Welsh Labour’s Economy Minister Edwina Hart has announced £21m of new finance to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Wales expand and create or safeguard more than 1,800 jobs.
The money will be distributed to Welsh businesses through two Finance Wales funds and the Welsh Labour Government’s new £5m Repayable Fund for SMEs, which offers repayable finance of between £50,000 and £500,000 to help SMEs grow and create jobs. The fund aims to create and/or safeguard at least 500 jobs.
The Wales Micro-Business Loan Fund, which is managed by Finance Wales, will receive a £6million boost, while a new £10million Wales Technology Venture Investment Fund will allow Finance Wales to invest in innovative technology businesses. Since its launch in 2012, the Wales Micro-Business Loan Fund, which provides finance of between £1,000 and £50,000 for micro-businesses in a range of sectors, has invested over £5m in nearly 200 companies leading to the creation and safeguarding of over a thousand jobs.
The additional £6m will help businesses create or safeguard a further 1,000 plus jobs and attract an additional £3.6m in investment. The Wales Technology Venture Investment Fund is providing funding for innovative technology businesses - already based in, or locating to Wales - with the ambition and potential to become international market leaders. The fund aims to attract an additional £20m in private finance, leading to the creation and safeguarding of at least 300 jobs.
Over 99% of businesses in Wales are SMEs and they employ 60% of the people working in the private sector. The Welsh Government has now made funds of almost £100m available to Finance Wales since 2012 to help Welsh SMEs with a range of funding requirements.