A GOVERNMENT minister has celebrated the success of a hub helping new businesses in Wrexham start to thrive.

The Wrexham Enterprise Hub is celebrating having reached more than a ‘century’ of members as 114 start-ups and small businesses have now called the co-working space its home.

The milestone was recognised with a visit from the Economy and Transport Minister, Ken Skates AM, who spoke with businesses based at the Hub about their experiences and plans for the new year.

Since launching in May 2018, the Enterprise Hub has held more than 65 events and supported more than 300 individuals and businesses. As well as enabling businesses to start, the team in Wrexham has played a key role in helping its members grow, and to date enterprises at the Hub have raised more than £800k in investment and created jobs.

Ken Skates, minister for economy and transport, told the Leader: “One of the key benefits of having the Hub right in the town centre is that people are able to get the right advice and support without having to go outside of the Wrexham area. You then lock in that opportunity to the town, you lock in wealth.

“It would only take just one or two of the businesses that have been supported here to really take flight and be a great success to lead to major employment opportunities right here in Wrexham. And, if you start a business within a community, the likelihood is that business will flourish and continue to grow in that community. That is why I think it is so important that we started this venture up and continue to support it.”

The Wrexham Enterprise Hub is located in the old Iceland building on Rhosddu Road, Queens Square. The pilot for four other regional hubs across Wales, it is building a community of entrepreneurs who are already boosting the local economy.

Mr Skates added: “The Welsh Government is fully aware of the importance of innovation-driven entrepreneurship and acknowledge the importance of providing space, community and support for aspiring entrepreneurs.”

As well as providing a home for start-ups and freelancers, the Hub has also held high-profile events, ranging from guest talks about ‘creating value through customers’ from Boston’s MIT, through to tech-focussed days such as the Google Garage workshop.

The hub also hosts a Start-Up Club for individuals who have an idea but need support to develop it and an Accelerator programme that fast-tracks potential high-growth businesses.

In its first seven months of supporting start-ups the Hub has had 114 members, supported more than 300 individuals and businesses, fast-tracked 13 businesses through its Accelerator programme and run 40 workshops with 313 businesses and individuals attending.

They have held 204 surgeries with more than 11 commercial partners including Natwest and the Development Bank of Wales and welcomed more than 1,300 people through its showcase events.

Carl Turner, community manager at the Hub, spoke about how he was proud of the impact the Hub has made.

He said: “It is incredibly rewarding to see the impact the Hub has had, not just on businesses, but on the town as a whole. We have supported a number of non-business related community and social events, from a Polish heritage day, through to an Autism Awareness Conference and it was great to see some of our now more than 100 strong membership getting involved.

“One of the benefits of our town centre location is that we get a number of people popping their head in to see what is going on. Many of these people have never considered starting their own business, but after meeting the team and chatting with our members, some of them have gone on to join our community and become founders.

“For me, that is when we know we are making a difference - when people who otherwise would not have dreamt they could be their own boss, do so. That is why we do this - so that people can realise that they do not have to turn over millions to generate a decent income doing something they love. It is a real possibility now, and for many, it would not have happened if they did not have a space like the Hub in their town.”