Welsh Government
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£25 million to help businesses become more competitive

A £25 million project designed to support the growth of Welsh businesses was announced by Ieuan Wyn Jones, Deputy First Minister, recently.

Enterprise Networks which has received £12 million from the Convergence European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government, is geared to help 4,200 businesses and 155 social enterprises over the next seven years.  It could also lead to the creation of up to 1,200 jobs.

The project will have a specific focus on creating, developing and supporting strategic supply chains in key sectors of industry to help them identify new buyers for their products and help them bid for more public sector tenders.

Speaking at a Meet the Buyer event with Pochin Construction for the new Welsh Assembly Government offices in Llandudno Junction, the Minister will tell delegates about the raft of additional support available through the new Enterprise Networks project - to help Welsh businesses become more competitive and innovative during the current challenging economic climate.

Enterprise Networks will help develop clusters of small and medium sized companies to work and bid collectively for public sector contracts.

Ieuan Wyn Jones said:

Welsh businesses need to be able to compete on a global stage – we have many extremely successful and innovative Welsh companies that are doing extremely well, despite the economic climate.

We need more business to follow in their footsteps and we want to encourage new start ups and help entrepreneurs to turn their good ideas into commercial reality.

Innovation is vital for success and Enterprise Networks is geared to support existing companies and help get new businesses off the ground. An obvious existing opportunity is enabling our SMEs to bid for public sector tenders – each year, public sector bodies in Wales spend more than £4.5 billion on the procurement of goods, services and capital projects.

This annual bill is not affected by these challenging economic conditions and offers a secure pipeline of opportunity. By working together small and medium sized companies can form clusters to increase their capacity and collectively bid for contracts.

Enterprise Networks will play a key role in promoting the importance of business innovation and competitiveness through a combination of master classes, workshops, business to business events as well as online support.

The project will also help embed a culture of entrepreneurship amongst young people in schools, colleges and universities across Wales, providing them with opportunities to become entrepreneurially aware and active.

The network of 250 Welsh entrepreneurs, who act as role models and invest their time sharing their experiences and enthusiasm with school pupils, is to be extended to students in Further and Higher Education.

The project will also encourage Further Education Colleges and Universities across Wales to work collaboratively, sharing good practice and promoting entrepreneurship in creative and innovative ways on a local, national and international basis.

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