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Finance Wales launches £136 million Wales Business Fund

Finance Wales hosted a breakfast event to highlight their new £136 million fund at the Faenol Fawr hotel in St Asaph. The Finance Wales Board was also in attendance at the event which was led by Chief Executive Giles Thorley.

The Wales Business Fund, backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Welsh Government, was launched last week in Cardiff. At the same time it was announced that the investment company, which is owned by the Welsh Government, will evolve in to a Development Bank for Wales.

The £136 million fund is the largest EU fund to be launched in Wales following June’s vote to leave the union. Structural and investment projects agreed with the EU prior to the 2016 autumn statement have been guaranteed by the UK Government.

The fund offers flexible finance solutions to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with a base in Wales. Debt and equity packages are available from £50,000 up to £2 million.

Economy Cabinet Secretary Ken Skates said: “Small and medium sized enterprises make an invaluable contribution to the Welsh economy and the Welsh Government is committed to supporting these companies to grow and prosper and create jobs. The Wales Business Fund is the latest in a number of funding initiatives designed to help all types of enterprises accelerate investment and growth plans and will be open for investing in Welsh SMEs for the next seven years.”
Finance Wales’ CEO Giles Thorley said: “This new fund will give us yet more opportunities to help Welsh businesses. The Wales Business Fund complements our existing finance options for Welsh SMEs. Through our ten business funds our investment teams can offer flexible funding solutions from £1000 up to £3 million. More than 90% of Welsh businesses have fewer than nine employees, making them micro-businesses. SMEs are the lifeblood of the Welsh economy and we’re here to help them grow and thrive.”

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.

A recent independent report by Regeneris Consulting and Oldbell3 praised the impact of the now fully invested Wales JEREMIE Fund, also managed by Finance Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government and EU.

The Wales JEREMIE Fund invested £28.8 million over 158 investments in North Wales, leveraging an additional £27.8 million in private funding. 1300 jobs were created or safeguarded by the fund in North Wales. Across Wales more than 11,000 jobs were created or safeguarded by investments from the Wales JEREMIE Fund.