Council welcomes new funding to help small businesses grow

Bridgend County Borough Council has welcomed the announcement from Welsh Government around a new £45 million package of funding that will help small businesses to grow and support people to train to work in key sectors.

Announced by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething earlier this week, the package includes £35 million to help small and medium sized businesses in Wales relaunch, develop, decarbonise and grow to help drive Wales’ economic recovery.

The funding aims to support more than 1,000 businesses, help to create 2,000 new jobs and safeguard a further 4,000 jobs.

Local authorities will be administering the fund with more details to follow on the application process once further guidance and information is provided by Welsh Government.

As part of the grant application, businesses will be invited to identify ways in which investment will help them re-launch their business, develop it in innovative new ways, and create new jobs.

A focus of the fund involves supporting businesses to tackle issues such as addressing skills gaps in some sectors, upskilling the existing workforce, ensuring fair work for employees and tackling climate change – with Ministers looking for proposals that will help Wales meet its legally binding Net Zero carbon emission target by 2050.

Businesses will be expected to match-fund any grants made available by the Welsh Government.

A further £10 million is being made available to boost Wales’ Personal Learning Accounts, enabling further education colleges to deliver additional courses and qualifications which will help 2,000 people access a wider range of job and earning opportunities in priority sectors facing labour shortages.

Funding will be specifically targeted at reengaging and retraining staff to return to work in the NHS and in social care, training more HGV lorry drivers, reskilling individuals to respond to new job opportunities in green construction and renewable energy, and to ensure there are more trained chefs, waiting and front of house staff to work in Wales’ hospitality sector.

Mr Gething said: “The funding will offer businesses who need to re-invest – particularly following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, our departure from the EU, and with a view to climate and Covid-proofing – the opportunity to do so, in order to relaunch, develop and grow.”

Education Minister Jeremy Miles added: “Personal Learning Accounts give people the opportunity to gain the skills, knowledge and qualifications they need to make progress in their career. This will provide opportunities for people to retrain and increase their earning potential in areas of the economy we know are under extreme pressure.”

Welcoming the new fund, the Leader, Cllr Huw David said: “This new fund will help strengthen resilience among small to medium businesses, expanding opportunities and safeguarding jobs at a difficult time.

“We look forward to receiving further guidance and information from Welsh Government on the application process and will be publicising the exact details on how businesses can apply as soon as we can.”