The Welsh Assembly offers a range of grants to small businesses to help them get started and grow. Businesses offering a speciality such as manufacturing or tourism can apply for specific grants to fund capital projects. The Assembly will rarely provide 100 per cent funding for a project, and most businesses will be expected to find at least 50 per cent of the money before they can be eligible for a grant.
Assembly Investment Grant
The assembly investment grant offers £5,000 and £50,000 to businesses investing in Wales. These are available to both Welsh and non-Welsh companies. The grant is designed to help small and medium-size businesses undertake capital investment projects, especially in the manufacturing and service sectors. Firms must expect to finance at least 50 per cent of the project themselves with the rest or part of the rest coming from the grant. The grant is not available to companies to help them out of financial difficulty. Managers applying for the grant must prove that their project will benefit the Welsh economy.
The Welsh Assembly provides grants for tourist businesses large and small through the Welsh Tourist Board. Hotels, holiday cottages, restaurants, caravan and camping parks, attractions and activity centres are all eligible to apply for cash to help fund capital projects. The grants can also be used for projects to boost tourism infrastructure such as information points and leaflets. Applications must be made to the Tourist Board.
Grants for Innovation
Help Wales is an agency of the Welsh Assembly that helps companies improve efficiency, develop new products and explore new markets. Businesses can apply to the agency for grants of up to 50 per cent toward the total cost of a project. Money can be used for funding product design, process innovation or marketing. The maximum on offer is £10,000,
but it is only available to companies operating in economically disadvantaged areas of Wales such as in deprived inner-city districts and former mining towns and villages.
Local investment fund
The Assembly provides funding through local government councils to help start new small businesses or expand and diversify existing ones. The local investment fund (LIF) gives grants of up to £5,000 for capital investment projects to help businesses develop and grow.
The Arts Council of Wales, which is the Assembly's cultural agency, offers a selection of grants to help small businesses that promote the arts. Projects that promote the use of the Welsh language, training, education or arts schemes can apply for small grants from £250 to £5,000. Businesses such as theatres, art galleries, dance and performing arts schools can apply to the council for small projects. Larger sums of up to £30,000 are available for businesses and organisations with a track record of work in the arts sector.
Funding of up to £10,000 is available from the Welsh Assembly to small businesses that want to develop e-businesses. Applicants must prove how their digital project will boost business, and companies must provide up to 50 per cent of the cost of the project. Some of the money can be sourced after the grant has been given. The grants are only available to firms in certain rural parts of Wales called the Convergence area where access to the Internet is more restricted.