As one of Confused.com’s early employees, Dan Mines – a digital transformation specialist now employed by Admiral – has seen first-hand how a start-up can grow rapidly into a successful business. Through his role in Admiral he now collaborates with entrepreneurs to keep Admiral at the forefront of innovation in insurance. In taking up his position as a REAP panel member, Dan is confident the programme will encourage a new generation of entrepreneurs to emerge from Wales and fuel the nation’s economy.
Dan Mines first came to Wales to study for a business degree at Cardiff University in 1997 and followed that up by staying on to take a computer science postgraduate. And by the time that had finished, he knew he wanted to stick around for the long haul.
“I love Wales as a place to live,” he says. “It offers a fantastic lifestyle. It’s as easy to get into the city as it is to go to the beach and I love the sense of identity here too.”
Fast forward fifteen-odd years and it’s clear Dan has taken just as much pleasure from his working life in Wales as he has from the lifestyle offered by his surroundings.
REAP will produce an opportunity in Wales for entrepreneurs and start-ups to capitalise on and create high value activity.
“Confused.com is well-known today but when I joined there were only five of us and it was very much a start-up,” he says. “You just have to look at how much it has grown – and also how much its parent company Admiral has achieved nationally – to get an idea of how much potential there is for businesses in Wales.”
As a figurehead for REAP, Dan has high hopes that through BeTheSpark, stakeholders will be energised to create opportunities that will inspire a new generation of Wales-based entrepreneurs to come forward and create companies every bit as impressive as Admiral.
“There are a few large companies in Wales that you always hear about because of their success,” Dan says. “Of course that’s something for Wales to be proud of. But equally, we need to be ambitious about what else we can achieve as a nation and focus on our future success.” With the arrival of REAP, there’s every reason for optimism.