AN INITIATIVE to foster entrepreneurship among young people and boost the use of the Welsh language in business has been launched by Menter a Busnes as part of its 30th-anniversary celebrations.

The independent economic development company offers a wide range of bilingual business support and skills development, many of them with a rural and agricultural connection.

Responsible for delivering several flagship enterprise projects including Cywain, Farming Connect and Menter Moch Cymru, MaB is a leader in providing bilingual business support across communities in Wales.

It works closely with Welsh Government on developing the food sector and has exhibited the best of what Wales has to offer at the main trade events throughout the UK and international markets including Shanghai, New York, Dubai, Paris and Milan.

It was this wealth of experience – garnered over 30 years – that led MaB to create its schools initiative, which will open for applications in January 2020.

MaB’s schools initiative will see the company working with up to 30 schools in Wales – working with Welsh learners and first-language Welsh speakers – providing support and advice to allow schools and pupils deliver required activities, while at the same time encouraging them to think about contributing to their local economy.

MaB will appoint an enterprise mentor for each of the 30 schools, and a range of support measures will be delivered through the medium of Welsh and based on a school's requirements.

The Welsh language is at the heart of MaB’s day-to-day activities, and through its schools initiative it is playing an active role in assisting the Welsh Government in the drive to achieve one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Menter a Busnes chief executive Alun Jones said: “The reason behind establishing Menter a Busnes from the very start, was to ensure that Welsh speakers made the best possible contribution to develop the economy in Wales.

“This meant that developing new resources and establishing new ways of working was essential, and this still holds true today.

“To coincide with the main objective, we also gave the opportunity to increase the use of the Welsh language within businesses, and this, in turn, increased the status and use of the language.

“As the company grew and established itself as one of the main business support providers in Wales, we have ensured that our services remain appropriate for Welsh speakers, which means much more than just being available bilingually.

"The company now contributes widely across Wales to develop its economy in many sectors, while also making a contribution to reaching 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050.”

Menter a Busnes director Elen Llwyd Williams said: “Funnily it was looking back at the wealth of enterprise education activities that Menter a Busnes undertook in its early years, that highlighted current gaps in provision, and that led us to develop this new initiative for the future.

“We very much believe that introducing the concept of self-employment and business start-up to children and young people will ensure we have a pool of future Welsh entrepreneurs. Tracking their enterprise activities over the long term will provide valuable insight into attitudes towards self-employment and economic activity.”

From its original base in Aberystwyth and two members of staff, MaB now employs 130 people located throughout Wales. In addition to Aberystwyth, there are offices in Bangor, Cardiff, Meifod, St Asaph and Carmarthen.

The company also contracts with some 60 self-employed contractors at any given time, and makes a conscious effort to retain as much as possible of it’s £17m annual turnover is invested within the Welsh economy.

Each year the MaB team chooses a charity to support, and for the company’s anniversary year is focussing attention on the importance of mental health and wellbeing.

By working with local branches of the mental health charity Mind Cymru, MaB aims to raise awareness and share experiences on mental health and activities that support wellbeing.

During July the company partnered with Cardiff based law firm Darwin Gray to organise a conference entitled 'Taking Care of Business: Mental Health at Work' which was held at the National Library in Aberystwyth. Following its success, a similar event is to be held at St Fagan’s Cardiff.

As part of MaB’s fundraising efforts, a charity auction will be held at this evening’s 30th-anniversary celebration event with the proceeds donated to Mind Cymru. The event will also highlight the work of MaB’s various activities and projects along with a selection of Welsh food and drink.