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06/10/2016

Neath Port Talbot’s Ministry of Furniture celebrates three years of trading

Ministry of Furniture, a phoenix company which emerged following the closure of the Port Talbot Remploy factory in 2013, has celebrated three years of successful trading with an open event at their new showroom in Baglan.

The start-up company was originally funded with investment from Finance Wales and NatWest Bank and now employs 14 people. With a positive focus on employing people with disabilities, the company which specialises in making and supplying contract furniture  to the educational and commercial sector, is wholly owned and managed by former Remploy staff.

Finance Wales invested £45,000 as part of a larger funding round with Nat West, RBS Invoice Finance and Lombard in 2013 to help eight former Remploy employees start the business. Ministry of Furniture now has more than 1000 clients nationally.

Managing Director Graham Hirst said: “Thanks to the investment from Finance Wales we were able to safeguard a number of skilled jobs. Over half of our staff are people with disabilities and we are constantly working with our suppliers and key stakeholders to ensure they are similarly focused on social impact. Finance Wales has a great track record in positively support sustainable businesses and it was great to work with them. We’re also committed to training through our apprenticeship scheme.”

“We’re pleased to support Ministry of Furniture as they grow,” added David Knight, Investment Executive in our micro loans team. “They’re an ambitious, socially conscious business with a strong skill base. The business has gone from strength to strength, trading nationally with around 1000 commercial and public sector customers including schools, major sports clubs, SMEs and Nationals including building contractors. Strong future growth in the commercial sector is planned for as the company continues to recruit. They’re a great Port Talbot area business.”

Finance Wales offers loans from £1000 to £50,000 from the Wales Micro-business Loan Fund . They can make flexible debt and equity investments between £1000 and £3million from across ten business funds. Multiple rounds of funding are available to eligible SMEs.

The new showroom was opened by Welsh comedy star Max Boyce.

Last financial year Finance Wales invested £45m into Welsh SMEs, leveraging an additional £64.6m in private sector investment – creating or safeguarded over 3,000 jobs.

Ministry of Furniture benefited from investment from the Wales JEREMIE Fund.

The EU and Welsh Government backed fund invested £35.9 million in West Wales, leveraging an additional £73 million in private funding. More than 2,500 jobs were created or safeguarded by the fund in West Wales. Across Wales more than 11,000 jobs were created or safeguarded by investments from the Wales JEREMIE Fund.