A director of the world’s leading ceramic mural specialists has hailed Denbighshire as a “great place to do business” after clinching their first big contract in China.
Nick Powell, of Denbigh-based Craig Bragdy Design, is backing Denbighshire Business Month in March which aims to highlight what the county has to offer companies and help attract inward investment.
He told how the company had secured its first sizeable contract in mainland China which will involve the creation of an intricate water fountain within a five-star gated private community residence near Beijing.
The 60-year-old businessman, who runs the company with his brother Shon and mother Jean, is encouraging businesses to get behind the March for Business initiative – a month-long Denbighshire County Council event launching on March 2.
Craig Bragdy is now bringing its unique skills and high-quality craftsmanship to countries such as Malaysia, India, Texas, Florida and New York. It has recently employed two new salesmen to oversee the many international enquiries it receives.
“We travel a lot but technology is fantastic and we have a brilliant broadband connection to promote our company via our website,” said Nick, who has lived in Denbigh since early childhood.
“Connecting to top class architects and landscape designers across the world is relatively simple because of the internet. We don’t have to be based in London or New York – Denbighshire is the ideal place for us particularly as we have the Manchester airport hub so close by.
“We’ve now just finished a big job in Malaysia building big swimming pools for private clients and another in Singapore. We’re really accelerating the effort we’re putting in.”
The company’s impressive work, which has attracted wealthy clients the world over, is hugely varied and ranges from swimming pools and wall murals to water fountains and spas.
Nick urged firms to take advantage of the free resources and seminars available during Denbighshire’s March for Business events.
“There’s support available in different ways and everybody is very proactive, especially for manufacturing and technology industries.”
“If new companies come to this territory then they will be offered help and support from the Council and the Welsh Government without question,” he said.
Carolyn Brindle, the council’s lead officer for Business Support and Local Growth, said March for Business had been designed to help businesses help themselves. It features a mixture of speakers, workshops, one-to-one advice and networking covering subjects such as HR and employment and social media over the course of the month.
“The sessions in a wider sense have been shaped by the results of our annual business survey,” she said.
“One of the questions we asked was about what training or help local firms needed and the March events are designed to address these needs.
Mike Horrocks, Economic and Business Development Manager at Denbighshire County Council, said there were currently 16 high priority projects focusing on developing the economy in Denbighshire over the next five to ten years. There are six key priorities for action, signed off by business organisations::
- building the right infrastructure for business growth
- supporting and connecting the business community
- exploiting opportunities for growth by strengthening sectors such as advanced manufacturing, food production and energy and environment technologies
- developing a high-quality and skilled workforce
- creating vibrant towns and communities to attract new businesses
- promoting Denbighshire as a great place to do business
“These key priorities are the building blocks to creating a healthy, balanced economy,” said Mike Horrocks. “One where we see business growth leading to an increasing number of well paid jobs and the overall number of people in work going up.
“It’s a long-term strategy that will benefit future generations but there are practical improvements in a number of areas already, particularly around digital infrastructure, where we’ve seen nearly 4,500 premises connected to superfast broadband in the last eight months.
“We’re working with businesses who are coming in, setting up and bringing new jobs with them, and helping local people access those jobs in order to improve their household incomes.”
Mike Horrocks added the council and its partners were also taking simple steps to get employers into schools to talk to pupils, challenge them with mock interviews and to talk to them about what skills employers are looking for in the future.