Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE has been championing entrepreneurship in Wales for the last 20 years and is the creator of the Wales Fast Growth 50 which identifies the nation’s fastest growing firms every year. With academic publications in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation, a best-selling textbook on enterprise and regular media commentary on economic development in Wales and beyond, Dylan’s expertise and enthusiasm is the perfect fit for REAP.

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE has lived and breathed entrepreneurship for most of his life and as such, he’s delighted to be involved in REAP, a programme that not only recognises entrepreneurship but celebrates it too.

Dylan first observed entrepreneurial behaviour as a child growing up in Pwllheli, Gwynedd. Both his mother and father ran their own businesses and many of his friends’ parents were doing the same.

However, it was an academic path rather than a business one that Dylan initially followed, studying Physics at Cardiff before going on to complete a Master’s in Technical Change and Industrial Strategy followed by a PhD in Technology Entrepreneurship.

Whilst focusing on his university career, he nevertheless considers himself more of a ‘pracademic’ and has honed an entrepreneurial mindset, developing new ideas within the university and driving change by leading his own innovative projects and eventually getting involved in various new businesses.

Any programme that recognises, appreciates and celebrates entrepreneurship is critically important to the Welsh economy, so I’m delighted to be involved with REAP.

Dylan discovered a deep-rooted passion to help Wales-based entrepreneurs and after working at University College Dublin, returned to his country of birth in 1996 to become the first professor of entrepreneurship at any Welsh university.

He was instrumental in putting together the Entrepreneurship Action Plan for Wales, the first regional strategy in the World to focus on developing an entrepreneurship culture. He has also advised various governments and international organisations on enterprise support and was recently responsible for initiating the Development Bank for Wales as a key project to support the finance needs of Welsh firms.

He created Wales Fast Growth 50 to celebrate Wales’ fastest growing companies – an annual initiative that’s still thriving eighteen years later. “The thing I’m most proud of is that businesses really want to be part of it,” Dylan says. “There are 230,000 firms in Wales so to be in the top 50 growth companies is a massive achievement.”

The REAP programme is clearly a natural fit for Dylan and he’s excited about the role it has to play in combining innovation and entrepreneurship to drive the nation’s economy forward.

“As a nation we need to be celebrating and encouraging entrepreneurship at every opportunity,” he says.