Local celebrities and businesses come on board to support budding entrepreneurs from The College Merthyr Tydfil


A team of seven enterprising students from The College Merthyr Tydfil are busy preparing for an entrepreneurship experience of a lifetime as they get ready to compete in the Worldwide Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Competition taking place in Frankfurt on 14th June 2014.



The team, which qualified for the worldwide competition final after successfully defeating 6,000 other Welsh students to win the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Cymru 2014, will compete against students from colleges in Europe, Australia and the Americas to claim the Global Entrepreneurship Winner title for 2014.

Part of the Big Ideas Wales campaign the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge is funded by the Welsh Government and European Regional Development Fund to increase awareness of entrepreneurial opportunities of young people in Wales.


This is the first year that students from the college have successfully won the regional competition and then gone on to represent Wales against the rest of the world and their success represents a fantastic achievement for the students, the college and the town of Merthyr Tydfil.


Christine Bissex, Head of Entrepreneurship at The College Merthyr Tydfil said “I have been extremely pleased with the skills and commitment shown by The College Merthyr Tydfil team.  The students have been a pleasure to work with and excelled at the Welsh regional event. Their confidence in presenting and ability to work on a project in such a short timespan and under event pressure was second to none and I look forward to taking them onto the final stage of the challenge”.


Indeed the level of anticipation and excitement amongst students, staff, local business partners and the whole community of Merthyr Tydfil has reached fever pitch as staff at the college have been busy liaising with local businesses and celebrities to build up a network of sponsors and supporters in preparation for the event. This has generated a fantastic collaborative spirit which is particularly pertinent within the wider Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014 theme: Get Connected!

First to come on board was Roy Noble who has pledged to support the students by announcing their achievement on his Sunday morning radio show on 8TH June.  


A number of companies and organisations have generously donated money to fund the students’ trip, including a £5,000 contribution from the Welsh Government and sponsorship from Merthyr Tydfil Football Club, Universities of the Heads of the Valleys Initiative, Morlais Medical Practice, Merthyr Tydfil Business Club, Allison Richards Ceramics, Taskforce Paintballing, Eric Lewis OBE, and Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association.  


Members of Merthyr Tydfil Business Club have also provided a sounding board to the students by inviting them along to deliver their presentation pitch and give them constructive feedback.  Karen Dusgate, Chairperson, Merthyr Tydfil Business Club and Director of Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association commented “The members of Merthyr Tydfil Business Club were delighted that the students were able to make their presentation to the Business Club meeting this month. We were very impressed and incredibly proud of their achievement. It is wonderful to see such talent representing the communities of Merthyr Tydfil. We all wish them lots of luck and hope they enjoy the wonderful experience of competing in Germany.


George Savva, Chairman of ‘It Takes 7 seconds’ has also come on board to support the students. George expressed his delight at the determination of the team “The College Merthyr Tydfil GEC team have demonstrated more than sufficiently that they have the drive and determination to make their ventures pay off. They now need to go and prove just how much quality we have in the people of Wales”


The team, which have called themselves ‘The Iron Dragon, Y Ddraig Heaern’ have established a Facebook page dedicated to the competition, drawing in lots of support and likes from members of the local community.


In addition, staff at the college have set up a support structure to ensure that the students get as much help, advice and guidance as possible, throughout the international competition. This will include the establishment of a Communications Hub at the REDHOUSE, Old Town Hall in Merthyr Tydfil, which will act as a base for supporters to come and help the students during their task on Saturday 14th June. To assist communications with the students, local company EE have kindly donated mobile phones and ipads for use at the REDHOUSE and by the students in Frankfurt.

Tony Jenkins, Head of Resource Management – Campaigns at EE commentedEE was delighted to hear about the college’s success at the ‘Group Stage’, and is proud to be able to play a part in ‘The Final’. We hope our contribution provides a communication advantage throughout the competition. Good luck team!”

Anyone wishing to support the team can do so in a number of ways:

Go along to the Redhouse during Saturday 14th June

Volunteer to be at the end of a phone/pc in order to provide support/advice during Saturday 14th June

Go on to Facebook and like ‘The Iron Dragon’ page and post a message of support to the students


The numbers/e-mails to contact if you are able to help are:

Leanne Jones, Head of Communications and Planning, The College Merthyr Tydfil

Tel: 01685 726179 or email: l.jones3@merthyr.ac.uk


Part of the Big Ideas Wales campaign the Global Enterprise Challenge Cymru regional competition was funded by the Welsh Government and European Regional Development Fund to increase awareness of entrepreneurial opportunities of young people in Wales. 

About Big Ideas Wales

Big Ideas Wales is a Welsh Government campaign designed to encourage young people to be more entrepreneurial and help those interested in starting a business take their ideas forward. This is a key action of the Welsh Government’s Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy for Wales Action Plan 2010-15. Further information on the actions and Strategy is available on www.BigIdeasWales.com 

The campaign itself is managed by Menter a Busnes as the service provider for the Youth Entrepreneurship Services 16-24. This service is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

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