Vodafone Business and the Welsh Rugby Players' Association are delighted to announce that Welsh international star and fifth-generation farmer, Dan Lydiate, has been awarded the WRPA Vodafone Business Bursary.
The bursary, which is part of the partnership between the WRPA and Vodafone Business, is designed to support the development of Welsh rugby players in their personal career development and business ventures and provide them with the necessary tools to succeed off the field. The bursary will provide Dan with invaluable support in accelerating the growth of his herd of Traditional Pedigree Welsh Black cattle Welsh Black cattle, Llaithdu, and premium livestock business which emphasises environmentally friendly practices and direct customer engagement.
While injured in 2017, Dan identified an opportunity to turn his passion for farming into a viable business venture. Rather than dwelling on his injury and feeling defeated, he proactively used his time away from rugby to explore growing his herd, Llaithddu, offering premium livestock, reared using sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.
His venture seeks to reduce transportation and waste by directly selling to customers, delivering a superior product that reflects the close connection between the farm and the consumer's table. Initial feedback from customers who have experienced his livestock has been overwhelmingly positive, fuelling Dan's determination to expand the business further.
"The farm has now got to a point where I want to turn something I'm very passionate about into a viable business."
Now a proud fifth-generation farmer, Dan has harboured a lifelong dream of returning to farming once his rugby career concludes. Farming has remained an integral part of his life, and he is committed to its enduring significance.
"Going back into farming has always been my plan, and the bursary will provide a massive boost in kick-starting my business."
By leveraging the lessons learned from his rugby career and embracing his entrepreneurial spirit, Dan aims to create a comprehensive farm-to-table business for consumers, showcasing the quality and sustainability of his farm's offering.
"By selling directly to the customer, I'll be able to take out the middleman and get the product straight from field-to-fork."
As part of the bursary, Dan will receive mentoring and guidance from Vodafone Business advisors to help him achieve his goals and develop the digital aspect of his business.
"The knowledge and expertise that Vodafone Business has will help me develop the digital aspect of my business like the website."
Gareth Lewis, WRPA CEO, praised Dan for his hard work and dedication to development away from rugby: "Dan is a very worthy winner, whose hard work is apparent. Managing a business interest alongside a full-time playing career is very admirable, and with the support of this bursary and the expertise of the Vodafone Business team, we hope Dan can grow his business further. We are constantly encouraging and supporting our members to consider their options post-playing, and with the Vodafone Business bursary scheme, their entrepreneurial side has a great opportunity to flourish."
Speaking about the bursary being awarded to Dan Lydiate, Nick Gliddon, Vodafone's UK Business Director, said “We are so pleased to hear that Dan has been awarded with the WRPA Vodafone Business Bursary. It is inspiring to see how Dan has turned time out from rugby due to injury into a positive business venture. We are looking forward to seeing how Dan can accelerate his farming business following the support from Vodafone Business.”
The bursary forms part of Vodafone’s broader commitment to help grow rugby at all levels of game and follows a partnership announcement with the Welsh Rugby Union as its Principal Partner.