Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone Blaenavon Ironwork Visitor Experience Porthcawl Marina Caerphilly Castle Visitor Experience Cardiff University Institute for Compound Semi-Conductors Bike Park Wales Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Newport Transporter Bridge Ponty Lido Vale Trails, Trail 1
Blaenau Gwent – Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone External link
Torfaen – Blaenavon Ironwork Visitor Experience (Heritage Tourism Project) External link
Bridgend – Porthcawl Marina External link
Caerphilly – Caerphilly Castle Visitor Experience (Heritage Tourism Project) External link
Cardiff – Cardiff University Institute for Compound Semi-Conductors External link
Merthyr Tydfil – Bike Park Wales External link
Monmouthshire – Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal External link
Newport – Newport Transporter Bridge External link
Rhondda Cynon Taf – Ponty Lido (National Lido of Wales) External link
Vale of Glamorgan – Vale Trails, Trail 1 External link

The Skills@Work operation seeks to increase the skills levels, including work relevant skills, of those in the workforce with no or low skills.

The operation aims to increase the ownership of generic, transferable skills at all levels from CQFW Entry Level 1 to CQFW Level 2 across the workforce of the East Wales region through community based provision, thereby improving the opportunities for currently low skilled workers to sustain employment and increase earnings potential.

Community based provision will focus on supporting reluctant learners to engage with flexible learning opportunities outside of the workplace and will offer a range of provision including literacy, numeracy, ICT and other generic transferable skills resulting in an eligible qualification from CQFW Entry Level 1 to CQFW Level 2. Basic literacy and numeracy skills acquisition will form a key area to improve the mobility of the workforce and sustainable employment.

Led by the University of Wales Trinity St David, Upskilling for Industry 4.0 provides qualifications to employees in Welsh industry, particularly within the advanced manufacturing sector. It supports employees to understand and engage with rapid technological change, helping to drive business growth. These programmes are designed to ensure Welsh Manufacturing companies stay ahead of the competition by identifying both existing and emerging manufacturing technologies and processes that can move your organisation forwards.

Irrespective of their location in Wales, and to some extent their usual weekly schedule, the programmes have been designed to meet participant’s needs. Delivered in bite-size chunks, there is the flexibility to schedule the study around their other commitments.

Our academic staff will work with participants to;

  • Understand their aspirations
  • Define Learning Objectives to match their and their organisation’s objectives.
  • Conduct a Digital Readiness Review.

This project aims to establish a world-class research capability in Cardiff University with recognised expertise in the processing, characterisation, manufacturing and recycling of specialist magnetic materials. Wales has a strong base in magnetic materials supply chains and applications, demonstrating clear ‘Smart Specialisation’ and industrial pull in this area. Current research capability in Cardiff encompasses material processing, manufacture and characterisation, with limited facilities for testing motors and large machines. MAGMA will add new complementary research capacity and refurbish laboratories, including new dynamometer systems for testing modern electric vehicle motors, and computers, software and expertise for magnetic modelling, simulation and design.

TWI Wales is delivering an Advanced Engineering and Materials Research Institute and has secured £7.5m ERDF funding for a £12.6m project over a 5-year period. The specific objective is priority axis 1 research and innovation S1.1. This will be 50% matched by industry support and underwritten by TWI Ltd, a global research and technology organisation (RTO) employing 900 people. (AEMRI). It aims to drive business growth and competitiveness for manufacturing and engineering organisations through identified research into advanced engineering and materials. Its technical facilities are scheduled for completion in 2023.

The Institute will provide a unique facility where a critical mass of equipment, expertise and resources will provide an environment where the limits of performance of advanced materials can be determined, tested and proven. Through the use of advanced modelling and simulation methods, full large-scale mechanical test structures will be designed and built upon finite element analysis (FEA) calculations. Advanced, automated non-destructive evaluation (NDE) techniques to detect critical flaws will be designed, tested and validated, which will save the industry time and production costs as well as minimise the risk of catastrophic structural failures.

RICE is led by the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI) at Swansea University, in partnership with Sustainable Environment Research Centre (SERC) and University of South Wales.

