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Marine renewable opportunities set to surge

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marinePEMBROKESHIRE businesses are set to benefit from imminent developments in the renewable energy industry following two key announcements made by Marine Energy Pembrokeshire last week. The Crown Estate’s selection of Wave Hub – the organisation behind the world’s most advanced site for the testing and development of renewable energy – as the organisation to manage Pembrokeshire’s designated Demonstration Zone, and the signing of a collaboration agreement between Marine Energy Pembrokeshire and South West Marine Energy Park, is welcome news for local businesses and the area as a whole. The Port of Milford Haven’s strategy, supported by their significant investment, has positioned and equipped Pembroke Port to become a key delivery centre for this growing industry. Pembrokeshire’s powerful natural resource for wave and tide, existing grid connectivity and recently improved road links coupled with the Port’s deep water quay, industrial sheds and extensive lay-down space are already beginning to attract considerable interest. Local businesses that employ highly skilled engineering personnel who are accustomed to servicing the cluster of energy facilities on the Haven will play a critical role as delivery partners. Based on a recent study by Regeneris Consulting and the Welsh Economy Research Unit at Cardiff Business School, the development of marine energy in Wales has the potential, in the next 3-4 years, to support £72m of Gross Value Added (GVA) and create over 2,000 personyears of employment during the development and installation phase, and £2m GVA with 50 FTE jobs per annum during the operational and maintenance phase. Kevin Hobbs, Short Sea Director for the Port of Milford Haven with responsibility for Pembroke Port, commented: “We are committed to developing Pembroke Port into a centre of excellence for marine renewables and engineering. Existing infrastructure and on-site specialist supply chain companies experienced in engineering and fabrication and operation of work-boats and barges are combining to create an exciting opportunity for businesses in and around the Port. “Our commitment to the industry is already being realised by Tidal Energy Limited, the company behind the Delta Stream concept which aims to harness the power of tidal flow to generate power. They chose Pembroke Port as their operational base early in 2013 and are currently preparing their device for deployment in Ramsey Sound later this summer.” Managing Director for Tidal Energy Ltd, Martin Murphy, said: “We are pleased with how our project has progressed. Pembroke Port’s flexible approach and the excellent facilities there, as a base from which to store and assemble components, deploy, monitor and maintain wave and tidal energy projects such as ours, has made a significant difference to us in advancing this innovative project.” Kevin Hobbs added: “The Pembrokeshire economy has benefited from the busy oil and gas port at Milford Haven for decades, but in recent years shipping has declined and the Port is looking to diversify in order to continue to support the level of employment the area has become accustomed to. A master-planning process for Pembroke Port is under way that is looking at areas within the site that could be adapted for use as a potential manufacturing base for wave and tidal devices. “The major announcements by Marine Energy Pembrokeshire this week are exciting news and highlight what can be achieved through collaboration between business, communities, and local and national government. At Pembroke Port we look forward to continuing to collaborate and work in partnership with all agencies so that, together, we can maximise the long term economic benefits from Pembrokeshire’s existing natural resource and skilled personnel.”

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Business

Young businesswoman scoops award

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Business owner Kimberley Davies: Best New Wedding Business 2015 for Serenity Health and Beauty Salon

Business owner Kimberley
Davies: Best New Wedding
Business 2015 for Serenity Health
and Beauty Salon

A YOUNG businesswoman has just scooped her first award after trading for as little as 2 years. 23-year-old Kimberley Davies is the owner of Serenity Health and Beauty Salon, on William Street in Cardigan.

Recently nominated by her bridal clients for her outstanding service and close attention to detail, Kimberley attended the awards ceremony of the Welsh National Wedding Awards at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea on Sunday evening (Nov 22) where she won the Best New Wedding Business Award for Region 4 (Powys and Ceredigion).

Speaking of the achievement on Facebook, Kimberley said: ‘Thank you to all of my wonderful brides and clients for nominating and supporting me in business over the last 2 years! Tonight I was presented with Best New Wedding Business award and I couldn’t be happier!’

Speaking later in the week, Kimberley told the Herald: “I never thought starting off a brand new make up and beauty business nearly 2 years ago at the age of 21 would result in winning the Welsh National Wedding Awards 2015 for Best New Wedding Business in my region. I’m absolutely thrilled that the work I do for bridal clientele has been recognised and I love nothing more than making each bride’s day individually special! Thank you so much to my lovely brides who voted and continue to support the business!”

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Business

The power of the pension pot

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'Retirement' can be more than staying alive: Margaret Mountford.

‘Retirement’ can be more than staying alive: Margaret Mountford.

