Wales is both part of the United Kingdom and a country in our own right, with a devolved government that can make decisions quickly. Our location on the western side of Great Britain provides easy access to UK, European and world markets.
We can offer a spirit of entrepreneurship, a talented workforce, excellent business support and innovative approaches to the big challenges of our day – plus beautiful surroundings that produce an enviable quality of life.
Wales has a proud industrial heritage. Once, our economy was firmly anchored in coal, manufacturing and heavy industry. Today, we’re forging a hi-tech future. We’re building the world’s first cluster of compound semiconductor companies, and developing sophisticated networks of cybersecurity and fintech businesses.
Welsh inventions that have transformed our way of life include ball bearings, the microphone and the hydrogen fuel cell – not to mention the “packet switching” concept that made the internet possible (and even the “equals” sign in mathematics).
Nowadays, some of the things made in Wales include the wings of the Airbus A380, the Toyota Auris Hybrid engine and the immensely popular Raspberry Pi computer. It’s a near-certainty that your mobile phone will contain components that are Wales-made.
What’s more, sustainability is at the top of our business agenda. Wales was the first certified Fair Trade Nation, and the first nation of the UK to introduce a charge for single-use plastic bags. Our economic policies continue to promote and reward good environmental practice, and we have ambitious targets for reducing waste and shrinking the carbon footprint of our industries.
In 2015, our commitment to sustainable development produced the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act – the first law of its kind anywhere in the world. Every public body now has to consider the impact of its decisions on Wales’ citizens of tomorrow, and take their needs into account. The law’s provisions are overseen by a dedicated Commissioner, described as “the world’s first minister for future generations”.
In Wales, you’ll find world-class universities and a skilled workforce of 1.4million people (out of a total population of around 3.1million). Some 38% of our working-age population hold higher-education level qualifications. Being able to tap into this talent pool is a major reason why businesses come here to grow and realise their potential.
Academia doesn’t work on an “ivory tower” model here. Our eight universities have a long track record of working in close cooperation with business to help drive innovation. Within the UK, Wales is the most efficient nation at translating its funding into high-quality, high-impact research; and Wales outperforms the European average in terms of collaborating with SMEs, lifelong learning, scientific publications and sales of new-to-market innovations.
Indeed, poets and musicians are the first people to receive a name-check in our national anthem, when we sing of “Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri” (“A land of poets and singers – famous figures of renown”). Most recently, the film and television sector has been resurgent, with major productions such as Sherlock, Doctor Who, Da Vinci’s Demons and His Dark Materials relying on Welsh locations, studios and expertise.
We’re often featured in travel articles nominating the world’s most scenic destinations. This year, the Sunday Times located the UK’s best beach in Tenby, West Wales. Around a quarter of the country is designated a National Park or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Wales was the first country in the world to have a dedicated footpath that follows its entire coastline – the 870-mile Wales Coast Path. A more recent innovation is the Wales Way, a network of three driving routes that lead you through the most scenic parts of the coast, the northern castle country and Wales’ mountainous heartland.
Wales is a bilingual nation, where the Welsh language is spoken by more than half a million people. Welsh is taught in schools and celebrated at festivals such as the eisteddfodau that are the highlight of our cultural calendar. You’ll see it in place names and on street signs, and hear it on television and radio channels.
Whether you’re starting a business in Wales or just coming to visit, you’ll experience a legendarily warm welcome. It’s why going away evokes a wistful sense of yearning (and there’s a Welsh word for that: hiraeth). We’re a modern nation with an ancient heart, and we’re open for business.