A new business forum has been launched for Neath Port Talbot. The NPT Innovation Exchange will bring together construction, digital, technology, engineering and manufacturing firms for purposeful collaboration and economic benefit.

Launched at an online event on the afternoon of March 23, the NPT Innovation Exchange is hosted by Neath Port Talbot Council in partnership with 4theRegion. Supported by the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund, the exchange aims to deliver tangible benefits for local businesses and for the wider region, by encouraging local firms to innovate, collaborate and grow.

The launch event attracted around 40 local businesspeople and included talks from 16 key business leaders from across the county, including Phillip Wallace, regional manager for TWI Wales; Phil Williams, owner of SWS Certification Services; Ian Ferris, director of Paragon Engineered Timber; Simon Wright, founder of Intuety; and Lee Bridgeman, CEO of Hybrisan Port Talbot.

The discussions covered the recent successes and challenges experienced by businesses in the area, what’s required to give local businesses a boost, and how to ensure the NPT Innovation Exchange addresses local businesses’ most urgent and important priorities.

Simon Brennan, Head of Property and Regeneration for Neath Port Talbot Council, said:

“As a council we were excited to launch the first in a series of events of the Innovation Exchange project. It was good to see so many businesses within the construction, digital, technology, engineering and manufacturing sectors in attendance. The project aims to bring together large and small businesses in a spirit of collaboration and partnership, with the goal of strengthening local companies, maximising economic opportunities and growing a sustainable innovation sector in Neath Port Talbot. In the next few months, we look forward to taking part in the discussions and helping address key issues for businesses, whilst encouraging more collaborative working for economic growth.”


Dawn Lyle, founder of 4theRegion, said:

“We’re proud to launch this important new initiative and it’s clearly something that businesses in Neath Port Talbot have been asking for. Neath Port Talbot Council is committed to supporting local firms to grow, and the purpose of the forum is to connect businesses to each other and to the exciting opportunities that are now emerging across the county and wider region. These include the decarbonisation agenda, and major growth sectors such as floating offshore wind, modular construction, automation and artificial intelligence. We had great attendance, lively discussion, and valuable insights from so many key business figures from across Neath Port Talbot. People are genuinely excited about the NPT Innovation Exchange. We are lining up a mix of online and in person events over the next few months and we warmly encourage local businesses to get involved.”