Investment for local business welcomed

An investment fund, set up to support the growth of small businesses in the Convergence region of West Wales and the Valleys, has been made more responsive to small business needs, the Welsh Assembly Government and Welsh Local Government Association announced

The Local Investment Fund, which is administered by local authorities in the West Wales will now be able to offer funding of up to £10,000 to meet up to 40% of the cost of capital investments such as buying new equipment or extending business premises. The previous limit on most funding applications was £5,000.

Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones AM said:

“SMEs account for more than half of total employment in Wales and are the backbone of the Welsh economy. Through our new policy Economic Renewal; a new direction we are taking a fresh approach to encouraging economic development. We are investing more in infrastructure, skills, and research and development to create the best conditions for all businesses to grow and flourish in Wales.

“Our new economic policy will help SMEs to grow by fostering both favourable conditions and infrastructure. We will develop high quality and sustainable infrastructure to underpin economic growth. An example of our commitment is for all businesses in Wales, no matter what their size, to have access to Next Generation broadband by the middle of 2016 and a major improvement in mobile phone coverage.”

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM added:

“I think this is excellent news for local businesses. It will of course not solve every problem but it will certainly offer great support to small and medium enterprises in the county that will see a grant of up to £10,000 transform their business. This is about unlocking the potential in businesses across the county so that we can secure the future of local jobs, and hopefully through the grants help companies expand and create new local employment.”

Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“The announcement by Ieuan is very welcome. It will give the local authority more flexibility to invest in SMEs in the county allowing them to take decisions to best suite the economy of Carmarthenshire.”

Janet Jones, Chair of the FSB in Wales, said:

“We welcome this news which will help the Local Investment Fund operate more effectively and contribute positively to the economic growth of small businesses in Wales, and congratulate the Deputy First Minister for taking this on board.”

ENDS / DIWEDD

Notes to editors:

Facts on the Local Investment Fund:

The Fund, which is available in the Convergence region and accessed through local authorities, has a total fund of £23 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It expected to generate total investment of approximately £54 million and help create some 3,000 jobs.

So far a total number of 928 applications for funding from the Local Investment Fund have been approved. It is expected to help create some 3,000 jobs over the next four years.

For further information regarding the Local Investment Fund, including details of how to apply, please see www.lifcymru.co.uk

The Local Investment Fund (LIF) supports SMEs with up to 40% of the cost of capital investments such as buying new equipment or extending business premises.

The LIF comprises three local authority consortia projects covering the Convergence region of Wales. They are:

North West Wales Local Investment Fund covering Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire and Gwynedd. Isle of Anglesey County Council is the lead Authority.

South East Wales Local Investment Fund covering Rhondda Cynon Taff, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil and Torfaen. RCT is the lead Authority.

South West Wales Local Investment Fund covering Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea. Carmarthenshire County Council is the lead Authority.

The Fund is supported by some £23 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It expects to generate total investment of approximately £54 million and help create some 3,000 jobs.

To access ‘Economic Renewal: A New Direction’, please log onto:
www.wales.gov.uk/economicrenewal

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