In Matt Southall's latest column for the Western Mail, he covers patriotism, Welsh networking and leveraging the power of the Welsh disapora...
With St David’s Day fast approaching and the Six Nations in full swing, this always feels a particularly patriotic time of year. As a nation, we definitely wear our “Welshness” with pride both at home and abroad.
Certainly, whenever I travel abroad for work, I happily feel obliged to act as an informal ambassador for Wales and I know that I’m not alone in this. Everyone I know who runs businesses in Wales speaks about the country proudly wherever they are in the world.
The other thing that we tend to do is to search out fellow patriots and to come together in a shared display of hiraeth; creating strong, impactful networks of passionate Welsh people worldwide.
This isn’t new, it’s something that has happened for many years but it is only recently that people are identifying this more and more as an opportunity. Wales might be a small country but it has many successful stories and a lot to offer, especially to those who might have previously been oblivious to how far the country has come.
For example, historically there have been a number of sports and community groups that had a big role to play in London’s Welsh networking and social scene. Last year, in the spirit of bringing them together and leveraging them under a single promotion around the time of St David’s Day, “Wales Week in London” took off for the first time.
And this year, for the second time, billed as "Where Wales meets London, when London celebrates Wales", for the next two weeks there will be nearly 80 activities and events promoting Wales right across London, one of the world's most important capitals.
Part of our efforts is to connect with Welsh professionals in the diaspora, and together to look to leverage their connections, their businesses and their ideas, in order to bring back something positive for Wales. This will include an event we’re running with the Welsh Government to showcase the future employment and investment opportunities in Wales, and where we hope to meet people who are thinking of moving back to Wales in the next few years and bring with them their skills, their contacts and even their businesses.
And we’re also in discussion with GlobalWelsh, another superb initiative looking to maximize and leverage the power of the Welsh diaspora worldwide.
Acorn has been active in Dublin for some time and very soon will be opening our first office there under our Acorn Global brand, through which we already have a presence in Australia with revenues of some AUD$40m. Through this “global” brand we’re considering the ways we can support the GlobalWelsh initiative; helping to take Wales across the world and helping to connect and leverage the Welshness already there, again to bring back something positive.