Aberystwyth University is aiming to boost rural enterprises and start-ups through a network designed to share knowledge.
With support from the Research Wales Innovation Fund, GRRaIN – Growth in Rural Resilience and Innovation Network – brings together enterprise activities from across the University’s Business School, AberInnovation, IBERS Distance Learning and the Careers Service which manages the Welsh Government’s Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy contract.
The network aims to foster the development of businesses and entrepreneurial activities in Mid Wales, with a focus on sharing innovation and practical solutions to new and existing businesses. The goal is to establish Mid Wales as an internationally renowned location for forward thinking rural enterprises.
The Welsh economy has traditionally lagged the UK in its share of high-value industries, with limited economic growth and productivity. This could be reversed with an injection of skills and new enterprises.
By better connecting and informing new businesses as well as building on its traditional strengths of agriculture and tourism, it is hoped the region will attract new industries and the skilled workforce required to diversify and strengthen the economy in Mid Wales.
The project was formally launched at an event in AberInnovation in October.
Dr Wyn Morris, Senior Lecturer in Management at Aberystwyth’s Business School and Director of GRRaIN, said: “We launched GRRaIN to provide businesses with the networks needed to share ideas, best practice and also inspire their fellow companies.
“By becoming involved in GRRaIN, organisations and enterprises within the rural economy gain access to students, graduates, researchers and start-ups and share knowledge. It also brings together entrepreneurs across the region to showcase all that Aberystwyth University has to offer.”
Ben Lake, Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion, said: “By linking the expertise of Aberystwyth University departments, AberInnovation and IBERS with the creativity of local businesses in one network, GRRaIN could prove transformational for the local economy.
“I was delighted to attend the launch of the network, and I fully support its aim of forging a closer relationship between the worlds of academia and business, so that the rural economy’s great potential is realised for the benefit of communities across Ceredigion and rural Wales.”Ben Lake MP
Rhian Hayward, CEO of AberInnovation, said: “AberInnovation is delighted to support the work of GRRaIN. We help rurally based entrepreneurs and rapidly growing businesses in our incubator and through our business accelerator programme.
“We will be connecting all our participants in GRRaIN as it will offer an excellent network for knowledge sharing amongst likeminded organisations.”
Among the immediate plans of GRRaIN are to deliver research, develop enterprise activities and building links with the rural economy through a series of webinars and events.
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