The Alacrity Foundation with its links to Sir Terry Matthews via his investment arm, Wesley Clover, and David and Heather Stephens – two sets of globally important technology entrepreneurs – is an exemplar of what can be achieved in a dynamic and fundamental sector when government proactively supports start-ups with global ambition.
Alacrity has an impact far outweighing its size and resourcing. Based in the centre of Newport, Alacrity is a beacon of economic activity producing world-class digital start-ups in a city in desperate need of regeneration. Beyond Alacrity’s local and regional impact, the Foundation has contributed significantly to the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Wales; our leadership team and graduates provide extensive pro bono technical support and business advice to individuals, companies and institutions that contribute to improving Wales’ economic and social wellbeing.
Our programme aligns with Welsh Government Economic Action Plan (EAP), Prosperity for All, published at the end of 2017. EAP contains a number of calls to action. Our programme addresses each of these:
The programme contributes to the Foundation Economy call to action too, producing companies that either provide essential goods and services or supports Foundation companies operating in those areas. A number of our companies directly operate in foundation sectors:
As well as the foundation sectors, Alacrity has also developed acknowledged competence in creating solutions in cyber and National security challenges. This is a highly specific and technical high-growth area of national and international strategic importance.
Employment is an important measure of impact for Wales. Our companies now employ 145 full-time equivalent people. These are not administrative roles, but business executives or highly trained digital engineer positions operating as innovators and entrepreneurs. It is expected that the numbers employed by our portfolio companies will expand significantly as our companies’ sales grow.
In an increasingly competitive market, the Foundation’s programme has been particularly successful in attracting top graduate talent into Wales, as well as retaining our own. 51% of our Founders attended a Welsh university. 44% of our Founders have been recruited from Russell Group universities. The graduate talent that the Foundation seeks is at a premium. The Foundation’s leadership team has developed and honed our recruitment strategy and so attract some of the brightest and best graduates in the UK and abroad. The Foundation’s programme has been able to attract an above sector average participation of female and BAME Founders (17% and 19% of our Founders respectively).
The Alacrity programme continues to expand globally using the model developed originally in Wales, there are operational centres in Lille, Istanbul, Pune, Mexico City and Santiago. New centres are under development in Kanata, Ontario and Singapore.