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Enterprise community looks to support its greenspaces

Entrepreneurs and business founders at the Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise in Caerphilly have swapped spreadsheets for saplings in an initiative to help beautify free spaces and play a part in carbon responsibility.

On a wet October morning at the Welsh ICE Campus, 18 startup founders dug out their shovels and donned their raincoats, as they set about planting over a dozen Crabapple, Rowan and Silver Birch trees.

The Campus has space to plant 80 trees at various locations as it looks to make the most of its green spaces as well as take advantage of the practical and environmental benefits that trees bring.

More than 58 business owners on campus have already pledged £10 to sponsor a tree. The cost covers the purchase of the tree, as well as a plaque with the tree’s name and the company’s logo. With the first 30 trees planted and a waiting list of 28 people, the Campus is confident of reaching its target of planting the full 80 trees.

Campus director, Jamie McGowan said when it comes to the environment, every little helps: “We were blown over by the tremendous support the initiative has had. One of the huge benefits of the Campus is that it is set in such a lovely green space, with official walk paths and forests minutes from our door. But we want to try and make every inch of the Campus beautiful, as well as try and help our members offset their carbon footprint.

“Although we all still have a long way to go in terms of carbon reduction, along with incentives like reserved carpool spaces and limiting plastic use, we hope we can play a role in pushing towards a greener way of working. One of the best ways of doing that is through the planting of trees. Trees play a huge role in our local ecosystems, and an hour in the mud on a wet and windy morning can mean more than 150 years of benefits for the Campus.”

According to the Woodland Trust, trees not only help protect the environment by soaking up and storing CO2, but they also help strengthen the soil, prevent flooding and erosion and provide food and shelter to local wildlife.

Founder of GoConnect Wales and member of Welsh ICE, Alyn Prosser said he was pleased the Campus was keeping green issues on its mind: “As well as the amazing community at ICE, one of the big benefits of the Campus is the amount of greenery that surrounds it. During the Summer they have weekly running clubs that make the most of the woods, and we always try to take part if we don’t have any meetings or workshops lined up.

“When the team at ICE put the notice up asking if anyone wanted to sponsor and plant a tree, we jumped at the chance to be a part of making the place greener. I looked a bit over-keen when I turned up with a shovel and trowel after doing a bit of landscaping over the weekend, but they came in handy as we used it to plant ‘Grow Connect’ - the official GoConnect tree!”

Welsh ICE is one of five regional enterprise hubs across Wales, all funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The hubs will see over £4m invested to provide supportive spaces and mentoring for new and growing businesses, with the ICE Campus supporting the South East Wales Valleys region.

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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