£40million Wales SME Investment Fund opens for business
Business Minister Edwina Hart announced today the new
£40million Wales SME Investment Fund which is designed to create up
to 4,000 jobs is now open for applications.
Mrs Hart made the announcement during a visit to Biotec in Bridgend
- one of Wales’ leading life science companies that is expanding
operations following funding from the Welsh Government’s Economic
Growth Fund and the Wales JEREMIE Fund. The new four-year SME
Investment Fund, worth £40m, will be managed by Finance Wales.
Mrs Hart said: ”This new fund forms part of a very comprehensive
package of funding support from the Welsh Government for small,
medium and micro sized businesses in Wales. The new Fund will
provide wider access for SMEs which means that more will be
eligible to apply for support. I am pleased to say it will cater
for large and strategically important sections of the SME market
that are not eligible for support under the already
highly-successful European-backed Wales JEREMIE Fund. Access to
finance is essential for business growth and job creation and I am
delighted to be here at Biotec today to hear about their expansion
“Biotec is just one example of a Welsh company that is trading
extremely successfully despite challenging economic conditions and
wants to expand to maximise opportunities. We need companies like
these to grow the economy and create jobs which is why I am pleased
to announce that our latest Fund to support businesses in Wales is
now open for applications.”
The Wales SME Investment Fund will complement the existing £150
million European-backed Wales JEREMIE fund which provides the Welsh
Government’s main source of commercial finance for eligible SMEs.
So far, over £80 million has been invested in more than 390
businesses from the Wales JEREMIE fund in just over two years and
it has proved to be the best performing fund of its type in the UK.
However, fewer than half of the SMEs in Wales meet the eligibility
criteria set out by the European Commission which is why this new
fund is so important.
Welcoming the Wales SME investment fund, Finance Wales’ chair,
Ian Johnson said: “Finance Wales welcomes the Welsh Government’s
continued commitment to investing in Welsh SMEs with growth
potential. This fund is good news as it will widen the number of
businesses potentially eligible for investment from us and help
build on our already successful track record of backing growing
businesses in Wales.”
The Wales SME Investment Fund will ensure more SMEs, including
those who sell their goods and services to consumers rather than
businesses, become eligible for repayable commercial investment
from Finance Wales.