CEO, Comtek Network Systems UK Ltd and chair DBF

The business community has a historic track record of influencing and tackling the economic and social challenges facing our communities and the nation.

We know how to create wealth and jobs, and how to compete with other nations in trade and exports. We have many entrepreneurs who are creators and innovators.

The country has to value their talent and make use of their expertise. They are patriots and have a passion to make their communities more prosperous.

When the UK government announced 24 Enterprise Zones in England on August 17, 2011, the business community, led by the DBF, launched a campaign demanding that the Welsh Government should do the same in Wales.

We energetically campaigned for Deeside to be given an Enterprise Zone Status. Despite the initial resistance from the Welsh Government and some pessimists, that Enterprise Zones will lead to the displacement of businesses from Wrexham to Deeside, and would never create real economic benefit, the DBF was victorious in its objective.

The Welsh Government recognised the enthusiasm and grassroots passion demonstrated by the business community and awarded Deeside an Enterprise Zone status. The business community proved the pessimists wrong; there was no displacement of the businesses from other parts of Wales to Deeside.

In fact, the Deeside Enterprise Zone is the most successful Enterprise Zone in the UK.

Even while we are going through a deep recession caused by the pandemic, the Deeside Enterprise Zone is expanding within the Northern Gateway and creating much-needed jobs.

It was the business community led by the DBF, that fought hard and supported the creation of the largest solar farm in the UK within the Deeside Industrial Park. The project brought in huge investment and much needed renewable energy for North Wales.

It was the business community in North Wales led by the DBF, that fought and persuaded the council to approve the establishment of one of the largest incinerators in the UK, deploying the most advanced technology in converting North Wales' waste into electricity.

The businesses in North Wales led by the DBF, launched an energetic campaign three years ago demanding the UK and Welsh governments recognise Full Fibre Gigabit speed broadband as the most urgent transformative infrastructure investment for North Wales.

Our voice has been heard and substantial investment has now been allocated for our digital infrastructure via the North Wales Growth Deal

We are now fighting for a 'Freeport' for North Wales. We know from the international data that Freeports if designed properly, will bring a massive number of jobs and businesses to the region. Sceptics are putting forward the same argument as they did when we demanded an Enterprise Zone for Deeside.

We will continue our campaign for manufacturing to be recognised as the bedrock of the region's economy.

The vast majority of the business campaigners in North Wales live within the community that they have their businesses in and have passion for a prosperous North Wales. The UK government and the Welsh Government must listen to the voice of businesses.

The government should recognise the local business community as their critical friend.

The businesses in North Wales have a proven track record of unity and resilience. They have an impressive fighting spirit and are determined to continue to transform our region's economy by creating a fertile environment for investment and jobs.