The Grow Remote movement is global. We’ve known this since 2018, when we launched via ChangeX and quickly spread to more than 70 communities worldwide. Our mission is a universal one and we are always happy to build in public and share our learnings with anyone dedicated to our mission, no matter where in the world they are.
In May 2022, a group of Welsh community development leaders travelled to Ireland to connect with the Grow Remote community. They had initially come across the concept online, joined our global community and requested an introductory presentation from Community team.
The grew increasingly curious about how they might apply the learnings from Grow Remote’s Irish chapters to their own local context in northern Wales, in particular for Welsh-speaking residents.
During their visit, the Welsh delegation joined Grow Remote for a mural tour of Dundalk (plus pizzas afterwards!) and a coffee morning in Balbriggan. Rhian Hughes, Gwynedd Projects Manager for North Wales, appears in one of our Grow Remote Dundalk chapter videos (watch below).
Months later, Grow Remote was invited to participate in a special networking event for freelancers in North Wales, hosted by Llwyddo’n Lleol 2050, Arloesi Gwynedd Wledig, and the Enterprise Hub in Caernarfon.
For such speaker requests, Grow Remote calls on its volunteers to tell their story. As part of our Changemaker programme, we encourage chapter leads who have demonstrated their own ability to make social impact locally to represent Grow Remote as an “Expert”. As such, Chapter Lead for the Ennis area, Paul Ellingstad, flew the flag for Grow Remote and made the journey across the Irish sea to sit on a panel for local remote workers.
In the Ennis area, Paul’s work as chapter lead – together with John Murphy – has focused on building awareness of Grow Remote’s mission through engagement with local enterprise. In October 2022, the Grow Remote Ennis area chapter co-hosted the Clare Jobs Fair at Digiclare with Clare Local Development Company. This led to media exposure with Clare FM, the Clare Champion, and resulted in more than 300 job seekers and 30 exhibiting employers on the day. On 1st March 2023, the local chapter followed up on this success by supporting the West Clare Jobs Fair in Kilrush, teaming up with Clare Local Development Company (CLDC), Employ Ability Clare, Dept for Social Protection and Digiclare. Most recently, the Ennis area chapter supported an event hosted by the Whiskey Club Ennis. By increasing visibility of remote jobs and through fostering a network of companies in the local area, the Grow Remote Ennis area chapter is making a huge impact locally.
Back to North Wales, where the collaborative event took place on 15th February 2023. It was primarily targeted to and open to all freelancers in the region. It was an opportunity for startup as well as established freelancers, entrepreneurs and remote workers to network as well as hear from a variety of speakers with useful experience and insights to share.
Lately, Wales has been making news not only for celebrity owners of Wrexham AFC, but also for its progressive and proactive leadership on climate change and related policy and investment driving economic transformation and innovation in the region and globally.
I was immediately struck by the many similarities Wales and the West of Ireland share in regard to opportunities — economically and socially. The opportunities to live and work in these beautiful parts of the world are growing exponentially, and in these rapidly changing times, it’s so valuable to connect and exchange ideas and insights with others, like are friends here in North Wales. There are also many parallels to the cross-sector collaboration happening in Ireland between Grow Remote and its partners and allies in government, civil sector, and business. Similar to the strong support of the Department of Rural and Community Development for remote working and strengthening communities, Wales has a strong network of public, private and civil sector players actively cooperating to drive economic and social development in Wales.Paul Ellingstad, Grow Remote Expert & Chapter Lead for Ennis area
Georgina Merckel (winner of IPSE Freelancer of the Year 2022) and Geraint Hughes (Lafan Consulting Group) co-hosted a panel discussion with:
- Paul Ellingstad – Grow Remote’s chapter lead in Ennis and a management consultant
- Katy Carlisle – A web designer and authorised Squarespace trainer based in Anglesey
- Dewi Fôn – North Wales-based freelance filmmaker with over a decade of experience working on broadcast, branded content, and film productions
- Eleri Foxhall – founder of a freelance business called Iogis Bach
The event was bilingual — held in Welsh and English with real-time translation available!
Although Grow Remote’s strategic priority is on fully-remote decent employment, rather than freelancing, it is events like these that stimulate the conversations around the barriers to remote employment. By engaging with public bodies and corporates in Wales, Grow Remote can offer supports and resources that can fundamentally change how business is done in Ireland and beyond. And we are open to sharing all our learnings with anyone at every stage of the journey.
Grow Remote looks forward to continuing the positive and productive dialogue with such innovative and enterprising partners in Wales. We hope and plan to see Wales well represented at the Grow Remote Summit 2023 in Portlaoise on 8th and 9th June.