Welsh SME business leaders top of the class again

Business owners/managers of Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Wales have passed a 10-month LEAD Wales programme at Swansea University with flying colours.

LEAD Wales Cohort 7 The seventh cohort, comprising 24 participants, took part in the groundbreaking course to develop leadership skills and business acumen at the University’s School of Business and Economics.

Companies ranged from charities, letting agents and marketing and event companies, to equestrian centres and cabinet makers.

Speaking about the benefits of participating on the LEAD Wales programme, one of the recent graduates, Gwyneth Jones of Age Concern Ceredigion, said: “At the start of the programme, I was very much wrapped up in my own world and wondered where the benefit would be from the LEAD programme.

“I’m still in my own boat but that boat has become bigger and people have joined me on the journey. We have shared experiences and we can support one another in both the good and the bad times.

“I’ve benefitted a great deal from the coaching and Action Learning sessions. The journey continues; LEAD Wales has been inspirational.”

Steve Hartley of Dolphin Survey Boat Trips was partnered with both a jeweller and a graphic designer for the shadowing activities.

He said: “If you want to run a great business, you couldn’t come to a better place than LEAD Wales.  I’m more organised and focused on what I should be doing; I’m managing people through improved communication and I’ve learned to delegate, set goals and to follow through.

“I’ve learned so much about myself and valued the time for reflection. Coaching has been a revelation and taught me to recognise my own achievements. And I’ve learned a valuable lesson – don’t be frightened to fail, just have a go!”

To date over 325 companies have taken part in the LEAD Wales programme and have seen an average increase in turnover of 26%, resulting in the creation of more than 300 new jobs inWales.

A series of 30 programmes are being held at Swansea and Bangor Universities until 2015.