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LEAD Wales programme supports the growth of Welsh businesses

LEAD Wales, a project based at the Universitys Business School,  is well placed to play a leading role in supporting the growth of Welsh businesses, according to research published today (Tuesday 30 October).

Leading Small Business in Wales: The LEAD Wales Programme 2010-2012, a research report looking at the first two years of the LEAD Wales leadership development programme, highlights the impact the programme has had on the growth of small and medium sized businesses in Wales and on the Welsh economy.  

These include, at the end of the ten month programme:

  • An average increase of 2.3 jobs per business (some part-time);
  • An average increase in annual turnover of 26% per business.

Wales-wide the data shows that a year after completing the programme businesses continued to grow, with over half of the respondents reporting an increase in turnover and employee productivity.

Ceri Jones, Project Director LEAD Wales, said: “LEAD Wales is a leadership development model that successfully supports owner-managers of small and medium sized businesses, in the business environment they are operating.

“This research demonstrates that LEAD Wales is clearly contributing to the economic prosperity of Wales, with businesses reporting a marked increase in turnover and staff.”

Co-author of the research report Dr Karen Jones said: “It is also encouraging to see that LEAD Wales is having a sustained impact with businesses continuing to expand and innovate a year after completing the programme.”

The LEAD Wales programme is funded by the European Social Fund, Welsh Government and Swansea and Bangor Universities to deliver a leadership development programme for owner-managers of small and medium sized businesses in the Convergence Regions of Wales.  To find out more visit

  • LEAD Wales is a ten-month leadership development programme open to owner-managers of small and medium sized enterprises, including some managing directors of social enterprises,  within the Convergence Regions in Wales.
  • 375 owner-managers registered to the programme, 1 July 2009 to date.
  • 239 owner-managers of small and medium sized businesses graduated from the LEAD Wales programme, 1 July 2009 to date.
  • The research report has been produced by the LEAD Wales research team.  The figures are based on data collected between 2010 and 2012 comprising of; baseline questionnaire, exit questionnaire, annual follow-up survey, focus groups and in-depth autobiographical narrative interviews.   

Steve Edmunds, Cottam & Brookes Eng Ltd completed the LEAD Wales programme in May 2011, “Personally, I have realised that I need to take a step backwards to allow me to see where the business is going.  This has been difficult in a period of growth but it seems to be working.  The LEAD Wales programme has been set up and run brilliantly.  It is now very easy to see why this course has the results it has.”

Rachael Wheatley, Director of Waters Creative completed the LEAD Wales programme in November 2011, “I was delighted to be one of the finalists in the business leadership category in the prestigious Institute of Wales (IWA) and Western Mail Inspire Wales Awards 2012.  I know that if I hadn’t joined the Lead Wales programme that I would not have had the confidence to enter the awards; and I am convinced that the skills I learned on the programme were instrumental in my being shortlisted to the final three.”

Anne-Marie Rogan, Chief Executive Officer at Swansea YMCA completed the LEAD Wales programme in October 2012, “This year I decided to join the LEAD Wales programme and I can truly say professionally and personally it's been one of the best things I have ever done.  Why? - for me the timing, the content, the people.  The LEAD PROGRAMME has literally made me realise the true potential of leadership-it's helped me understand why I do what I do, the impact of what I do, how I can improve what I do, ...the effect it has on the business and how my actions and my leadership impact the direction, the style, culture and the bottom line.”

Kevin Leonard Betts, Owner Manager of CarbonSave Solution completed the LEAD Wales programme in July 2012, “LEAD was a great bonding experience.  One of the best points was the amount of support from the action learning sets when things were difficult for me.  It enabled me to deal with situations taking the emotion out of it, calling upon people anytime who have become good friends”.

Gwyn Humphrey Jones, Owner Manager of Meditec Ltd completed the LEAD Wales programme in July 2012, “LEAD gave me some very good leadership ideas and has generated lots of further business for me – the Action Learning Sets were very helpful.  I really appreciate that I had the opportunity of attending the programme”.

Christopher B Owens, Owner Manager of Hughes Bros (Llanrwst & Trefriw) Ltd completed the programme in July 2012, “The LEAD experience gave me more confidence to challenge my demons & drive my business forwards with a more complete tool kit”. 

Karen Hughes, Michael Phillips Care Agency Ltd completed the LEAD Wales programme in July 2012,I began the LEAD Wales programme with slight trepidation in September 2011 but having graduated in July 2012 I can honestly say it has been a valuable experience.  The initial experiential brought out the best in everyone and many friendships were formed.  I gained extensive knowledge from each Masterclass, and the small Action Learning Sets were a priceless tool for everyone in my group.  Feeling sceptical was natural, as sharing ones closest business confidences is a big ask and the actual shadowing and exchanges are an amazing experience, both knowledge, clarity and new ideas helped those taking part to evolve and drive their business forward.  I’d recommend the LEAD Wales programme to any business owner.

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Publication date: 30 October 2012