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

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 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:

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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.

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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:

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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.

Building on the Welsh Government’s sizable investment in the roll-out and provision of Superfast Broadband in Wales, the Superfast Business Wales programme  directly helps businesses to understand, adopt and exploit digital technologies that superfast broadband makes available to them.

Supported by a wealth of online material, the programme provides master-classes & workshops on a broad range of business focussed digital topics all aimed at helping businesses to realise the benefits of digital technologies in their everyday operations. Workshops are then further reinforced with the provision of 1:1 advice from a national team of Digital Advisors.

The Social Business Wales Operation will provide specialist business support to growth social businesses across Wales. Social businesses include social enterprises, co-operatives, mutuals and employee owned businesses.

The Social Business Growth Fund (SBGF) supports social businesses in Wales financially to enable them to grow and create job opportunities.  Financial assistance of up to £150,000 is available in West Wales and the Valleys and £125,000 in East Wales.  Match funding of 40% of the total cost is required in West Wales and the Valleys and 50% is required in East Wales.

This is a Welsh Government project, enabled by support from the EU and UK Government. It is a project that aims to provide superfast coverage in hard to reach areas, where commercial roll-out is not economically viable. Like preceding projects in the ERDF 2007-2013 tranche, it aims to continue to establish a powerful, flexible, future-orientated communications infrastructure through the provision of a fibre to the cabinet-based access network across both East Wales (EW) and West Wales and the Valleys (WWV). The project also aims to provide universal affordable access to the services that citizens and businesses need, consequently underpinning the development of a digital Wales economy.

This is a Welsh Government project, enabled by support from the EU and UK Government.  It is a project that aims to provide superfast coverage in hard to reach areas, where commercial roll-out is not economically viable.  Like preceding projects in the ERDF 2007-2013 tranche, it aims to continue to establish a powerful, flexible, future-orientated communications infrastructure through the provision of a fibre to the cabinet-based access network across both East Wales and West Wales and the Valleys.  The project also aims to provide universal affordable access to the services that citizens and businesses need, consequently underpinning the development of a digital Wales economy.

This operation implemented major improvements over five key stations in the West Wales and the Valleys area – Pontypridd, Ystrad Mynach, Aberystwyth, Port Talbot, and Rhyl. The operation resulted in more attractive, safer, accessible stations, with better connectivity with other transport modes, leading to increased patronage of the railway, for commuting and other journeys.

Warm Homes Arbed is Welsh Governments strategic area-based fuel poverty scheme. Focused on improving the energy efficiency performance of the homes of those householders living in severe fuel poverty, often in some of the most deprived areas of Wales

The scheme will target areas with high numbers of privately owned, off-gas or hard to treat homes.

Arbed aims to reduce the carbon footprint of Wales’ existing housing stock and in doing so, help provide resilience to households against rising energy costs.

The Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a major European programme led by Bangor University on behalf of the Welsh higher education sector. KESS 2 offers collaborative research projects (Research Masters and PhD) linked with a local company partner, with scholarships supported by ESF funding. KESS 2 works across the West Wales and the Valleys area, with all of the Welsh Universities involved in the operation.

The scheme will partner over 500 businesses with academics and postgraduate researchers to develop innovative research projects aimed at driving business growth.

The KESS II operation aims to increase the number of individuals with higher level skills in research and innovation with a view to promoting and increasing Research and Innovation activity within businesses, including micro companies. The operation will be focused on increasing the supply of individuals undertaking research and innovation activities at ISCED levels 7-8 in collaboration with and driven by the needs of the private sector and focused on the Grand Challenge areas. It will offer progression routes for individuals able to pursue qualifications at this level and responds to identified skills needs required to underpin economic growth and investment.