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Cardiff, a city of creatives and entrepreneurs

Cardiff’s Vibe

Cardiff’s sense of community is second-to-none and the Welsh reputation for friendliness and hospitality is exemplified by the wonderful people of Cardiff. Gloriously diverse in every respect, the city is proud of its cohesiveness, inclusivity and a welcoming tolerance that is afforded to everyone.

Cardiff has nurtured an array of influential people, particularly in the creative, music and sports scenes including, Roald Dahl, Shirley Bassey, Ivor Novello, Catatonia, and Shakin’ Stevens.

As a city that outwardly encourages conversation and collaboration, it’s no wonder that Cardiff has an inherent ability to foster a successful entrepreneurial community. Skills and knowledge are shared in open collaborative workspaces and there is a keen sense of desire in the city to celebrate achievements and drive future success and growth. Cardiff is a city on the up and you get a sense of that in the freelance and startup community very quickly.

Cardiff’s Cultural Scene

Cardiff has a thriving arts scene and a number of galleries, like Chapter Arts; a multi-artform cultural space dedicated to showcasing the best international art, performance and film as well as acting as a bustling social space for the city’s talented artists and film producers. The Castle Emporium which includes the SHO Gallery and the National Museum has permanent displays and hosts the Artes Mundi prize, which supports and champions contemporary visual artists whose work engages with the human condition in all its forms and guises.

The Millennium Centre hosts local, national and international works in a range of mediums, including musical theatre, comedy, and live music. The Welsh National Opera, Sherman Theatre, National Theatre Wales and The Other Room Theatre are also integral components of Cardiff’s cultural scene, hosting a diverse array of accessible performances. Other venues worth checking out are Porter's, Tramshed and Clwb Ifor Bach.

You’ll also find the world’s oldest record shop, street food festivals and a host of music festivals like SWN Fest. As well as being an important historical monument, Cardiff Castle also hosts cinema screenings, gigs, and artists in residence.

There is also a vibrant literary scene in Cardiff, which is championed by Literature Wales, which runs events and writing courses (in both English and Welsh speaking languages) across the city, including Wales Book of the Year, the National Poet of Wale and Young People’s Laureate Wales.

Cardiff’s film, animation and TV industries are booming and the city has been the home of many a well-known TV show (including Doctor Who). This is reflected in Cardiff’s variety of film festival, big and small, like the Iris Film Festival, Cardiff Animation Festival and Cardiff Mini Film Festival.

And of course, Cardiff is the home of Welsh rugby, with the Principality Stadium (formerly the Millenium Stadium) playing host to Six Nations matches every year, as well as many other rugby games and music concerts.

Why Start a Business in Cardiff?

Cardiff’s business climate and potential for future economic growth make it one of the UK’s most exciting up and coming cities for startups, freelancers and entrepreneurs. Between Cardiff and Swansea, there are more than 17,000 digital jobs and a digital GVA of £392 million with a tech sector growth potential of a huge 76%. New business survival rate over five years is at a very respectable 41.4% which puts Cardiff above Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan, and the University of South Wales are all producing strong pools of skilled and creative talent. As part of the respected Russell Group, Cardiff University is renowned for its professional and financial services courses, which keenly reflect the city’s strengths and ambitions. The University of South Wales, in particular, has a huge breadth of creative industry related courses that attract some of the most innovative and imaginative young minds in the UK.

Cardiff University runs a program facilitating direct collaboration with businesses, and Cardiff Metropolitan will open a new city centre School of Technologies in 2020, specialising in design technologies, data science and digital media.

Support for Businesses in Cardiff

As both the commercial heart and capital of Wales, Cardiff has an established and well-developed business sector. Traditional businesses such as insurance brokers and banks are thriving alongside innovative technology businesses that are benefiting from intricate support networks and effective investment strategies.

In 2016, the UK government in partnership with the Welsh government and 10 key local authorities agreed on an investment deal for the Cardiff Capital Region worth £1.28bn. This 20-year deal is designed to deliver a variety of key programs, including increasing GVA by 5% and improving regional business governance.

The Cardiff Central Enterprise Zone is currently under development and includes a range of ambitious investment and regeneration projects. Initiatives, such as Invest in Cardiff, ensure that the city remains one of the UK’s fastest growing economies with the highest private sector employment growth of all the UK’s core cities over a ten year period.

Creative Cardiff is a Cardiff University initiative with over 2,000 members that serves to connect and grow the city’s creative economy by helping creative businesses network with each other and like-minded organisations, as well as running regular events.

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Cardiff Food and Drink

From tapas and Japanese to Lebanese and vegan cuisine, foodies will not be disappointed with all the culinary delights Cardiff has to offer. Milkwood has established itself as one of the finest restaurants in the city, alongside Asador 44 and Cathedral 73. The Clink is also the height of fine dining and Bully’s uses locally sourced Welsh ingredients to create mouth-watering French cuisine. Whitchurch Street eaterie Society Standard also sees Bristol’s influence spreading across the River Severn (the owners also run the North Street and Urban Standard in Bristol).

Of course, you’ll also never be too far away from an exceptional pizza restaurant, such as Ffwrnes Pizza which is located in Cardiff Central Market’s amazing indoor food market. Burger lovers need to look no further, as Cardiff is home to some exceptional independent burger joints, like the Grazing Shed and Buffalo Bar.

If cocktails until the early hours of the morning surrounded by beautiful Welsh artwork is your vibe, you’ll fit right in at Dirty Martini. For laid-back sophistication, 10 Mill Lane or Buffalo are also fantastic venues. If you’re more a beer fan then Cardiff’s craft ale scene may interest you with the city home to some established as well as unmissable up and coming breweries such as Pipes, Tiny Rebel and Crafty Devil.

Independent Shopping in Cardiff

Cardiff offers an array of inspiring independent shops, markets and boutiques, ensuring that you will always be able to find exactly what you’re looking for. Look out for unique treasures as you explore the Victorian and Edwardian arcades, particularly the Castle Quarter and the Morgan Quarter, which are home to quirky independents specialising in everything from Welsh textiles to traditional love spoons and jewellery.

You’ll find lots of traditional gifts in boutiques along Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay and if you can’t resist the buzz of markets, you’ll find 4 outstanding offerings in Cardiff. From the thriving indoor city market to city’s antique, farmers and flea markets you’ll find everything from artisanal coffee to fresh Welsh cakes, antique furniture and vintage fashion.

Cardiff’s Future

Cardiff is currently experiencing levels of investment that haven’t been seen since it was home to the world’s largest port. £700m is being invested into infrastructure over the next 5 years and a £180m investment project will create a new bus station, coach station and cycle hub. Located at the heart of the city centre, the Central Transport Interchange will service the Core Employment Zone and ensure that Cardiff has a modern transportation system that is fit for purpose.

The council-funded Central Square Development reflects Cardiff’s ambition to become one of the most successful cities in Europe and this, combined with the success generated from Barclay’s Eagle Lab and NatWest’s Entrepreneurial Spark Hub demonstrates that there is a high degree of confidence in the continuing potential of Cardiff’s business community.

Cardiff is connected to London via the M4 motorway and a railway line taking under two hours. Additionally, Qatar Airlines’ daily flight to Doha from Cardiff Airport will soon open links to the Middle East, Australasia, and the Far East.