Its goal is to test how CO2 produced from heavy industrial processes can be innovatively used to make high value products and industrially important chemicals. Technologies will also explore the production of green hydrogen, which can be used in many ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

It aims to deliver transformational change through the translation of innovative processes to reduce Wales’ CO emissions and decrease consumption of energy & raw material by heavy industry.

The Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT) is a state-of-the-art research centre specialising in materials, processing and numerical technologies.

This Centre of Excellence forms part of Swansea University’s College of Engineering and delivers a high impact, transformative research environment for academia-industry partnerships and collaborative, fundamental research.

The aim of IMPACT is to future proof the global advanced engineering and materials industry through collaborations that enhance research capacity and increase competitiveness.

AgorIP is a unique innovation project working to bring ideas and inventions to life. Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Swansea University, AgorIP can help investors to realise the potential of their ideas, products or research. Our team of experts help take IP to the marketplace and make it a commercial success.

AgorIP is open to anyone based anywhere in West Wales, North Wales or the Valleys.

£5.6 million operation (£4 million ERDF), supporting the development of unique research/collaboration facilities and the appointment of research staff.

The operation aim is to encourage innovation in LegalTech, Access to Justice, and countering cyber threats by:

  • maximising opportunities to innovate in the emerging LegalTech sector;
  • developing toolkits and frameworks to mitigate the risk of online platforms and social media being exploited by criminals and terrorists;
  • deploying digital products and services that help communities to access legal guidance and information.

Builds on the work of the University’s Cyber Threats Research Centre, Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Law, and Law Clinic.

Led by the University of Wales Trinity St David, International Innovation Masters provides higher level qualifications to employees in Welsh industry, particularly within the advanced manufacturing sector. It supports employees to understand and engage with rapid technological change, helping to drive business growth. These programmes are designed to ensure Welsh Manufacturing companies stay ahead of the competition by identifying both existing and emerging manufacturing technologies and processes that can move your organisation forwards.

International Innovation Masters offers a further level of expertise than Upskilling for Industry 4.0: Wales. It will empower managers to exploit the new market opportunities offered by innovative technologies and to identify and realise their commercial potential.

Led by Rhondda, Cynon Taf County Borough Council, The Building Resilience, Prosperity and Wellbeing Projects offer support to MSMEs within RCT to ensure all those employed in the Local Authority area have access to equitable ‘in work’ support services which pay particular attention to the wellbeing needs of individuals and the development of supportive Policies.

The project will provide Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with Human Resource support to develop Absence and Equality & Diversity Policies, and in doing so the project aims to improve the conditions of peoples employment and provide individuals with support from a full range of Occupational Health specialists.

ADE is an operation designed to facilitate collaborations between the University and eligible manufacturing companies within Wales. The aim of the operation is to improve and increase each company’s capacity and capability to engage with advanced manufacturing technologies and materials, and to facilitate the adoption of advanced manufacturing techniques. In this way, the capacity and capability of companies to innovate and thus achieve sustainable growth can be realised at a time of rapid technological change. The operation is based in the University’s specialist centre for research into advanced manufacturing technologies, the Wales Centre for Advanced Batch Manufacture (CBM).

Four Welsh Universities have come together, as partners, in a three year, WEFO/ERDF funded Project, combining their expertise in photonics to provide innovative solutions to businesses in the West Wales and Valleys region. The intended benefits are to improve to the Welsh economy by providing solutions and improving skills, facilitate growth and improve productivity, whilst also extending our knowledge and capacity through practical problem-solving based research, thereby giving Wales a significant competitive advantage.it will increase capacity in photonics and the three targeted areas of research and attract photonic-related inward investment

The operation will provide primary infrastructure (on and off site roads, drains and utility services) and undertake site preparation works to a limited number of strategic sites thus ensuring Wales has a network of high quality sites which are readily developable to underpin Wales’ inward investment efforts to attract mobile projects, particularly in value added sectors as well as indigenous businesses.

