Sir Terry Matthews: Wales needs to keep top graduates

Wales must find a way to keep its top graduates, one of the country's most successful entrepreneurs has told MPs.

Billionaire telecoms tycoon Sir Terry Matthews said a "little touch of greed" was good.

Giving evidence to MPs on how to create jobs, he said new graduates had to be helped into business careers.

He said last year's Ryder Cup golf tournament, played at his Celtic Manor resort, raised up to £100m for the local economy.

He told the House of Commons' Welsh affairs committee that he believed Wales had excellent graduates.

"We have to find ways of keeping them," he said.

"They have to be in business, they have to want to be rich, there's nothing wrong with having a little touch of greed, nothing wrong in that, people have to have ambitions."

'Agile country'

Simon Gibson, chief executive officer of Sir Terry's company Wesley Clover, criticised the "monolithic rules culture" among civil servants in the Welsh Assembly Government.

He said he did not understand why "a small agile country like we are, or we should be in Wales, is burdened with a civil service that is monolithic in its rules structure".

"We're somewhere between a small government and a local authority in terms of critical mass and size. Why don't we have an organisation that can move quickly?"

Sir Terry called for tax credits for investment in small businesses, which he said could be done without costing the Treasury money.

He told MPs the plans was already very successful in British Columbia and that the rest of Canada was looking into the model.

And he said it was not worth investing in trade missions to countries such as China and India. Investment should instead go towards innovation and to graduates starting up companies.

He estimated the Ryder Cup raised between £80m and £100m for the local economy when it was played at the Celtic Manor resort which he owns near Newport last year.

The assembly government's economic impact assessment of the golf tournament is due to be published next week.

More than 50,000 fans flocked to the Celtic Manor on each of the three scheduled days of the event last October, despite heavy rain.

Mr Gibson said "no other event in history" had put Wales on the map so successfully, but that the event "should be a starting point, not the end line" to attract tourism and businesses to Wales.

He added that "a very good image was cast of Wales, and we need to capitalise on that".

Wesley Clover will be launching a graduate programme in Wales in the next two days, allowing graduates to have ownership over part of companies they set-up.

Sir Terry said that his experiences in Wales "in terms of help from the government or from graduates are as good or better than anywhere else in the world".

Mr Gibson spoke of the need to ensure more entrepreneurs were created in Wales. He referred to Queen's University in Belfast which has introduced entrepreneurship as a core part of every course.

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