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Jobs boost as Wales Micro-business Loan Fund helps create 295 jobs

Eighty-seven Welsh businesses had taken out loans totalling £1.9 million from the Wales Micro-business Loan Fund by the end of June 2014 helping to create 281 jobs and protect a further 264 jobs

These loans also enabled the businesses to secure an additional £2.4 million, injecting £4.3 million into the Welsh economy.

Ambitious businesses in Wales’ hospitality, retail, tourism and wholesale sectors led the way, benefitting from over 40% of the loans (£870,000), creating 115 jobs and protecting 78 jobs.

Welcoming Finance Wales’ announcement, Economy, Science and Transport Minister, Edwina Hart said: “The fund was a key recommendation from the Micro-business Task and Finish Group and set up to complement the micro loans already available from the Wales JEREMIE Fund.  The fund is helping to support the growth of Welsh micro-businesses and start-ups and making a real difference.

“Micro-businesses make a significant contribution to the Welsh economy and I’m encouraged to see the hospitality, retail, tourism and wholesale sectors taking advantage of what the fund can offer, investing in their businesses and creating jobs.” 

Five social enterprises have also taken advantage of loans totalling £100,000 from the part of the Wales Micro-business Loan Fund earmarked for Welsh social enterprises, boosting employment in the sector by 14 jobs and protecting 9 jobs.

Eligible Welsh small and medium-sized businesses can apply for micro loans of between £1,000 and £50,000 from Finance Wales.  The loans can help with a range of investment needs, including start-up costs, capital expenditure and stock purchases.

Nicola Edwards, Micro Loans Fund Manager at Finance Wales said: “Thanks to the Wales Micro-business Loan Fund Finance Wales has been able to provide micro loans to businesses in a wider range of sectors and to certain sectors, for the first time and businesses in these sectors are certainly making the most of the opportunity.

“The right package of financial support can transform small businesses’ prospects and the loans we’ve made so far from the Wales Micro-business Loan Fund have helped to unlock an additional £2.4 million.”

Examples of the loans Finance Wales has made from the Fund include The Looking Glass Ice Cream Parlour in Llandudno and Cardiff Residential Estates, Cardiff.

The Looking Glass Ice Cream Parlour, Llandudno

Setting up in business together was a long-term ambition for partners Jenny Walls and David Page and a £30,000 loan from Finance Wales together with their own savings helped them to open The Looking Glass Ice Cream Parlour in Llandudno.

“My partner Jenny and I had always wanted to work together and were keen to use our hospitality and catering skills, so opening The Looking Glass has been the culmination of a dream.  We spotted an opportunity to open our own Gelato ice cream parlour in Llandudno and needed some capital in addition to our savings to get it off the ground.

“Finance Wales’ loan helped us to secure premises and buy the ice cream-making equipment we needed. So far our ice cream is popular with both locals and tourists.  We’re open all year round and so we’ll be selling a range of home-made products in the winter, hosting children’s parties and we plan to move into the wholesale business in the next year,” David explained.

Cardiff Residential Estates, Cardiff

Experienced estate agent, Lee Bryce used a £50,000 micro loan from the Wales Micro-business Loan Fund to establish Cardiff Residential Estates. 

Commenting on how the loan has helped him, Mr Bryce said: “I’ve held a number of positions at well-known Cardiff estate agencies and had wanted to open up my own independent agency for some time.  We offer busy clients a tailored service covering all aspects of the buying and selling process.

“I combined the loan from Finance Wales with financial support from my family to set up and market the business.  It helped with web site costs as well as the costs of producing brochures and also provided the working capital I needed.  We ‘go the extra mile’ for our clients and they’ve recommended us and this has helped us to expand our business.”

Wales 1 Day Nursery, Magor

A new children’s nursery, Wales 1 Day Nursery, is opening in Magor on 18th August thanks to a £25,000 micro loan from Finance Wales.  Peter and Victoria Buttle, the couple behind Cardiff’s successful Appletree Nurseries, are opening the new venture. 

The Buttles have now received 3 micro loans from Finance Wales.  They used the first to open their Cardiff Bay nursery in 2009, their second to open the nursery in Magor  and a third to set up another Appletree Nursery at Llanishen Primary School in Cardiff and to refurbish Cardiff Bay. The business has expanded over the last 5 years and now employs 26 trained staff including the 4 new members of staff at Magor.

“We aim to provide conveniently located nurseries that provide the children in our care with a happy, safe and inspirational environment to play and learn.  The three micro loans we’ve received from Finance Wales have provided the injection of capital we needed to establish and expand our business and opening our nursery in Magor is a significant achievement for us.  Finance Wales understands our business plan, they have a simple, speedy application process and we value the support they’ve provided us with,” explained Peter Buttle.

The Welsh Government anticipates that the Wales Micro-business Loan Fund will support at least 300 businesses throughout its 5-year investment period. 

Micro loans are also available from the £150 million Wales JEREMIE Fund.