The limited scale of available resources means the focus will be on the following sites:

Site 1 – Ty Ddu, Nelson, Caerphilly

Site 2 – Brocastle, Bridgend

Site 3 – Bryn Cefni, Llangefni

Site 4 – Cross Hands East (Phase 2)

A high-level training programme aimed at the agri-food and biotech sectors. Training is delivered on-line with optional workshops where appropriate. Courses can be taken as CPD or built towards a range of postgraduate qualifications.

The project intends to enhance innovation and productivity of the Welsh biotech and food companies and to improve their associated supply chains. This will be achieved by addressing the ‘complementary problems’ of:

  • High level and technical skills shortages in bio-based businesses; and
  • Under-utilisation of graduates in Wales

The operation provides Postgraduate level training to help Welsh businesses to embrace the circular economy and provide a route for their employees to gain postgraduate qualifications.

JobSense will provide specialist support to enable people with a sensory loss (i.e. people who are deaf, have hearing loss and/or tinnitus and people who are blind or have vision loss), to enter/re-enter employment or move closer towards employment. The project is open to people with a sensory loss, aged 25 or over who are long-term unemployed or economically inactive.

The Data Innovation Accelerator (DIA) at Cardiff University helps SMEs in East Wales to use their data better. Filling a gap in the current data ecosystem in Wales, the Data Innovation Accelerator seeks to systematically build data science awareness, capacity and skills within Welsh SMEs. We help them identify and realise the power of their data and embrace it in their future activities. We work collaboratively with companies to apply data science techniques to produce tangible benefits for the business.

SESS will be a collaborative innovation and R&D operation, giving large, medium and small enterprises within the WWV region access to leading academic knowledge and research facilities. It will be demand led by the companies, researching and piloting new innovative technologies, products and processes, specifically in electrical energy storage, with strong post operation commercial potential for the enterprises. SESS will address the need to drive research activity and innovation within industry in Wales, to maximise the contribution of Welsh businesses to future economic growth.

The operation is to develop the Brownfield site at Wellington Street, Robertstown, Aberdare. Through a speculative development of up to 1.9Ha of developable land into modern light industrial units. The result will be a new business park with modern premises, which will accommodate new businesses and create jobs.

The site is located in the village of Robertstown, on the outskirts of Aberdare town centre, close to the railway and bus stations and is in the ownership of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council (RCT CBC). Its previous use was as old railway sidings, and was cleared several years ago and is now overgrown. Adjacent to the west of the site is the main A4059, running the length of the Cynon Valley, linking to the regionally important trunk roads, the A470 to the south and the A465 to the north.

Due to the location of the site, within a flood zone it is not suitable for residential development and therefore was identified by RCT CBC in the Local Development Plan, as a site suitable for employment development. Up to 20 units of between 1200 and 1800 square feet have been proposed for the site.

The main strand of activity will focus on supporting underemployed participants with barriers to full employment to improve their labour market situation.

The second strand will support those participants with a Work Limiting Health Condition (WLHC) or disability who are either looking to return to work after a period of absence or who wish to improve their labour market situation.

Finally the third, will focus on employer engagement to implement and improve health, diversity and equality in the workplace.

Support for Individuals:

  • An initial assessment based on the ‘@work’ model that will identify people’s barriers. (Support will then be put in place to address these barriers utilising internal delivery and external agencies)
  • One to one mentoring and coaching.
  • Job brokerage.
  • Mental & physical health support.

Support for Businesses:

  • Workplace health programmes.

Equality & Diversity.

The Operation will engage with participants using a multi-faceted approach, with the aim to motivate and inspire them to want to study STEM subjects at both GCSE and A Level. Participants will engage in STEM Enrichment Programmes over a whole school year, delivering a range of computer science- and STEM-based activities both at school and on university campuses.

The Operation aims to encourage participants to take up Computing in particular – at GCSE and beyond. In our target schools which do not provide Computing at GCSE, our support will create an environment which will encourage and support the schools to cater for the participants’ ambitions. We will also encourage the take up of non-Computing STEM subjects through the use of Workshops which employ computational solutions to problems arising from these other STEM subjects.

The Journey 2 Work operation aims to increase the employability of Economically Inactive and Long Term Unemployed people aged 25 and over, who have complex barriers to employment within the South East Wales region. The focus of the operation will be to target those furthest from the labour market that are not receiving support from other programmes or initiatives, with a focus on those in non-Communities First /Communities For Work areas.

