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Micro loans from Finance Wales help more small businesses to startup and expand creating and safeguarding hundreds of jobs

From app designers to ice cream parlours, stone masons to bars, restaurants and even  a zoo - £1,000 and £50,000 micro loans from Finance Wales are being used to start and expand small businesses all over Wales.

Welsh business owners are using the flexible loans to purchase stock and new equipment as well as to fit out their premises.  The loans are also being used to boost cash flow, recruit new staff or even to buy businesses.

Finance Wales made 86 micro loans totalling £2.7 million from the Wales Micro-business Loan and JEREMIE Funds in the last financial year, exceeding its annual investment target by 18%.  These loans leveraged an additional £1.3 million to inject £4.0 million into the Welsh economy.

Now in its third year, loans from the Wales Micro-business Loan Fund helped to create and safeguard 167 jobs (96 created and 71 safeguarded) during the year and 668 jobs (356 created and 312 safeguarded) since its launch.

Ambitious small businesses in Wales’ retail, wholesale, hospitality and tourism sectors have benefitted from over 40% of the micro loans.

Welcoming the news, Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “I’m pleased that small business owners in Wales now have more funding options available following the launch of the Wales Micro-business Loan Fund and they’re taking advantage of them.  Micro finance can have a significant impact on their success and increase their contribution to the Welsh economy. These loans are helping small businesses to create and safeguard jobs and also boosting their owners’ confidence".

Nicola Edwards, Micro Loan Fund Manager at Finance Wales is impressed by the ambition and diversity of the businesses her micro loans team works with. 

“The Wales Micro-business Loan Fund has significantly increased Finance Wales’  reach, allowing us to help small businesses in previously ineligible sectors.  We’re receiving applications from an increasingly diverse range of small businesses with some exciting and well-thought-through business plans.

“While we’re backing more bars, restaurants and retailers than ever, some of the more unusual businesses our micro loans are helping include an app designer, an ice cream parlour as well as a special effects company.  We’ve even backed a zoo.   Our micro loans can help with a range of practical funding needs and they’re flexible enough to provide these businesses with the financial boost they need to achieve their aspirations,” she explained.

Some of the latest small businesses benefitting from Finance Wales micro loans include:

BiBi Bags, Newport

£20,000 to fit out new shop takes online retailer onto the high street

Newport retailer Sahra Bibi Hassan contacted Finance Wales when she wanted to expand her growing online fashion business which sells designer bags and accessories.

A £20,000 loan helped her to launch BiBi Bags on the high street and her first shop opens in Newport city centre on 17th August alongside other new shops as part of the city’s current redevelopment.

Commenting on how the loan has helped her, Miss Hassan said: “Having successfully established the business online, opening a shop was the next step for me. I contacted Business Wales for help and they recommended Finance Wales. 

“Finance Wales took time to understand my plans and I’m pleased to have secured the funds I needed to fit out my shop. The shop will be an exciting showcase for the business and also let us get to know our customers better.”

North Wales Stone Products Ltd, Corwen

£50,000 loan for cash-flow and business development

Corwen-based North Wales Stone Products is a leading UK supplier of commercial granite, marble, quartz and silestone products which has been providing stone masonry services for 20 years. 

Local businessman, Philip Wildbur bought the company in 2014 and a £50,000 loan from Finance Wales has boosted the company’s cash flow, enabled him to buy equipment and also undertake more business development 

“When I bought North Wales Stone Products, I knew I’d need additional finance to put get off to a good start and build on the company’s reputation and position in the market.  Finance Wales’ loan provided the financial backing we needed to enable us to implement some important changes to the business and strengthen our orderbook,” Mr Wildbur explained.

Wiff Waff Bars, Aberystwyth

£25,000 loan to launch and promote a second bar

Having successfully started MG’s café bar in Aberystwyth, owner Christopher Mackenzie Grieve used a £25,000 loan from Finance Wales to help launch his second business, the family friendly Wiff Waff Bar in an historic town-centre inn.

Mr Mackenzie Grieve said: “Wiff Waff bar offers a unique and relaxing experience where customers can enjoy a cocktail, our excellent food or just play a game of table tennis.  It’s already proving popular and we’re looking forward to welcoming even more customers as our reputation grows.

“I was keen to expand and open another bar building on the success of MG’s café bar. Running MG’s gave us a good understanding of the costs involved in launching and running a bar and Finance Wales supported us with a loan that allowed us to hire local staff and invest in marketing to get things off the ground.”

If your business is interested in micro loan finance click here.