Former Sony Chairman Unveils Media and Technology Foundation
23rd September 2013
Sir Howard Stringer, the former Chairman of Sony Corporation unveils The Sir Howard Stringer Foundation for Media and Technology at Sony UK Technology Centre (UK TEC). The Pencoed-based business has created the Foundation to form part of the company's wider business incubation centre, which was initially set-up in March 2008. Designed to establish a hub for the media development community, the Foundation will look to increase employment opportunities in all areas of the media industry.
Initially, however, the Foundation will focus on the computer gaming and software development sub-sector in Wales, and is intended to stimulate the product development of games content from Welsh gaming businesses. Bridgend County Borough Council has provided funding of £107,000 from its Green Shoots project to go towards the creation of small-scale, business space for micro-enterprises which will sit within the Foundation.
Sir Howard Stringer, former Chairman and CEO of Sony Corporation stated: "I'm delighted to officially open the Foundation. It's great to see companies such as Sony UK Technology Centre growing from strength to strength and continuing to invest in the community and the development of young entrepreneurs here in Wales. I wish the site all the best and I hope that the organisation's operations in Wales continue to prosper."
Additionally, the Foundation has been designed to promote Wales as a desirable place to work - in a bid to retain the skills and knowledge base which are being developed from courses at the University South Wales' School of Creative & Cultural Industries. Those organisations and entrepreneurial individuals joining the Foundation will also have access to the incubation's business support services, networking and mentoring opportunities and state-of-the-art facilities, ensuring they are able to successfully set up their own businesses.
Two gaming organisations, Wales Interactive and DoJo Arcade, have already joined the Foundation and add to the 30 companies that are already part of the incubation centre, based at the Pencoed site. Both Wales Interactive and DoJo Arcade evolved from the GamesLab Wales project a collaboration between the University of South Wales and Swansea Metropolitan University - which aimed to kick-start the computer games industry in Wales.
David Banner, veteran video games designer and founder of Wales Interactive, commented: "I'm thrilled to become a member of the Foundation and a tenant of Sony UK TEC's incubation centre. A lot of bright, young gaming graduates are attracted to work for organisations outside of Wales, as historically there have been limited career and development opportunities here in Wales. Developing a Foundation dedicated to stimulate and grow the gaming sub-sector means there are many more opportunities available to them on their doorstep. With the site's support we can encourage young people's interest, provide work experience opportunities and grow the computer gaming network we have begun to create in Wales. "I'm sure that the Foundation will inspire and assist games development in Wales as well as provide the much-needed opportunities for career development."
Steve Dalton OBE, Managing Director of Sony UK Technology Centre, concluded: "We are now in our 21st year at the Pencoed site and it's an honour to have Sir Howard Stringer onsite, and show him how the business has grown in that time. The media and technology industry is continually evolving, and consequently, the site and the products we manufacture have had to reflect this evolution. Specifically, the gaming industry has advanced a great deal in the last decade and it is an area which we have been particularly interested in supporting. By its very nature it is creative and collaborative two things we are passionate about.
"Through our work with local educational institutions, we discovered there were very few companies and individuals employed in Wales within the gaming sector. Supporting the local community and the development of young individuals has always been important to us. It was therefore a natural progression for us to develop The Sir Howard Stringer Foundation, providing individuals and emerging businesses with a base and a chance to develop, and to have access to services which would previously have either been unattainable or too costly to invest in.
"Gaming is a multi-million pound sector and one in which Wales has very little presence. The launch of The Sir Howard Stringer Foundation will help break into this sector and create both business and employment opportunities in Wales for the future."
Sir Howard Stringer was joined by Alan Davies AM and key figures in Bridgend County Borough Council including Councillor Mike Gregory. They were given a site tour by Mr Dalton to demonstrate how the organisation has developed in the last 20 years.
Sony UK Technology Centre expands sector hubs for start-up companies
22nd Mar 2012
The move comes following the demise of several of the Welsh Assembly Government’s technium innovation centres in sites across Wales in 2010. Mr Dalton explained: “The intention of the Welsh Government in creating its technium innovation centres across Wales was a good one, however, in the end it unfortunately wasn’t financially viable to sustain them. However we have the capacity and the infrastructure at our Centre in Pencoed to create something along the same lines for start-up companies in the media, digital, gaming and renewable sectors.”
With modern office space, state-of-the-art facilities, access to a range of specialist support services, and networking opportunities with other like-minded businesses, the Sony UK Technology Centre already houses 22 start-up companies including, Sports Media Services and Dragon Digital Intermediate.
Continued Mr Dalton: “We have already successfully collaborated with Swansea and Glamorgan Universities to offer office space to several entrepreneurial graduates who are now in an environment where they can prosper. With an additional 10,000 sq ft available at the Centre we are now taking it to the next level. We have chosen sectors that not only complement our existing business, but also those that we feel are currently flourishing in Wales, and we hope to be at full capacity by the end of 2014.
“Media is one of the key industries that we are focusing on as it complements our broadcast production facilities at Pencoed. Additionally, with the opening of the new BBC drama village in Cardiff Bay, it is likely that the media industry will grow with more and more production companies looking to locate themselves in Wales. This coupled with the fantastic courses being offered by the Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Studies at Glamorgan University, will mean that we are capable of producing the next Sir David Attenborough. However, all of these graduates and start-up companies will need somewhere to base themselves initially, and we feel that we are the ideal location.”
Opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1992, Sony UK Technology Centre is a division of Sony Europe Limited. Home to the manufacturing and customer service centre for Sony in the UK, The Sony UK Technology Centre has developed a reputation for manufacturing excellence, which has been recognised through the receipt of four Queen’s Awards for Export.
Employing 400 highly skilled employees, Sony Pencoed is the only facility outside of Japan to manufacture high technology broadcast and professional cameras and camera systems for world-wide markets.