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M-SParc & MIT. The Mind & The Hand?

Charlie Jones

I had the pleasure of visiting MIT in 2019 with the Llywodraeth Cymru / Welsh Government and their Enterprise Hub Network. I gave myself actions and follow ups on the visit, the last of which was ‘’I would dearly like to bring the M-SParc Eco-System to MIT one day.’’ This week I completed that action as I visited as part of a group of 16 including start-ups, academics, business support providers and M-SParc staff; here are my take home thoughts as we travel back (with bags under the eyes and on our backs) to Wales!

Mind and Hand? Did you know that the MIT motto is Mens et Manus, Mind and Hand and it relates to the fact that only through the combination of thought and practical action can one deliver impact from knowledge. MITs emblem (right) refers to this and it resonates; ideas, knowledge alone won’t deliver the impact that we need in our region, innovation is the process of deriving value from that knowledge, the practical action.

But are MIT Missing something?  Heart, passion, energy and enthusiasm was raised by the M-SParc team throughout the visit as a key part of an effective, healthy functioning eco-system. We have it in bags at M-SParc, it’s infectious, coupled with the mind and the hand, the heart is what makes us different. We argued, that to deliver what we want, we need the Hand, Mind and the Heart!

REAP Model On my last visit in 2019 we explored the REAP Model that identified the key components of a healthy eco-system. Start-ups, finance, government, academia and corporates all work together in the REAP model to drive innovation and entrepreneurship forward and it’s in that very space that we as M-SParc live, in the middle, connecting, inspiring and energising our partners. A special thank you goes to Dr.Phil Budden for presenting the model to the cohort which was especially timely as we consult on the Welsh Government’s innovation strategy. 


Confidence. Confidence was the reason I wanted to take the M-SParc eco-system to MIT. I knew from my previous visit that we have everything we need in Wales to deliver an Innovation Driven Entrepreneurship (IDE). The scale at MIT differs from what we have, but in ideas, energy, a community, and heart. We’re on it, with amazing people and I look forward to return to work on Monday re-energised and full of ideas. 

Squad. Finally, big shout out to the study group, entrepreneurs, academics, business support providers and the M-SParc team who came together and gave their all to the visit. Not only was the visit inspirational and informative but these relationships that grew within our own eco-system over the week was a key outcome for me. Well played everyone!

Pryderi ap Rhisiart

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Tom Burke

Digital Innovation Manager


Tom used to work at the KFC in his hometown of Colwyn Bay before it mysteriously burned down. He then spent several years “on the lam” in East Germany, where he worked as an animator in Berlin. When the wall fell, Tom came home.

He enjoys climbing and hates ice-skating.