Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Minutes of Evidence

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 to:

    —  promote Wales;

    —  develop youth and cultural links;

    —  create business to business mentor cells; and

    —  increase awareness of Welsh products and capabilities.

  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 One bid:

    —  research expatriate supply chain needs;

    —  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.

Lindsay Hicks
Senior Partner

20 November 2000

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 27 March 2001