Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Economy
I am proud to announce that this month we celebrate ten years since the launch of the Welsh Government flagship Business Wales service which has supported more than 390,000 entrepreneurs and businesses, assisted the creation of over 19,000 new start-ups and directly helped to create nearly 47,000 jobs in the Welsh economy.
In addition, the service has helped to inspire thousands of budding entrepreneurs. Through Big Ideas Wales its network of over 500 entrepreneur role models has delivered more than 22,000 inspirational workshops and events, reaching an audience of more than half a million adults and young people.
Supported by and operating alongside the mainstream Business Wales service the Social Business Wales service which provides specialist social enterprise advice has supported nearly 300 new businesses and helped to create over 1,100 new jobs during the last ten years.
The service not only inspires our next generation of entrepreneurs, but also provides dedicated support for those people wishing to start, sustain or grow their business through a range of face to face, telephone and online provision.
The flexibility of the service has been a key tool for the Welsh Government over the last ten years to respond to changes in the economic climate and economic uncertain times including the Covid pandemic, Brexit, and the current cost of living crisis. This is demonstrated the role of the service in delivering nearly 32,000 grant offers to businesses through the Economic Resilience Fund during the covid pandemic.
The service is also structured to deliver on Programme for Government commitments for a more prosperous, fairer and greener Wales. The service plays a vital part in the Welsh Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee helping young people to develop their business ideas and providing support to help them set up their own businesses or go self-employed.
The new Young Person’s Start Up Grant is progressing well with 465 young people accessing one-to-one advice to develop their plans to start a business and 107 awards worth nearly £203,000 already issued to budding entrepreneurs.
Business Wales along with Social Business Wales is working to meet the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government commitment of doubling the number of employee-owned businesses by 2026 and is actively promoting the benefits and development opportunities of employee ownership to businesses based in Wales. Currently we have 46 employee-owned businesses here in Wales.
A Cardiff University impact study (2022) demonstrated economic value of the investment in Business Wales services linking every £1 invested to a GVA uplift between £10 for the service as a whole and £18 per annum for the high growth service; and the net benefit of 24,555 jobs created over a 5 year period, connected to £790m GVA. With 4-year business survival rates tracking double that of non-assisted businesses.
As it celebrates its tenth birthday, the service really has established itself as a vital and valued part of the business landscape in Wales. That is why we are absolutely committed to continuing this service and have committed an additional £10m per annum for the next 2 years at least, following the end of EU funding and I would encourage you to continue to promote and signpost your constituents to this flagship service that is available across Wales.