Business Buzz with Sarla Langdon

A look at the what, where and who of local business

Swansea’s Youthful TechnoWinners

On a hot summer’s afternoon, over 15 years ago, I entertained my client Beti Williams MBE the director of  Swansea University’s ITWALES initiative, to tea in my garden along with her colleague Caralinda Jefferies. We talked about ways to involve schools in the development of Information Technology activities — and the idea for Technocamps was born.

ITWALES, a programme devised by Prof John Tucker of Swansea University’s Computer Science Department, to forge better links with the local business community, started with monthly meetings addressed by expert IT speakers and was now ready to include schools in its determination to improve the use of computers in student life.

Technocamps, a now long-standing initiative, is based in the Computer Science Department at Swansea University but has partners in the Computer Science Departments in Universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Glyndwr, South Wales and Cardiff.

Now Beti emails me to say, “I am sure you will be delighted to hear of the success of a Technocamps Robotics Club based in Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn in Newcastle Emlyn. They are off to America to represent the UK in the Robotics World Championship Finals having won “Best Robot Design” in the National Finals in Bristol earlier this year. Technocamps has come a long way since we discussed it in your garden all those years ago!” 
It will be the first time in the 25-year history of the competition that a school from Wales has represented the UK in the International Robotics Finals. This achievement is a highlight for Technocamps (including its sponsors in the Welsh Government), the school, and Wales.

Shaping the future of the region

The news is full of exciting times ahead for our beautiful region, expanding universities and increase of students, massive investment from the City Deal in projects across Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, and the potential opportunity for us to be a world leader in a new renewable energy technology with Tidal Lagoon. With all this ahead, the region needs to prepare its offer

with skills, development and infrastructure. To help get things started Swansea Bay Futures are holding a unique event and exhibition on the potential growth opportunities for the future of the region and for local business. ‘The Growth Factor’ will be held at The Liberty Stadium on Monday May 15th. The programme for the day includes a business breakfast – hosted by GWLAD, a business exhibition of Swansea Bay Future’s members, key note speakers, business workshops and round table discussions on: transport; development; health & wellbeing; tourism & leisure and the City Centre offer.

For more information visit:

£1.3bn Swansea Bay City Region deal signed

The City Deal is the biggest investment for South West Wales in a generation, worth more than £1.3bn. The investment package aims to transform the economic landscape of the area with high spec digital infrastructure and world-class facilities in the fields of health and life science innovation, energy and smart manufacturing. The deal will fund eleven projects over 15 years, across the region in the fields of energy, smart manufacturing, innovation and life science. The investment will deliver up to 9,465 new jobs for the region; this will contribute to an uplift in GVA of £1.8bn. First Minister Carwyn Jones says it will transform the economy of South West Wales. He said “With a total value of £1.3bn, it will be Wales’s largest city deal, and will turbo-charge the region’s economic prosperity and create up to 35,000 jobs when spin-offs are taken into account.”

BUSTING BUSINESS MYTHS – Digital Marketing Doesn’t Exist

Recently, I was asked by Professor John Tucker Head of Computer Science Department Swansea University whether I could advise him about careers in digital marketing. I looked at him wondering how to say it politely: there is no such thing as digital marketing.

Anybody who uses this term is advised to pick up a good dictionary and look up the definition of the word ‘marketing.’ Those of us who have spent a career in large multinational marketing consultancies can confirm that marketing is a management function consisting mainly of research professionally gathered about the product, the consumer, the competitor and the manufacturing corp-oration—all on a continuous basis. Equally important functions are distribu-tion, and overseeing the retail network at the point of sale.

Marketing information is then used to brief the sales force and the advertising agency (usually itself a major corporation) so that they can use the research data effectively to reach the customer using mass communications media. The media department in the advertising agency will then prepare a media strat-egy, media plan and media schedule using the most suitable communications vehicle, selecting from broadcast media, print media, outdoor media and digital media.

Digital media (e.g. websites, blogs, email, Twitter, Facebook, You tube etc.) play a very small role in the marketing process and only a complete novice would use the term “digital marketing” which is not just meaningless, it simply does not exist. Digital media are used as a small part of the marketing com-munications process along with all the other media mentioned above.

In fact, google the words Digital Marketing and log onto the most respected business website, The Financial Times. Here is their definition of digital marketing: ‘The marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers. The key objective is to promote brands through various forms of digital media.’

This definition confirms my premise that digital media are used after the marketing process is completed — according to the most unimpeachable source.

A new science festival is coming to Swansea University

Swansea University is to showcase its science research as it launches a brand new festival. The Swansea Science Festival which will be held from September 8-10, follows the success of the British Science Festival and weekend Family Festival last September, which attracted over 25,000 visitors and put Swansea University research on the map. The university dubbed the festival last year as an “enormous success” and want to create a “science legacy” for Swansea with the new venture. The free festival will be hosted by the University’s festival partner, the National Waterfront Museum, and will kick off with an evening event on Friday, September 8, especially for adults, followed by a weekend of family events. For more information visit


Established in 1943, the Swansea and West Wales Occupational Safety Group has over a hundred members and, as the winner of numerous European and UK awards, is one of the most distinguished of the seventy such groups in the UK.

It is affiliated to and works closely with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) — that scourge of the non-compliant, irresponsible organisation.

For local business, membership of the group is a useful resource for safety accreditations (e.g. IOSHH and COSH) and for training and updates on compliance requirements, all of which maintains and improves the safety standards of commercial, manufacturing and public sector operations.

The Swansea and West Wales Occupational Safety Group plays an important part in our bus-iness life and has regular member meetings with expert speakers and peer-group networking opportunities.

In addition, their annual full-day seminar attracts a capacity audience. This year the theme for the Alec Blackburn Memorial Seminar is ‘GETTING TO GRIPS WITH MANUAL HANDLING’ and is aimed at all organisations and safety advisors, assessors, trainers and managers who have to control manual handling in all sectors including light and heavy engineering, workshops engineering/garage workshops, construction sites, garages, kitchens, health and care sector and anyone who is involved in managing manual handling. The seminar is being held on 28th June 2017 at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea.

To book a place contact: Ann Jones MBE. Secretary, Swansea Safety Group Mobile: 07870 316475 Email:


IoD WALES Book online at IOD Wales website

11th May 2017 Business Leaders’ Breakfast. 8am at Park Plaza Hotel, Cardiff

19th May 2017 Director of The Year Awards, Lunch 12.30 at Swalec Stadium, Cardiff


SOUTH WALES CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Book online at Chamber of Commerce website

9th May 2017 Europe Day Breakfast 9am at Swansea Marriott Hotel

22nd May Infrastructure Lunch with Ken Skates AM at Clayton Hotel, Cardiff

25th May Summer Barbecue 6pm at Swansea Marriott

1st June 2017 Beer Tasting 6pm at Bierkeller, Cardiff

23rd June 2017 Business Breakfast at

Heronston Hotel, Bridgend


SWANSEA BUSINESS CLUB Book online at SBC website

19th May 2017 Flagship Lunch with Alan Johnson at Brangwyn Hall

23 June 2017 Lunch with Owain Davies, MD of Amancu. Haliwell Centre Carmarthen
14 July 2017 Lunch with Alun Cairns, Welsh Secretary of State at Margam Orangery

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