The Wales Business Fund, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, supported Managing Director, Richard Wakeman at Seren Electrical to complete a management buyout (MBO) from the existing shareholders. The Caerphilly-based company are an independent wholesaler, providing high quality electrical equipment to trade. The business was founded in 2010, having grown substantially, Seren then moved to larger premises in 2015.

“Seren has experienced steady growth with a real positive and continued service focus,” said Managing Director Richard Wakeman. “Our partnership has worked over the last few years due to offering a personable premium service – regardless of how big the company grows. I’m looking forward to taking Seren forward while maintaining that customer-centric ethos.”

Founding partner, Jason Beament said: “We are pleased to have completed this transaction and continue our partnership with Richard, who has developed the business strategically and structurally to the current position. We will continue to assist Richard in the growth of Seren Electrical Supplies.”

“Richard, Andrew and Jason have worked together to secure the future of what is a growing and successful Welsh business,” added Bethan. “It was also a pleasure to work with Mervyn and Iridium on this deal, both of whom are building a well-deserved reputation as MBO experts and facilitators for small and medium businesses here in Wales.”

Read more about Seren Electrical here: https://developmentbank.wales/case-studies/seren-electrical

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W2 Global have a well-established relationship with the Development Bank of Wales.  W2 Global offers customers the ability to perform real-time identity verification and anti-money laundering checks against consumers and businesses when they open an account.

A longstanding portfolio company from when they first secured seed investment, W2 Global recently attained  follow-on co-investment from the Wales Business Fund and Mercia Fund Management.  “W2 has grown from strength to strength in the last few years” said Warren Russel, Director, CEO & Founder. The Wales Business Fund made an equity investment over £100K and as Warren Russel says, it enable W2 Global “to establish its position as a key world player in the field.”

The investment made on the basis of developing a technology venture has assisted W2 Global in partnering with some of the world’s largest data providers. It enables W2 software platforms to aggregate data from a wide spectrum of suppliers so that the customer can have a single point of integration to a myriad of data sources and ancillary service providers. These services extend to both consumer and corporate customers in UK domestic and international markets.

https://developmentbank.wales/case-studies/w2-global

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Jöttnar, the technical outdoor clothing company headquartered in Cardiff received a seven-figure investment from the Wales Business Fund, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, and London-based investment fund Venrex. Jöttnar was founded in 2013 by former Royal Marine commandos Steve Howarth and Tommy Kelly who specialised in mountain and extreme cold weather warfare following their inspiration to match the extreme weather and beauty of the Scandinavian landscape with technical clothing.

Jöttnar moved into its fifth year of trading with the launch of its new 23 piece winter collection, having only started trading with just six items. Steve Howarth notes that they took a couple of years setting up but for both founders “the best way of achieving real professional and personal satisfaction would be to build a business around the things that we loved.”

Deputy Fund Manager Bethan Cousins is delighted that the Wales Business Fund could support the business as “Tommy and Steve have created a high quality product and a brand which is gaining a reputation for superiority in the technical clothing market”.

“This investment is going to support our expansion over the next few years as we grow our product range and promote the Jöttnar brand,” Steve adds. “We’ve been really happy with the support offered by the investor syndicate and their ability to offer a flexible funding solution for us.”

“The Jöttnar team not only have a great product range but also have a solid business plan for growth. We’ve been able to structure an equity deal to fund their growth as well as offering support at an executive board level,” explained Senior Portfolio Executive Leanna Davies. “Venrex have a strong track record in backing branded clothing businesses and we are delighted to work together on Jöttnar.”

Read more about Jöttnar here: https://developmentbank.wales/case-studies/jottnar

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The ERDF and Welsh Government backed Wales Business Fund builds on the success of the fully invested Wales JEREMIE Fund and can invest in SMEs which are based in Wales or willing to relocate.

Running for seven years, the Wales Business Fund can provide investment packages from £50,000 up to £2 million to SMEs in a wide range of sectors. This complements our full product offering by providing more flexible investments for SMEs across all of Wales.