Today, I am announcing the launch of phase 3 of our Economic Resilience Fund.
To date, the Fund has supported nearly 13,000 businesses helping to secure 100,000 jobs for our citizens. Our £1.7 billion business support package – which is equivalent to 2.6% of our GVA – aims to complement and supplement other UK schemes and means that companies in Wales have access to the most generous offer of help anywhere in the UK.
Following the principles of providing enhanced support, today I am announcing an additional £140m available to businesses to help them deal with the economic challenges of Covid-19 and the UK’s impending exit from the EU transition period.
The funding from the third phase of the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund will see wider support being provided to secure jobs and help businesses develop, as well as additional help for firms affected by local lockdowns.
This new phase of the Economic Resilience Fund will see £80m being made available to help businesses develop and secure the employment of their workforces through business development grants, but will require firms to commit some of their own resources in return. Some £20m of this budget will be allocated to supporting tourism and hospitality businesses facing particular constraints and challenges as we enter the winter months. The scheme will also reward those businesses that create new job opportunities for under 25 year olds.
Meanwhile, an additional £60m will be allocated to support businesses in areas that are subject to local lockdown restrictions.
I am also considering how to use the Development Bank to consolidate and secure long term patient capital to SMEs in Wales as we navigate the next few months.
The business development grants will be open to businesses of all sizes:
- micro businesses (employing between 1 and 9 people) will be able to apply for up to £10k on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 10%;
- SMEs (employing between 10 and 249 people) will be able to apply for up to £150k. Small businesses will be required to match this with their own investment of at least 10% and medium businesses with at least 20% of their own funding;
- large businesses (employing 250+ people) will be able to apply for up to £200k on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 50%.
There will be an element of discretion in the fund to enable higher levels of support for micro businesses and SMEs in the tourism and hospitality industries.
The Eligibility Checker for companies to find out if they can access funding from the third phase of the ERF will be live during week commencing 5 October.
Companies that received grant funding through phases one and two of the ERF, or Non-Domestic Rates linked support, could also be eligible for phase three of the ERF. A further £60m will be provided to support companies needing to close or materially impacted by the current local lockdowns.
The nature of local restrictions may vary according to differing circumstances, and may create a financial pressure for the Welsh Government if it is not mitigated fully by any UK Government response.
We are working with our local partners and with social partners to explore what support may be needed and how this could be delivered to meet the needs of businesses, workers and communities.
Business Wales remains the first port of call for advice for businesses and our existing range of financial support options for businesses remain in place.
This announcement provides our businesses with the reassurance that further support is available when they need it most.
As a Welsh Government, we continue to do all we can to back our businesses, our workers and our communities.