Cardiff Business Club: A year in review

Date Posted: 15 December 2017 Cardiff Business Club: A year in review

Carols, snow and the customary end-of-year newsletters ring in what has been a fantastic year for the Cardiff Business Club. Cardiff itself is booming, and is fast becoming a hub for new businesses. A new tech hub has been announced in the city thanks to a £21m investment by the UK government – this, alongside the construction of some fantastic new spaces in the city centre, and the construction of a new hub for 4,000 civil servants in the city centre.

With an increase to the total investment, a rapidly developing hub for businesses in the heart of the city, and the upcoming South Wales Metro, Cardiff is truly transforming into one of the best places in the world to do business.

It has been a fantastic year for Club, too. With a plethora of speakers from a range of sectors, we really were spoilt for choice and that has made our end of year review all the harder. From Aileen Richards in January to Sir Michael Rake in November, the great and the good graced the Club this year and shared with us a wealth of insight garnered during each of their respective and incredibly impressive careers to date.

Here, we share with you some of those insights taken from the last 12 months. We hope you learn from- and enjoy- them too.


Lloyd Dorfman CBE, Founder of Travelex and Chairman of the Prince’s Trust (July 2017)

On innovative practices:

“Often in difficult economic times you will see growth in the number of new start-up business, as we saw during the recent recession. In fact, last year saw a record number of new businesses starting up and in today’s world you can start a new business from your bedroom, which is a fantastic thing to do especially when the so-called ‘job for life’ is now a thing of the past.”

On investing in the future:

“When Travelex reached its 25th anniversary in 2002, I began to look for ways to help young people start their own business and provide them with the opportunities that I was fortunate to have but they don’t. This is one of the key things that The Prince’s Trust does. Since 1983, the Trust has helped 85,000 businesses to start up.”

On diversity:

“It is important to have as many stakeholders as possible represented around the table. Boards that become too introspective, limited and underrepresented are not healthy and actually become rather insular.”

Read the full review here


Lawrence Dallaglio OBE, Founder of RugbyWorks (July 2017)

On setting out alone:

“Rugby came into my life at a time when I really needed it – it provided me with a family and support network to give me the confidence to move forward at a moment when I was going through a difficult spell. This is where RugbyWorks really does help – it builds confidence, provides a focus and arms them with the skills they need to move forward with their lives.”

On finding the right time to intervene:

No one is born bad, but a combination of circumstances that sometimes include abuse, whether physical or alcohol or drug-related, sees them become excluded from the mainstream … Just because the education system has given up on them shouldn’t mean that society should do too.”

On leading by example:

“The gap between mainstream education and alternative provision is getting worse and worse, particularly around careers advice, and RugbyWorks is an opportunity to plug that gap and help to change the way young people think about themselves and how they can create a better future in employment.”

Read the full review here


Liv Garfield, Chief Executive of Severn Trent (February 2017)

On driving change:

“Change has to be grounded and in the interests of all stakeholders. It is about looking at the bigger picture and considering what is best for those both within and outside the business.

On encouraging employees to ‘buy in’:

“In my first two weeks of joining the company, I met with over 2,000 employees and what was obvious to me was that they wanted to be listened to, to be heard from those at the top of the organisation.”

On decision making:

“Whenever we make any decision about the organisation, we ask people to consider that if they make that decision this way or that way, which way will the customer trust you most if they were sat on your shoulder watching you make that decision?”

Read the full review here


Tim Parker, Chair of the National Trust, Samsonite and the Post Office (April 2017)

On leadership:

“Most organisations can benefit from having a different style of leadership from time to time. Hopefully I bring things that are slightly different to the Trust from what Simon was able to bring. That is a healthy thing to do.”

On experiential businesses:

“We’re creating experiences, and the challenge for us to make sure that our houses are not too static – some people are interested in history, some in the architecture, others just fancy a cup of a tea and a wander around the gardens while others want to make a day of it and take an extensive look around the grounds.”

On the shift to digital storytelling:

“There is nothing to say that the next generation of twenty to thirty something’s will have as much interest in Georgian architecture as those in their sixties or older. You can present really beautiful things at all sorts of different levels, so regardless of whether you want to delve into the detail or simply get a snapshot of something, then digital will let you do that.”

Read the full review here

2017 has been one of the Club’s most successful years to date, with a litany of high level business professionals providing their insights. Our 2018 calendar is soon to be confirmed – stay tuned for more details.

From all of us at the Cardiff Business Club, have a very merry Christmas.