Quirky new Welsh music magazine wins NatWest Graduate Prize for 2021

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A Music Business graduate from the University of South Wales has won this year’s NatWest #Powerup Graduate Prize, thanks to her unique new music and culture magazine, called Crwth – named after the medieval Welsh instrument.

Alexandra Jones, who graduated in July 2021, was nominated for the prize by her lecturers at USW after putting forward an impressive business plan for the magazine, as part of her final year project. NatWest supports final year Music Business students to build on entrepreneurship studies, simulate a real-world initiative and launch music start-up businesses.

Each year, students research, plan, develop, brand, market and manage a substantial project that has the potential to scale and succeed after graduation. 22-year-old Alexandra, who is originally from Pontllanfraith and now lives in Cardiff, came up with the idea of the magazine as she wanted to pay homage to Welsh history and offer a fresh and modern take on media in Wales.

As part of the Prize, she will receive three coaching sessions with NatWest Entrepreneur Acceleration Manager Blessing Mutamba, designed to support her with business skills.

Alexandra said: “Crwth is centred around the Welsh music industry and includes Welsh culture, art and modern poetry. Currently it’s available digitally but I hope to make it into a physical magazine format in the future.

“I feel very honoured to have won the NatWest #Powerup Graduate Prize and I’m looking forward to the mentoring and career advice that comes with it! I’ve recently started working with Beacons Cymru, a bilingual suite of online resources for the future of the Welsh music industry. It is aimed at young people and delivered by a diverse range of inspirational role models from across the music industry, providing knowledge, mentorship, networks and opportunities.

“I'm also learning to speak Welsh, and would like to use my language skills to help bridge gaps throughout the musical landscape in Wales, particularly the North and South divide.”

Gemma Casey, NatWest’s Ecosystem Manager for Wales, said: “The NatWest #Powerup Graduate Prize gives students on the BA Music Business course the opportunity to learn and develop enterprise skills. This introduction to the world of entrepreneurship, and to skills including pitching, is invaluable for students, whether they go on to set up their own businesses or go into employment. These are transferable skills which can really give students the edge, whatever their future path.

“Alexandra’s business plan for a magazine celebrating the culture of Wales really captured the imagination of her tutors. It’s fantastic to hear that she’s already been able to use the skills and knowledge she developed through this project in her new job, and we look forward to supporting her further via coaching sessions.”

Lucy Squire, Head of Music at USW, added: “We at the University are thrilled to extend this year's Prize to Alexandra. Her project identified a gap in the market for a new Welsh music and culture magazine; an idea that captured the attention of industry and helped her to gain employment with  Beacons Cymru.

“Receiving the Prize represents a huge opportunity for Alexandra to take forward on her career journey, underpinning the quality of her work and helping her to stand out in a competitive marketplace.”