Business Support and Advice - Wales
1. The Welsh Assembly Government provides support and advice to business from all sectors through its Flexible Support for Business service.
2. The Flexible Support for Business service has a website and a helpline number both of which provide a range of support, advice and information on topics from business start up to training and skills.
3. The main website for Flexible Support for Business is www.fs4b.wales.gov.uk and the main telephone number is 03000 6 03000.
4. Flexible Support for Business will allocate a tier of support to businesses dependent on their individual needs, their size and their sector. These needs will be assessed at initial contact with through the main website or telephone number quoted above.
5. Flexible Support for Business operates a network of 12 regional centres throughout Wales. Advisers at regional centres have specialist knowledge of the region and the support that is available to local businesses. Details of the regional centres and contact numbers are available at http://ms.fs4b.wales.gov.uk/your_regional_centre.aspx
6. The Single Investment Fund (SIF) is the main source of funding to support business in Wales. SIF is focused on the individual needs of each business and offers funding or different elements of the same project, depending on the business needs. SIF helps businesses of all sizes at all stages of development including:
· Starting up
· Developing new products, processes or services
· General and specialist support
7. Employers should contact the main Flexible Support for Business number to discuss eligibility for and to access SIF funds.
8. Details of SIF support can be found at http://fs4b.wales.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?site=230&r.s=sc&r.l1=5001392897&r.lc=en&r.l2=5001457679&type=RESOURCES&itemId=5001457744
9. In the Convergence Area of Wales the SIF is complemented by the Local Investment Fund (LIF). This is administered by local authorities and is available for qualifying capital investment projects that need less than £5,000 of financial support.
10. The LIF can support a range of capital investment projects relating to:
· business start-up
· expansion and growth
• diversification and adaptation
11. LIF funding is available to support qualifying small and medium-sized businesses based in the following unitary authorities:
South East Wales
· Blaenau Gwent
· Merthyr Tydfil
· Rhondda Cynon Taff
South West Wales
· Neath Port Talbot
· Isle of Anglesey
Qualifying for funding
12. The main qualifying criteria for LIF support are:
· businesses must be based in one of the above areas
· businesses must employ fewer than 250 people
· businesses must have either an annual turnover of be less than €50 million or a balance sheet under €43 million
• the funding must be for capital investment
13. Financial support of between £1,000 and £5,000 may be available. Funding can cover up to 40 per cent of eligible costs.
14. There are a number of other smaller grant and funding schemes, as well as sources of specialist advice, designed to support businesses in Wales. Details of these can be found at http://fs4b.wales.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?site=230&r.s=m&r.l1=5001392897&r.lc=en&r.l2=5001457679&topicId=1073858790 and http://www.business-support-wales.gov.uk/business_information/finance_and_support/raising_finance/grants__government_support.aspx
15. Employers can access advice and a variety of support for training and skills related activities via Skills People Success branded services. More information on Skills People Success branded services is available at http://new.wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/foremployers/?lang=en