Wales launches its biggest ever tech festival today: here’s how to get involved

Wales has officially kicked off its second-ever Wales Tech Week, in an opening keynote event featuring The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford this morning.

Running all week from the 21st-25th June, Wales Tech Week is a week-long, free-to-attend tech virtual festival featuring more than 100 international speakers across seven stages, as part of an initiative to help promote and develop Wales’ growing technology industry.

Throughout the week, attendees will be able to stream talks and events on a variety of topics and technologies from world class speakers from some of the world’s most innovative tech companies and brands.

Confirmed keynote speakers at Wales Tech Week include:

  • Aled Miles, president and CEO of Sauce Labs and Welsh Government Envoy to the United States
  • Steve Hasker, President and CEO of Thomson Reuters
  • Gerhard Watzinger, Chairman of the Board of CrowdStrike
  • Ciaran Martin CB, Founder and former Director of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre and NATO advisor
  • Warren East, CBE, CEO of Rolls Royce
  • Dr Andrew Rickman OBE, CEO and Founder of Rockley Photonics
  • Tessa Clarke CEO and founder of the UK’s number one food saving app OLIO
  • Andrew Peters – Managing Director of Siemens Digital Industries
  • Sally Meecham CEO of the Centre for Digital Public Services in Wales
  • Avril Lewis MBE managing director of Technology Connected

View the Wales Tech Week 2021 agenda here

Now in its second year, the festival attracted more than 4,000 attendees for its pilot event in 2020, from over 15 countries, and has been created to showcase the £8.5 billion Welsh technology industry, which employs more than 40,000 people in Wales, on a global stage.

What’s on at Wales Tech Week?

Wales Tech Week features seven stages, covering a range of topics and technologies. Stages running throughout the week include:

Main stage – Health, Manufacturing, Agritech, Fintech and Public services

CS Connected Cluster Stage – Showcasing Wales’ international strength in clusters, Compound Semiconductors, Cyber, Creative, Photonics and Blockchain

Wynne-Jones IP Smart Stage – Covering all aspects of ‘smart’ technology including assisted living, smart info services, smart recovery & more

Green Stage –Sustainability and the race to net zero is the challenge of our generation. With Wales ranking 4th in the world recycling league table, Wales Tech Week will have a dedicated focus on how technology can improve our planet.  The green stage will cover a wide variety of topics including Net Zero Industry, Renewables, Driving the Electric Revolution, and the Circular Economy.

The fee-to-attend festival will also act as a hub for connections, resources and global conversations across a variety of topics, including panel sessions with international tech and business leaders, career and skills sessions, diversity and inclusivity events, sustainability and environment workshops, business and investment advice and opportunities, virtual exhibition halls, and much more.

As part of the festival, this morning saw the launch of a new dedicated photonics network for Wales, Photonics Connected, which sees senior figures from some of the world’s largest and most influential technology businesses come together to identify new opportunities to collaborate, connect and expand Wales’ £700 million photonics industry.

The festival, which runs across this week from 21st – 25th June, is made possible through the support of the Welsh Government and its festival partners, Associate Partner Innovate UK, AgriTech Theme partners AberInnovation and Aberystwyth University, Cluster Stage Partner CS Connected, Smart Stage Partner Wynne-Jones IP, Supporting Partners CapVentis, Creo Medical, PwC, Thales UK & the Development Bank of Wales, Smart Event partners Costain & Smart Energy UK, Global Partner GlobalWelsh and Health Innovation Partner, Life Sciences Hub

With dozens of events taking place across the festival, full festival line up and free digital pass registration is available here.

Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister of Wales, said:

“The pandemic has highlighted just how important a vibrant, innovative technology industry is to our society, economy and daily lives.

“From supporting us with the data, insight and tools to help understand the virus and its impact, helping to keep our economy moving and evolving, right down to keeping us connected with our loved ones in difficult times. For any country, a vibrant, growing and collaborative technology eco-system is fundamental.

“Wales is a small country, but we have a diverse range of truly innovative organisations and talented people. The influence of Welsh tech is being felt throughout the world, we’re proud to support our technology industry but the real key to its success is helping to foster a spirit of collaboration across sectors and countries.

“Wales Tech Week provides an opportunity to showcase our technology industry on a global stage and supports this idea of success and prosperity through collaboration. I look forward to joining the international tech community as we celebrate and showcase Welsh tech to the world and continue to work together to build an inclusive future to benefit everyone.”

Avril Lewis MBE, managing director of Technology Connected said: “Now in our second year, we’re delighted to have attracted stellar line up of keynote speakers for this year’s event, bringing international insight and expertise to the festival.

“Wales Tech Week has been created as a diverse and inclusive virtual festival to help bring together the international community and showcase technologies created here in Wales that are tackling some of our great societal challenges.”

Wales Tech Week 2021 is on now, as a virtual event from 21st – 25th of June with registrations for free digital passes available now on the Wales Tech Week website.