they constantly challenge the status quo to see whether they are doing the right things or if what they are doing can be done better or cheaper.
Entrepreneurial leaders do not just identify the problem. Instead, they determine the solution and ensure that the required actions get implemented.  They also do not let the difficulty of making tough decisions deter them from doing that which will improve the organisation.

Such individuals set the tone and determine the values of the organisation they lead, being careful in ensuring that everything they do reflects the values they espouse and they encourage their people to examine their own values.

Most important of all, entrepreneurial leaders are focused on developing others around them and create a sense of urgency within the organisation and a mission worth achieving. They set goals that stretch people’s abilities, develop a spirit of teamwork and build confidence.

Even when there is no immediate problem, entrepreneurial leaders will often stir things up by breaking down established bureaucratic procedures or setting new stretch targets and goals.  

As a result, success is usually not measured quantitative terms but in less tangible ways such as when everyone in the organisation feels that they come to work excited and are proud to be associated with the organisation.

But how do entrepreneurial leaders achieve such results?

To facilitate this, the entrepreneurial leader needs to set the work climate, orchestrate the process of seeking and realizing opportunities and become actively involved in identifying and developing new ideas.

However, there must also be an acceptance that not everything will work and that dealing properly with failure is as important as celebrating success of all entrepreneurial leaders, especially in identifying the reasons for failure, and ensuring there is learning from any errors.

The last twelve months has seen events around the world that we would never have envisaged this time last year  and it is clear that there is a need for a new breed of entrepreneurial leader who is innovative, enthusiastic and can provide a new sense of direction in an uncertain world.

Therefore, the challenge for many organisations is to look beyond their previous methods  to recruit senior management and promote those individuals that can really make a difference quickly.

Certainly, Brexit and the challenges it brings to the public and private sector in the UK will require different approaches that may, in some instances, be unconventional but which will reap real rewards for those organisations led by entrepreneurial leaders.

ENTREPRENEURIAL LEADERSHIP

An increasingly complex business environment, where rapid changes in technology, competition, regulation and customer needs are the norm, has led to the search for new ways in which organisations can develop the right capabilities by which they can continuously anticipate the need for change.

In particular, effective entrepreneurial leadership is becoming increasingly important in ensuring that organisations adapt quickly to changes in today’s fast moving global economy.

But what is entrepreneurial leadership and what does it mean for those working with such an individual?

Various studies have shown entrepreneurial leadership is actually not one particular trait but actually a range of different personal attributes. These include the ability to anticipate, envision, maintain flexibility, think strategically and work with others to initiate changes that will create a viable future for the organisation.

However, the most critical defining factor is that good entrepreneurial leaders care about their organisations and their people but this is a difficult balancing act in ensuring that they can work closely with their staff whilst maintaining a leadership role.

For example, they need to be friendly, approachable and treat them like equals whilst remaining sufficiently distant to exert authority. They also ensure that their team are empowered to make decisions, are aware of the rewards and penalties of not achieving their objectives but also trust the leader’s judgement.

They do not impose their solutions on their teams or exclude or suppress potential. Rather they encourage their staff to be creative and to find their own solutions to problems.

Most importantly, the authority of entrepreneurial leaders does not come from the position they are given but from their expertise and values.

Having a fancy job title does not make someone a leader. Instead such individuals gain respect by leading through example, empowering their teams and nurturing leaders at all levels to ensure that the organisation is successful even when they are not around.

One of the key characteristics of such individuals is that they constantly challenge the status quo to see whether they are doing the right things or if what they are doing can be done better or cheaper.
Entrepreneurial leaders do not just identify the problem. Instead, they determine the solution and ensure that the required actions get implemented.  They also do not let the difficulty of making tough decisions deter them from doing that which will improve the organisation.

Such individuals set the tone and determine the values of the organisation they lead, being careful in ensuring that everything they do reflects the values they espouse and they encourage their people to examine their own values.

Most important of all, entrepreneurial leaders are focused on developing others around them and create a sense of urgency within the organisation and a mission worth achieving. They set goals that stretch people’s abilities, develop a spirit of teamwork and build confidence.

Even when there is no immediate problem, entrepreneurial leaders will often stir things up by breaking down established bureaucratic procedures or setting new stretch targets and goals.  

As a result, success is usually not measured quantitative terms but in less tangible ways such as when everyone in the organisation feels that they come to work excited and are proud to be associated with the organisation.

But how do entrepreneurial leaders achieve such results?

To facilitate this, the entrepreneurial leader needs to set the work climate, orchestrate the process of seeking and realizing opportunities and become actively involved in identifying and developing new ideas.

However, there must also be an acceptance that not everything will work and that dealing properly with failure is as important as celebrating success of all entrepreneurial leaders, especially in identifying the reasons for failure, and ensuring there is learning from any errors.

The last twelve months has seen events around the world that we would never have envisaged this time last year  and it is clear that there is a need for a new breed of entrepreneurial leader who is innovative, enthusiastic and can provide a new sense of direction in an uncertain world.

Therefore, the challenge for many organisations is to look beyond their previous methods  to recruit senior management and promote those individuals that can really make a difference quickly.

Certainly, Brexit and the challenges it brings to the public and private sector in the UK will require different approaches that may, in some instances, be unconventional but which will reap real rewards for those organisations led by entrepreneurial leaders.