First posted Friday, November 28, 2014
This morning I attend the Innov8 Network Breakfast Event at the Bridge Innovation Centre in Pembroke Dock. This entire week has been Pembrokeshire Innovation Week with a wide range of activities going on, and a surprise project launch that has quite literally taken off (more on that later).
Pembrokeshire currently has three ‘main’ economic contributors – tourism, agriculture and the energy sector. For a comparatively small county, this means that if anything out of the ordinary occurs in one of those sectors, the impacts can be deep and far reaching. The closure of the Murco Refinery as a full time refinery (it is to be a storage facility instead) is one such example, and it will be some time yet before the full extent of that hits home within the local economy.
The purpose of Pembrokeshire Innovation Week has to be shine a spotlight on what else goes on in the county. There is indeed some overlap with the sectors identified above – Dragon’s Breath Solar work within the energy sector, but have brought a different angle to how some of the products can be utilised. The official opening of a new IndyCube location has also taken place this week taking the concept of ‘hot desking’ to a new level in the shape of providing space for ‘co-working’. It would be easy to write a whole blog on that alone to properly do the concept justice, but for now, either take a look at their website or go spend a day at one (it’s only £10 and you get coffee!).
Cllr Keith Lewis, who has recently had the Economy Portfolio added to his responsibilities within the Cabinet of Pembrokeshire County Council, spoke this morning about how vital it is to encourage development, innovation and entrepreneurship. It is very true – without it the county will be a very different place. The exciting thing is however, that there is already so much happening here, right under our noses so to speak, and now is perhaps the most exciting time to pull away the blinds and shine some light on those businesses leading the way.
This morning’s event was also being live streamed thanks to some clever technology supplied by another Pembrokeshire company, WriteMedia. Just imagine the possibilities and opportunities that creates! Present a full keynote presentation to a global audience from one of the most beautiful places on earth……. when you’re done you can head back off to walk the Coast Path, or play on the beach, go for a swim…… all without having to travel hours to a major city to be able to access the technology. Clever stuff indeed!
Coming back briefly to the surprise project launch. The Torquing Group, another small business based here in Pembrokeshire, with an already impressive list of international clients, has shown what can be done with some very smart thinking, adapting and creating technologies and 3D printing to create surveillance equipment used by the military to be light, portable and incredibly robust. Up until now they have engaged solely with such clients, but this week launched a KickStarter campaign to bring some of this technology to the day to day consumer. With an initial target of £125,000 to be achieved by 8 January 2015, just three days on from launch, they have smashed through that to the tune (at time of writing) of £162,000 and there is no sign of the interest slowing down. The product they are creating, ZANO, is designed in Wales, created in Wales, produced in Wales and sold globally. When it comes to local innovation and the reach that is possible, it’s a very strong example!
So, if you are are looking for somewhere to allow the creativity to flow, the ideas to move from dreams to reality, Pembrokeshire is the place to do it. Combining a wonderful place to live and play, with access to all that you need to work hard too – it’s really not that hard a decision…….
For more information on the opportunities available at The Bridge Innovation Centre click through to the website here