Category Archives: Social enterprise

On the Cardiff Pound being in the news!

Just a very quick post – feels like I’ve hardly seen my kids this week and want to spend some quality Friday night time with them – but here’s some coverage of the Cardiff Pound from the South Wales Echo today! 

Thank you to everyone who has contacted me offering support and ideas – I have been overwhelmed by the welcome this idea has received. I’ll be in touch very shortly!

On CardiffStart – a different sort of baby!

Here’s a story about a different sort of baby…

About 18 months ago, I was working on a plan to bring coworking to the centre of Cardiff.* As part of the project, I was contacting and speaking to as many new businesses as I could find – which, I discovered, was actually quite a few – particularly in terms of creative and tech startups. That was the first eye opener – I’d not thought that there was such a thriving startup scene in Cardiff. The second eye opener was that incredibly busy people would, without fail, take the time to sit and have a coffee with me and share their ideas about coworking, and how it could benefit their businesses and Cardiff in general. I am really grateful for those folk who took the time to do this – I’ve met some amazing people over the last year, and I’ve learnt – and continue to learn – a huge amount. Thank you! The third eye opener was that there wasn’t a startup scene at all. Yes, I know, I just said there was – but bear with me, I’m not going mad (der) – the thing was, it became evident that actually there were an awful lot of startups here in Cardiff, but unless you went looking for them, you’d never know they were there. Not only that, but the support available for creative and tech startups was impossible to find and not that much use when you found it; despite the millions of pounds of government support supposedly available, the best help and advice was to be found on the CardiffStart Facebook group, curated by Neil Cocker, MD and founder of DizzyJam.

It was partly as a result of this that the Startup Social was born – a cunning plan by Gareth Jones to find all the creative and tech business startups hidden away in our city, and bring them together over beer, so they could make connections and  offer mutual support to each other, as well as work out what Cardiff needed to make it more attractive to founders and investors. And it was at one of those Startup Socials that CardiffStart was properly born.  A bunch of people, sitting around a table, lamenting the fact that Cardiff was not anywhere near living up to its potential as a startup hub – and DECIDING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I remember the feeling of excitement as we talked about what we thought CardiffStart could offer, what it could become, and how we could get it going. The pictures below – they’re my notes from that first night!

Since then, there’ve been hackdays, brainstorms, steering group meetings, more hackdays – and a whole bunch of people and businesses sharing their time, space, expertise and contacts for free. The end result is that CardiffStart is now an officially incorporated Community Interest Company; it’s secured some funding; it’s been picked up by the national press; it’s got a website at, and it’s also the home of Cardiff Collective, a fab tool for connecting people who can offer, or who are looking for, advice on just about any aspect of business.

Today saw the first proper CardiffStart event in City Hall – a day of workshops, speedpitching and networking, attended by a couple of hundred people. I was jealously following on #cdfstartlaunch for most of the day because of work commitments – I did manage to make the official launch speechy bit though – and looking around the room, listening to everyone there absolutely buzzing with potential and excitement, was just brilliant. The best bit is, this is only the beginning for CardiffStart – it will go on to offer real support and engagement, and ultimately, I am convinced, will help Cardiff fulfil its economic potential over the next generation.

I have to say, I felt really, really proud to be in at the conception of this baby 🙂


*the result of this particular project was a partnership with Indycube, which now has 3 coworking spaces in Cardiff, as well as Newport and Swansea – get in touch @indycube for a free day pass!

On the Cardiff Pound

It’s just over a week since the #ShopCardiff campaign ended, and I think everyone involved was extremely chuffed at how the idea caught the attention of retailers and – more importantly – local shoppers. In the end, the campaign, conceived by Arlein Media, the folk behind TweetCardiff, reached over 500,000 twitter accounts, was featured on BBC Radio Wales, ITV Wales, and covered in the local press, not to mention inspiring several posts on people’s experiences of shopping independently for a whole week, including these:




I was pretty taken aback by the enthusiasm for the #ShopCardiff challenge – and it has given me the push I need to do something which has been on my ‘one day’ list for a while – and that is to at least start the process of developing a local currency. There are a few local currencies in existence – the first and probably best known is the Totnes Pound, but there’s also the Brixton Pound, the Lewes Pound, the Stroud Pound and, most recently and just across the bridge, the Bristol Pound. I have been following the Bristol Pound for a while, and kept on thinking that I wished someone would do a similar thing here in Cardiff. Well, I’ve decided to stop wishing, and to get on with it!

I’ve chatted to a few people about this already, and there seems to be a real interest in taking it forward. Right now, the plan of action is to research what works well elsewhere, and put together a group of people who could potentially form a steering group. I’m also putting together a little surveymonkey, that I’ll be posting and pleading with you to fill in, probably in a couple of days…

In the meantime, I would be really grateful for any help people could throw my way. If anyone has direct experience of a local currency, I’d love to hear about it – the negatives as well as the positives. If you, or someone you know, would like to be involved, please give me a shout on email or @michelledavis – and if you don’t have time to be involved, but would support the idea of a local currency, please drop me a line too!

Thank you – looking forward to the day when we have our very own Cardiff Pound!