Denbigh Entrepreneur Vows to Invest in Home Region

Article date: Fri, 02 Aug 2013 13:07 GMT

businessman Lawrence Jones

Denbigh-born businessman Lawrence Jones is pursuing a number of 'significant opportunities' that could provide a massive boost to the North Wales economy.

Tapping into the huge potential he's identified during time spent at his property in Castell Cidwm, Llyn Cwellyn, technology entrepreneur Jones says he is targeting the region in the next phase of investment with his Manchester-headquartered company, UKFast.

Jones, CEO of hosting company UKFast, said: "North Wales is very close to my heart, and it's time I pay something back to the region that raised me. The economy is showing signs of healing but Wales needs that extra boost to move from healing to growing and that's what I aim to do.

"I pay a lot of tax but I don't feel it is evenly distributed. London gets more than its fair share. Somebody has to redress that balance. I've invested heavily in Manchester and while I've not finished doing that, I'm committed to pumping money into the local community where I grew up. I want to have an impact on my doorstep in North Wales."

Having bought the Castell Cidwm site in 2008, Jones has been using the resort for induction training for all UKFast new recruits, challenging them to climb Mount Snowdon, raft the lake and trek through the hills.

Jones said: "I often head to Castell Cidwm and the mountains for some thinking time, to escape the hectic duties of running a £150m business. Every member of the team at UKFast has visited the resort and fallen in love with it.

"I'm redeveloping the site with the hope of putting Castell Cidwm on the map as a place where anyone can escape the hustle and bustle of city life and local residents can enjoy the facilities too.

"I'm not looking for a quick fix, I'm thinking long term."

Lawrence Jones founded UKFast in 1999. Today it employs 200 people, turns over more than £20 million and is one of the fastest-growing technology companies in Europe, providing web hosting services and colocation facilities to more than 6,000 clients.

In the last two years, UKFast has invested around £20 million in the design and build of 30,000 sq ft of data centre space in Manchester. Jones hopes to find suitable sites to continue this expansion in North Wales where land is cheaper.

Jones said: "Ultimately, I'd love to tap into the region's potential to produce hydro-electric power. We operate in a power-hungry industry so we have to look at alternative ways of sourcing that."

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