Memorandum submitted by Hicks Randles
We were pleased during the early summer to receive
a copy of the press release from the Select Committee promoting
Wales on the international stage, this is vital if our region
is to become a major player in the global market place.
Over the last year Hicks Randles, together with
Chris Ruane MP, Vale of Clwyd, and Celtec, the North Wales Training
and Enterprise Council, have embarked upon a unique initiative
to promote Wales in the global arena. Members of the Welsh Grand
Affairs Committee will recall Chris Ruane's address to them earlier
this year on the value to Wales of the expatriate community.
At this moment Click-Cymru is designed to harness
the global, all Wales market force of the expatriate community
develop youth and cultural links;
create business to business mentor
increase awareness of Welsh products
There is hard evidence to underpin the view
that Wales is coming from behind in the promotion and awareness
stakes. There is no doubt that on the international stage the
Scots and the Irish have a bold footprint when it comes to creating
awareness of their national brand. The Land of Song needs a more
harmonious approach to selling itself on the world stage.
Our project provides the hub which will facilitate
effective promotion to a niche but powerful team of market players.
Already many of our initiatives are beginning to bear fruit. We
felt that it would be helpful to the committee if we set out some
of our thoughts, concern and hopes for the future.
Over the last few months we have developed a
vehicle enabling regular communication to the expatriate community.
This has been developed through our "e-zine" (e-mail
newsletter) and via the excellent on-the-ground links that we
have, particularly in the USA with the Welsh North American Chamber
of Commerce. This informative easy to read newswire service is
already providing a business and cultural introduction service
to businesses and cultural groups who would otherwise not have
had an identifiable vehicle to link them.
We have also taken the lead role in establishing
an Objective One project team to provide the mortar in the building
blocks of a unique set of project initiatives to enable small
to medium size businesses and cultural organisations in West Wales
and the Valleys to access help to develop their international
links. The team has been at pains to ensure that we do not duplicate
the work already been carried out by the existing agencies, and
I am now pleased to tell you that after some considerable difficulties
we are at last getting some helpful comments and input form the
agencies. To enable the Committee to gain a fuller picture of
the Click-Cymru initiative, attached are two papers, the second
and more detailed of which is being considered by our partnership
at the end of this month.
This unique nature of Click-Cymru is that it
is a private sector led initiative and takes a practical approach
to developing projects which are easily accessed by the beneficiary
organisations and businesses in West Wales in the Valleys. However,
to develop this concept, we have had no assistance, other than
in kind from Celtec. We do not have the luxury of large research
budgets and if, for example, we had funding at the coalface, to
help us research in more depth the expatriate community links
allied to trade and culture, this would be a major step forward.
An initial research budget of between 50-60,000 would enable us
to carry out the following work pending the approval of an Objective
research expatriate supply chain
refine the Celtic Society database;
develop detailed questionnaires to
societies and expatriates;
working closely with the Foreign
and Commonwealth Office to ensure that the expatriate data is
available to their commercial teams; and
further develop the Click-Cymru web
portal and e-zine.
It is easy to be critical of the agencies' role,
but our experience has not been a good one. Until the last few
days we have, despite the efforts of many members of our partnership,
been unable to gain positive responses from the Welsh Development
Agency. We had similar problems very early in the process in communications
with the Wales Tourist Board. I am happy to report that both these
organisations are now in dialogue with us. If Wales is to be a
force to be reckoned with, we must ensure that seamless processes
are in place to present a joined-up approach to promotion and
awareness. It is important to examine the roles of both the private
and public sector and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in promoting
Wales in the world.
They do say that success breeds success. The
most important element from our experience is to ensure that the
public sector listen and react to private sector initiatives which
are innovative and cost effective.
In the process of the Committee's evidence gathering
it would be helpful, we feel, for you to hear evidence form the
private sector to create a balanced overview. We would be happy,
if you wish, to come and present a more detailed and personal
view to the Committee.
20 November 2000