£44m to help businesses grow and create jobs
17 Mar 2015 12:39 PM
Economy Minister, Edwina Hart, has announced £44m of EU and Welsh Government funding to extend a service to help Welsh businesses grow and create jobs.
The Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) Support service will be operated under the Business Wales banner for another five years and follows the previous successful programme which advised 15,300 SMEs leading to the creation of almost 2,000 new jobs.
Advice and support on all aspects of growing a business is provided from accessing finance to developing new markets overseas. Support can be accessed online, over the phone, or face to face through the pan Wales network of Business Wales centres.
Mrs Hart said:
“Over 99% of businesses in Wales are SMEs, and they account for 60% of private sector employment, so they are crucial for driving economic growth and creating jobs. Business Wales is now an established ‘one stop shop’ for SMEs looking to grow their business in Wales.
“The comprehensive business support offered through Business Wales combined with an extensive knowledge of the private sector has helped SMEs to manage and grow their business effectively, recruit and train staff, develop their products and expand markets whilst meeting customer demands. I am very pleased we have been able to ensure this business support service will continue for a further five years.”
The SME Support service will be funded by £26m from the European Regional Development Fund and £18m from the Welsh Government.
Minister for Finance and Government Business, Jane Hutt said:
“This investment is an excellent example of how EU funds are supporting Welsh Government initiatives to create a positive climate for business growth in Wales. Over the next seven years a further £1.9 billion of EU funds will be invested in Wales to underpin economic growth and jobs, including investments for Welsh businesses to compete successfully in the global economy.”
Award-winning independent TV production company Chwarel in Gwynedd received support from the service in a number of ways from accessing funding to help with employment policies and equality and diversity processes.
Chwarel was established in north Wales in 2002 by entrepreneur and experienced TV director Sioned Morys, who has been involved in the production of a number of programmes for BBC Wales, Channel 4 and S4C.
“We had started to outgrow our previous premises and were looking for the perfect space not only to create new offices but also a multimedia hub and studio space, offering high-tech facilities for other creative businesses who would be attracted to do business in this area of Gwynedd.
“Business Wales was there to help. They guided us through the process of securing the funding we needed from the Wales Economic Growth Fund to purchase a former warehouse and transform it into our new media hub. It was great to have the support of Business Wales when it came to the employment and recruitment aspect of business administration. We want to ensure that we have everything in place when it comes to developing the team; making sure that it is right for both us and employees. We’re now firmly established in Criccieth, and hope that it becomes as synonymous with TV production in Wales as Cardiff or Caernarfon.”