Ambitious plans for a new innovation hub that’s set to create 100 new businesses and more than 250 new jobs will help transform Wrexham’s economic prospects.
More details will be unveiled by the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, at the next meeting of Wrexham Business Professionals (WBP) at the Ramada Plaza on July 14.
The group is made up of successful businesses and highly skilled professional firms of solicitors, accountants and other business professionals working together to raise the profile of enterprise and expertise that exists in the region and beyond.
They’re expecting a bumper audience of around 150 people.
Mr Skates said: “The Welsh Government has been working with the Welsh Centre for Enterprise to develop the new innovation hub that will support the creation of 100 new businesses and at least 260 jobs in Wrexham between now and 2020.
“It’s a huge opportunity for Wrexham to carve out a distinct identity as a place of innovation and technical excellence.
“This will build on some investments that we’ve already announced concerning job creation in financial services.
“Wrexham has a huge opportunity to become known as a centre of excellence for financial services and innovation and there are also particular strengths in the area in life sciences and the digital economies.
“I’m very optimistic for the future of the economy in Wrexham. The development of 100 companies with many new jobs associated with that is going to be hugely exciting and will also contribute to the regeneration of the town centre and be enormously beneficial the people of the area.
“It will only take one or two of these businesses to flourish as, for example, the Village Bakery, Pendine Park and Moneypenny have done and we could be looking at hundreds more jobs in addition.
“I’ve got great belief in innovators living in and around Wrexham and by supporting them to make their ideas and thoughts a reality we’re hoping that prosperity will be created for a huge number of people.”
Mr Skates, who is the Assembly Member for Clwyd South, added: “We’re aiming for the innovation hub to a town centre building so it’s accessible to as many people as possible and also contributes to the regeneration of Wrexham.
“I’m not able to disclose what building we’re looking at the moment but there will also be a strong link with further and higher education institutions like Coleg Cambria and Glyndwr University as well as existing employers.
“Crucially, it will have Welsh Government business support. It will also have space for businesses to grow and shared space to enable innovators to develop their ideas together.”
Gill Kreft, the Chair of Wrexham Business Professionals, said: “We are delighted that Ken Skates is able to join us once again, especially as he will be sharing such exciting news.
“The new innovation hub is not only a vote of confidence in the Wrexham area but also an investment to stimulate and generate future economic success.
“It will help cement Wrexham’s position as an entrepreneurial powerhouse at the heart of the regional economy. Business is at the heart of promoting our community’s prosperity and this will help transform Wrexham’s economic prospects and act as a catalyst for future growth.”
Mr Skates will also speak about the latest developments with the North Wales Growth Deal, a vision jointly developed by the region’s six local authorities, business and college leaders to boost the local economy to £20 billion by 2035 and connect with the Northern Powerhouse across the border in England.
He said: “I’ve announced that as a Welsh Government we’re going to be creating a specific economic regional development unit for North Wales.
“This will align well with the new regional way of working with local government and, crucially, the emerging North Wales Growth Deal, which will be subject to negotiations between local authorities and the Welsh and UK governments next month.
“The vision for the growth of the economy and of the prosperity of its people has been developed by local authorities and the North Wales Business Council with some exciting prospects and keen to ensure we can maximise the value of all the proposals, in terms of improving public transport, creating jobs and enhancing the quality of our towns and villages.
“A key component of that growth bid will be the improvement of transport infrastructure right across the region.
“Transport improvements have to be decided on a cross-border basis and for that the growth deal in Cheshire and Warrington has to dovetail with and compliment the deal in North Wales.
“I’m keen to ensure the components of each of the deals tie together so that we have major improvements in transport infrastructure, can deliver the vision of a North Wales Metro over the coming decades along with some game-changing integrated travel investment and major upgrades to our roads network.”
Mr Skates will also give an update on the new Development Bank of Wales, which is due to be located in Wrexham.
“The development bank is a huge project for Wales. And because we recognise the need for it to be an all-Wales service with a presence right across our communities it will be quartered in North East Wales,” he said.
“A number of locations are being examined in the Wrexham area so that it will be a flagship body not just for Wales but for Wrexham itself and will enable easy access to a development bank that will be challenged with raising the level of investment in small and medium-sized enterprises.
“It will be a huge benefit to those innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders who want to see their businesses grow but, to date, have struggled to get the finance for growth from the market.”
The Minister said he was looking forward to speaking again to Wrexham Business Professionals.
“The organisation is incredibly important to the economy, not just of Wrexham but the region as a whole,” he said.
“It’s always a pleasure to be with so many friendly faces – local and regional leaders who are driving our economy to create jobs, wealth and prosperity for the people of Wrexham and beyond.”