Saturday 22 July 2023

M-SParc is coming to London - Mae M-SParc yn dod i Lundain

London Welsh Centre


Jane Lambert

I discovered M-SParc ("the Menai Science Park") while on holiday in Beaumaris just a few months after it opened (see M-SParc - Anglesey's Science Park 28 Aug 2018 NIPC News).  As I was born not far from the Anglo-Welsh border I have been coming to Northwest Wales since I was a babe in arms.  I acknowledge that is not the same as coming from there but it is enough to form a deep attachment for the region and its people.  For most of the time that I have visited the region, I have seen its industries decline and population diminish. I understood the science park's significance as soon as I saw it.   This was an initiative to arrest and reverse that decline.

Having set up clinics and inventors' clubs throughout the North of England, I have developed skills, knowledge and connections to assist start-ups and other small businesses.  I called the science park immediately after the bank holiday and offered my services as an intellectual property lawyer.  I was invited to attend the forthcoming Anglesey Business Show which I did.  I described the event in Anglesey and the Fourth Industrial Revolution on 12 Oct 2018 (NIPC Northwest).  Since then I have enjoyed participating in many events at M-SParc and have even contributed to a few.  Those events continued online right through the pandemic and they greatly strengthened my attachment to the science park and its hinterland  (see Delivering on my Promises to Wales  26 March 2020).

M-SParc does not confine its activities to its site at Gaerwen.  It holds regular events throughout North Wales and beyond (see the On Tour page of the M-SParc website).  It targets not just entrepreneurs and business owners but also students at the excellent secondary and primary schools and colleges of the region (see STEM and Skills).  One of its most commendable initiatives is Clwb Sparci which the website describes as "a unique Welsh language STEM club that offers a range of exciting activities each month, to inspire children of all ages."  Its activities range "from coding workshops and robotics classes to science experiments and maker sessions".  For younger students, there is the Miwtini Bach while older ones can train at the Skills Academy.

Between 9 and 14 Sept 2023 M-SParc will be in London (see M-SPar #ArYLonDon).  Appropriately it will start with a coding workshop for 6 to 11-year-olds delivered by Clwb Sparci at the London Welsh Centre between 10:00 and 12:00 on 9 Sep.  Sadly, my little grandson manqué, Vlad, who codes and is looking forward to his first trip to Nant Gwrtheyrn and accompanying me up Yr Wyddfa on foot is just a little bit too old for the class.   Apparently, the class will focus on Welsh idioms.   If the weather is anything like today's a useful start might be "Mae'n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn" which is more or less as ridiculous as "raining cats and dogs". The class will be repeated online to kids from around the world in the afternoon.

Clwb Sparci will also deliver a class on energy on Monday, 11 Sep to the London Welsh School. The school serves the children of the substantial Welsh community in London many of whose members speak Cymraeg as a first language or fluently as an acquired language.  The London Welsh Centre teaches the language at its premises and online and holds regular conversation classes. I attended one of the Centre's online courses during the lockdown and found it much more rigorous than those provided by Nant Gwrtheyrn, Popeth Cymraeg or Say Something in Welsh.  It is also possible to learn Cymraeg to an advanced level at the City Lit in Covent Garden.  The main event for the Welsh community in London is Wales Week which takes place every year around St David's Day.

Turning back to M-SParc's visit, the high point of the week is likely to be the "Wales Igniting Innovation" exhibition and seminar at the House of Lords which also takes place on 11 Sept.  Speakers will include Lord Wigley, David Davies MP, Secretary of State for Wales, Prof Jas Pal Badyal, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Welsh Government and Dame Ottoline Leyser of the UKRI.  Exhibitors will include AberInnovation, Cardiff Univeristy's Sbarc/Spark and Tramshed Tech as well as M-SParc.  This event is by invitation only and is fully subscribed.  However, there may be a waiting list as there is also an invitation to contact to declare an interest in participating in the event.

All the events of the last are days are open to the public.  "Digital Wales" which takes place at the Welsh Government's London office at 25 Victoria Street, on  Tuesday 12 Sept 2023 will showcase "
companies, projects and innovation with digital at their heart and Wales at the forefront."  Topics under discussion include agri-tech, creative tech, decarbonization tech, fintech, government tech, language tech and tourism tech.  An audience of alumni, civil servants, investors, politicians and potential returners to Wales is expected,

"Wales: Trade and Invest" which takes place on 13 Sept will showcase Wales as a location for international trade and inward investment.   There will be discussions on the Welsh Government's Freeport Programme which will include a discussion of the Anglesey Freeport to which M-SParc is contributing (see Emily Roberts Wales Freeport Status secured for Anglesey 23 March 2023 M-SParc website).  Other forms of business support will also be discussed by the Invest in Wales panel.

Between 10:00 and 14:00 on Thursday 14 Sept 2023, EGNI will host an exhibition and seminar on renewable energy resources in North Wales.  These will include solar, tidal, wind and nuclear power generation as well as hydrogen for transportation and heating. I attended the EGNI 2023 conference at M-SParc in May and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The last event will be "Connect to London" to be presented by Global Welsh. It will take place at the offices of the Four Agency on the Whitechapel Road between 18:00 and 21:00 on 14 Sept 2023. The advertised programme includes an introduction from Nan Williams, Global Welsh's Chair, speeches by Jamie O'Hara who is described as the "Hub Lead" and a keynote speaker who is yet to be announced in conversation with Warren East of Rolls Royce and ARM Holdings. There will also be pitches from Welsh entrepreneurs, networking and food, Unlike most of the events which require registration on the Google form attached to the Welsh Innovation #OnTour page, the Global Welsh event requires registration on its "Connect to London" form,

On the "Welsh Innovation #OnTour" page there are four coloured hexagons each of which contains a different slogan. The slogan in the orange hexagon is "Showcase the best of Welsh Innovation in London!" The slogan in the light blue hexagon is "Creating valuable connections!"  The one in the green is "Raising investment!"  The last one is "Attract Inward Investment into Wales".  I have registered for the "Digital Wales" event and I will support the initiative in any way I can.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article can call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact page.

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