BUSINESS leaders headlined an event showcasing the best of a popular management course.
Bangor University hosted a discussion and Q&A at the National Eisteddfod in Llanrwst, presented by ION Leadership senior programme manager Gwenllian Owen.
Gwenllian was joined by Manon Cadwaladr from Cymen translation services, Cadnant Planning’s Sioned Edwards and Tanya Whitebits founder Shoned Owen, who spoke about how the qualification has had a positive impact on their lives, personally and professionally.
All three are currently studying on the Leading Growth Programme and believe ION – which, along with 20Twenty Business Growth is up to 70% funded by the European Social Fund via Welsh Government – has already affected their companies.
Shoned reflected on how she took Tanya Whitebits from a small mobile tanning service in Pwllheli to become one of the sector’s most respected beauty firms and product manufacturers.
“I had a £700 machine and was travelling around town tanning people before the business really became popular and left me wondering where to take it next,” she said.
“I came up with a name that reflects my sense of humour and that people would remember and went from there, later moving on to develop my own products as a lot of those on the market were not of a standard I was happy with.”
“They left people looking orange and didn’t smell very nice, so I invented my own.”
Shoned added: “I joined the ION programme because being self-employed I thought it would benefit me and help build my confidence.
“It certainly has, and I’ve made new friends as well; we all learn from one another and can share advice and ideas, which has been extremely valuable.”
Sioned Edwards echoed those words and talked of the growth at Conwy and Chester-based town planning consultants, Cadnant Planning.
“As a young leader I wanted to help develop the company,” she said.
“I’m dynamic and driven and felt ION could help me channel that, which it has with the coaching and advice we’ve received.
“It was great to get a different perspective, to go back to the classroom and have the time and space to think about the business and work on it.
“It was challenging but we all worked together and made friends, and that network of people are always on the end of the phone should I need them, or vice versa.”
Gwenllian thanked them all for appearing and added: “The course has been incredibly well-received over past years but it’s important that people hear from those who have experienced it first-hand, to find out how beneficial it could be for them, or their business.
“I thank everyone who came to see us at the Eisteddfod, we had a brilliant day.”
Beginning in 2009 with LEAD Wales, Bangor University has welcomed hundreds of company owners, managers and entrepreneurs onto European-funded qualifications over the last decade.
Celebrations will take place over the summer, culminating in the ION Leadership and 20Twenty Business Growth conference at Venue Cymru in Llandudno on November 6.
North Wales Means Business is one of the key dates in the calendar for companies across the region and attracted more than 200 delegates last year.