After almost 20 years as head of Menter a Busnes, chief executive officer Alun Jones is to step away from the company he joined three decades ago.
Alun, who has been with the company since its earliest days, will leave this autumn. His decision comes after nearly two decades of guiding it to commercial success, cementing its reputation as a driver for rural enterprise, and championing the use of Welsh in business.
During his time there, Alun has seen the size and scope of the not-for-profit company flourish and become a leading independent economic development company specialising in tailored support for new and growing businesses throughout Wales and beyond.
Based in Aberystwyth, with offices throughout Wales, Menter a Busnes has enjoyed particular success operating in agriculture, skills development, and food and drink. As such, the company manages several programmes on behalf of the Welsh Government, including elements of Farming Connect and Cywain.
Alun joined Menter a Busnes in 1992 to manage a rural diversification pilot project (Cwysi). It was the company’s first involvement with the agriculture sector, and some of the pilot’s techniques and services provided the foundations for the subsequent Farming Connect programme.
In 1997 Alun became a director and was appointed CEO in 2003. During that time, he has been responsible for the company’s performance, vision and strategic development.
Under his leadership, Menter a Busnes has grown from a business with around 20 staff and a turn-over of around £1.5m to a company employing 145 staff (plus 50 freelancers) and a turn-over for 2022/23 of £20m.
He said: “Being able to shape the company’s growth and development has been a real privilege. Creating and facilitating job growth in rural areas has always been a goal, and we believe in having local people deliver local services as much as possible.
“One of the things that offers me the greatest pleasure as an employer is offering work opportunities to people, who like myself 30 years ago, want meaningful work in their home area.
“Just looking at my immediate home area (the Dyfi Valley), Menter a Busnes provides employment for 12 young graduates from rural backgrounds who have been able to remain or return to their home area.”
Chair of the Menter a Busnes Board of Directors, Fflur Jones, said: “We will be very sorry indeed to say goodbye to Alun.
“His involvement with the company since its early days means that he has an incomparable amount of knowledge about the business and the rural economy here in Wales.
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