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A GWENT business leader is urging firms and individuals across Wales to embrace a new culture of innovation and add potentially billions of pounds to the country’s economy over the next decade.

The Wales Festival of Innovation starts today, with Ian Menzies, chair of ESTnet, the Electronic and Software Technologies Network for Wales, and director of Newbridge-based General Dynamics, issuing a call for action.

ESTnet, along with the Welsh Government and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), who support the work of the Technology Strategy Board, are organising the two-week showcase of Welsh innovation.

Comprising high-tech factory open days, exhibitions, conferences, seminars and workshops it is aimed at professionals, the general public and young people.

Micro-electronics, leading-edge medical devices, advanced software, robotics and next generation nuclear energy are among a host of topics on the festival programme.

A tour of General Dynamics’ EDGE UK innovation centre at Newbridge on June 13 is among the events being held.

Others include an open day on June 11 at Asset International’s Weholite production line at Newport, where the firm turns tiny pellets into the world’s largest diameter plastic pipes.

The aim of the festival is to raise awareness of Welsh-developed technology and stimulate a new wave of discovery and invention.

Mr Menzies said: “Wales can already claim credit for an amazing array of technologies, although that’s not always widely recognised. By highlighting what’s been achieved here we hope to motivate other talented people to bring forward, develop and commercialise their own ideas.”

He added: “On the basis of what’s been achieved so far, I’m confident Wales has the talent and drive to become an international hub of original thinking and ground-breaking products and services. If we can build energetically upon the work to date and nurture a new culture of innovation this could earn the Welsh economy billions of pounds extra and create thousands of new high-quality jobs.” he said.

For more information about the festival visit festivalofinnovation.org