Small businesses across Wales will be able to access free of charge Welsh language support, potentially boosting their business, thanks to a new Welsh for Business initiative.
Research has shown that 82% of Welsh speakers are more inclined to choose a company that provides a good Welsh language service.
Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan AM, attended the ‘Sense of Place’ business event held at Haverfordwest Farmers Market to launch the national service that will allow small businesses to benefit from dedicated Welsh for Business officers based in 12 locations throughout Wales.
The event gave businesses from the area a chance to learn about the service as well an opportunity to hear from Visit Wales and St David’s Kitchen, on the value of ‘sense of place’.
The service is a Welsh Government initiative that forms part of the long-term vision to see a million people speaking and using Welsh by 2050.
Welsh for Business officers will offer a wide range of support services including translation of menus, social media messages and promotional materials.
Officers will also work with small businesses to increase their Welsh language customer services, with the aim of improving Welsh language interaction between staff and customers.
They can also help businesses by directing them to learning providers that will help improve Welsh language skills, instructing them on how to recruit Welsh speakers and learners, and facilitating an understanding of who their customers are and why the Welsh language is important to them.
During a pilot project, the Welsh for Business officers have already helped a number of small businesses, including St David’s Kitchen, a ‘farm to fork’ restaurant in Pembrokeshire.
Owner Neil Walsh said: “Our Welsh for Business officer, Heledd, was very helpful when we asked for her support in making St Davids Kitchen more appealing and engaging for our Welsh speaking customers.
“She became an invaluable resource and wasted no time in supplying us with Iaith Gwaith (Working Welsh) badges and open/closed signs.
“We then decided to further develop our use of the Welsh language, and with Heledd’s help have translated our market menu. The bilingualism has been the subject of many compliments from our patrons and is always well received.
“It has most definitely encouraged customers to make return visits, which as a small business is invaluable. Our whole ethos relies on our relationships with local farmers, producers, and fishermen, and it now feels as though we’ve strengthened that bond with our customer base too.
“We look forward to developing our approach to the Welsh language even further with the support of Welsh for Business. And furthermore, the fact that the service is free is a major advantage.”
Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan, said: “Although many small businesses want to support the Welsh language, they may lack the time and know how to fully commit to bilingualism.
“Our officers are working hard to support SMEs by offering a mentoring service and signposting them to relevant resources.
“Welsh for Business is a vital part of our goal to hit a million Welsh speakers by 2050, and I am eager to see just how many more small businesses across Wales choose to take advantage of this wonderful free service.
“With the great results we have already seen, I’m confident that we’ll see much more Welsh language being used by small businesses in Wales.”
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