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Independent final evaluation report highlights Wales JEREMIE Fund’s significant contribution to supporting Welsh SMEs

An independent evaluation report by Regeneris Consulting and Oldbell3 published today has highlighted the success of the European-backed Wales JEREMIE Fund managed by Finance Wales, praising its significant contribution to supporting Welsh small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) between 2009 and 2015.

The wide-ranging final evaluation concluded that the £157.5 million Fund became a critical part of the business finance landscape in Wales, improving access to finance for Welsh SMEs and providing them with significant capital support when conditions in the business finance market were particularly challenging.

Business in the Community Cymru (BITC) also recently reaccredited the Wales JEREMIE Fund in recognition of its continuing impact on Wales and the Welsh economy.

By the end of its 6-year investment period, investments from the Fund had helped 600 Welsh SMEs safeguard 7,317 jobs and create a further 4,226. These investments attracted over £200 million additional private investment, boosting its total impact to just under £360 million.

With further job creation anticipated as these businesses grow, the report acknowledged that the Wales JEREMIE Fund’s original – and revised – job creation targets were highly ambitious and their achievement impacted by turbulent financial markets and the recession.

The Wales JEREMIE Fund’s structure coupled with a specific state aid notification also paid dividends, enabling Finance Wales to invest in businesses in all eligible sectors and make follow-on investments.

It also enabled Finance Wales to adapt its investment strategy and during the recession the Fund become one of the primary funding sources for Welsh SMEs.

With the Wales JEREMIE Fund on course to create a legacy for future investment in Welsh SMEs, the report concluded that Finance Wales’ approach to risk and pricing debt finance were appropriate given the Fund’s remit and the market conditions it operated in.

A £40 million injection of early stage investment capital from the Fund enabled Finance Wales to become an anchor investor and the presence of its technology ventures investment team was also credited with playing an important role in attracting co-investment from major funders.

Giles Thorley, Chief Executive, Finance Wales said: “The Wales JEREMIE Fund has played an important role backing Welsh SMEs in challenging economic conditions and its impact will be felt for many years to come as these businesses expand, safeguard existing jobs and create new job opportunities. We now look forward to reinvesting the Fund’s legacy in future to help even more Welsh SMEs.

“BITC’s reaccreditation and the final evaluation recognise the Wales JEREMIE Fund’s significant long-term impact on the Welsh economy. The lessons we’ve learnt from investing the Fund are already informing the development of future funds as well as helping us build stronger relationships with Welsh SMEs.”

Welsh SMEs can now benefit from investment from the £136 million EU-backed Wales Business Fund as well as a range of other funds managed by Finance Wales.

Conducted between October 2015 and April 2016, the Final Evaluation of the Wales JEREMIE Fund surveyed 150 investee companies in addition to undertaking stakeholder consultations and other research.

An executive summary of the Final Evaluation of the Wales JEREMIE Fund conducted by independent consultants, Regeneris Consulting and Oldbell3 is available at: http://www.financewales.co.uk/performance--impact.aspx