FUNDING secured in the past three years has managed to make a difference to small businesses and services across Ceredigion, the Council has said.
£3.4m European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) Axis 3 money has been used by Ceredigion County Council over the last 3 years to bring about grass roots improvements to small businesses and services across the county. Finishing in December 2014, the Programme reporting shows that the initial open call undertaken by the Council in 2011 for activity proposals has paid dividends in the breadth and number of small scale improvements that have been made over the Programme period.
Reflecting on the success of the Programme, Cllr Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Tourism outlined some of the achievements: “Small businesses and tourism have been the focus for a lot of the investment. In total we have advised or assisted around 200 micro enterprises whilst giving small amounts of finance to 87 of them. This has led to the creation of 32 jobs and 14 new micro enterprises. We have managed to support 15 small scale tourism infrastructure improvements which have seen at least an additional 350,000 additional visitors. Some of these investments have been quite large, like the reinstated stations along the Rheidol Railway or the improved accommodation at the Urdd Camp, whilst others have been more modest – such as improvements to bridleways.
We haven’t ignored other important areas of rural life though, for instance we have been able to financially support 33 projects related to improving basic services such as village halls, community transport, play areas and even a broadband mast. Many villages have benefited from small scale improvements to public spaces through our Balchder Pentrefi scheme. When added together, all these individual actions have made a real contribution to the rural way of life and economy in Ceredigion.”
The Programme has now come to an end, and the County Council will be hoping that the Ceredigion will be able to benefit from the next round of EAFRD money which is mainly being delivered by the Welsh Government.

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Business

Video firm supports local businesses

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A PEMBROKESHIRE based video production company is developing its facilities to help local businesses in new ways.

Oddsox Productions is a unique, professional video production service. They work with local businesses to provide a unique and cost effective way to advertise to new customers worldwide via video advertising on website and social media.

Creative director Nikki Ross, of Pembroke, says: “It’s so difficult to set up a successful, sustainable business in this part of Wales. Lack of money in the local economy means most small businesses are struggling to survive. We work with clients in the oil and gas industry and local smaller businesses to help grow the local economy.”

Nikki gained a degree in Film, Television and drama studies at Aberystwyth University and went on to do work experience with Prospect pictures in London, helping out at the Good Food live show. Returning to Pembrokeshire she spent time working as a runner and production assistant with Curlyman productions before setting out on her own venture.

“I set up Oddsox productions in 2008 in the middle of the recession” she says. “It was tough as everything I had at the beginning was through my own finances. I bought a small hand-held camera and used it for as long as I could.”

A few years later, Nikki received a grant from the LIF (Local Investment Fund) which helped her to source new, much needed equipment.

“I used it to update my camera and buy a new tripod. It was the next step to enable better quality production. In this business you have to keep updating the equipment to keep up with technology and other competitors.”

Nikki feels that the key to a successful business is the balance between communicating with clients in a friendly and approachable manner and understanding their vision in order to get what they want out of the partnership.

She says, “Some people have a clear idea of what they want. Others need more guidance, it’s about being adaptable to people’s needs.”

This is partly behind the unusual name for the business.

“I chose the name Oddsox because every client is different. No two productions we do are the same. We are all about working to create a unique vision for each individual business.”

Nikki says it’s been good to see the business grow but she would still like to expand further, perhaps taking on a few regular staff. She currently works alone, hiring freelancers or relying on the help of friends and family if she needs an extra pair of hands. The demand for business fluctuates but each day is different. She is currently working on a new area of Oddsox.

“I’ve had so many enquiries regarding understanding how to use camera equipment and importing images and film onto social media. I decided to offer video and multimedia training and consultancy to local people and businesses to try and help them move into the 21st century, using video to help with Google ratings, encourage new innovative ideas and help get more people using social media for marketing.”

Nikki is also currently undertaking her BNUC-S qualification, in order to be able to fly a UAS, unmanned aircraft system. This, she says, will add an enhancement to the business and be more cost effective for clients who otherwise may have to pay to hire a crane or Jib to get the film shots they want. She is excited too, that Oddsox will be one of just two businesses in Pembrokeshire to be able to offer such a range of film techniques.

“The aerial system with camera attached can be used for all sorts of projects, from marine conservation filming, getting into intricate places that would otherwise not be possible; to shots of music events, rallies or boating events. The possibilities are endless!”

Nikki is a member of WIRE, Women in Rural Enterprise, a support and networking group for women in business in rural areas. “I’m currently the only member from South Pembrokeshire, as a group leader offering my multimedia knowledge and support to help promote the group and push new ideas forward.”

The ultimate aim, for Oddsox, she says is to help local businesses who don’t always have a lot of money to promote themselves and to learn the skills they need to continue to market and grow.

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