The Welsh Government is launching a £1m fund to support up to 500 unemployed people and young people not in education, employment or training to start their own business, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has announced.
This discretionary grant will provide financial assistance of up to £2,000 for 400 individuals who have "faced barriers to starting up a business", and up to 100 young entrepreneurs.
The grant will come as a part of a package of support that will include one-to-one advice and webinars to build confidence in business practices and develop plans for starting a business.
The fund builds on the Start-up Barriers Grant, which supported 382 individuals disproportionately impacted by the Covid pandemic with investment to start a business in 2020/21.
Sixty per cent of successful applicants were female, 12 per cent were disabled people, 13 per cent identified themselves as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, while 12 per cent were young entrepreneurs.
Yvette Clark was one of the successful applicants and used the support she received from Business Wales and the Barriers Grant to open Fussy, a vintage shop, in the Goodsheds in Barry.
She said: “I’ve always wanted to have my own shop and be my own boss. I never thought it would take a pandemic for that to happen, but here I am. Being faced with redundancy was just the push I needed to pursue my lifetime ambition of selling vintage clothing full time.
“As part of my redundancy, I was eligible for ReAct training. After a couple of courses, I decided to put together a business plan for my own shop and got in touch with Business Wales.
“After attending the free ‘Starting and Running your own Business’ webinar, I began putting my plan into action with support from an adviser with a huge wealth of experience and knowledge. They provided me with invaluable support throughout my journey.”
Business Wales has now increased the advisory support available to help individuals and apply for the grant. It will be available from Monday 13th December 2021 until the end of March 2022.
All successful applicants will be asked to consider the role they play in adopting values of equality and sustainability.
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “The Welsh Government is firmly committed to delivering a fairer, greener Wales, with prosperity spread more evenly. A focus on supporting more business start-ups, fostering an even more vibrant SME sector and prioritising innovation-driven enterprises is key to this.
“The new fund I’m announcing today will build on the success of the previous grant and address challenges born out of the UK Government’s furlough scheme ending, and help reduce inequality and tackle poverty by reducing unemployment and removing barriers to the labour market.
“The new funding aims to support over 100 young entrepreneurs, and to offer opportunities to 400 others who would otherwise face greater challenges to becoming self-employed.
“This enhanced support and grant will provide a positive pathway for young people, delivering on the offer of self-employment in our ambitious Young Person’s Guarantee.”
For more information on the support available and full eligibility criteria, visit the Business Wales website. Applicants will be invited to complete an expression of interest document. If you have questions and wish to speak to a member of the Business Wales team, call 03000 6 03000.