October sees the official opening of The Development Bank of Wales. Created by the Welsh Government, the new Development Bank will make it easier for businesses to get the capital they need to start-up, strengthen and grow.
It launches with the new £100m Wales Flexible Investment Fund, more micro finance available and extended lending terms. In total, the Development Bank of Wales has around £440m available to invest in Welsh business.
The Wales Flexible Investment Fund will invest more and over longer periods than existing funds, offering up to £5m in a single round and repayment terms of up to 10 years.
Through the Development Bank, the Welsh Government is also trebling the amount of micro finance available from £6m to over £18m, with further funds also being developed.
Commenting on the Development Bank of Wales, Ben Cottam, FSB Wales Head of External Affairs, said: “FSB Wales welcomes the Development Bank of Wales and the new £100m Wales Flexible Investment Fund.
“For smaller businesses across Wales, access to finance can potentially mean the ability to grow a business, hire staff or, indeed, start-up a new venture, and so we very much welcome the increased availability of funding to SMEs.
“It is important that the new Development Bank’s interaction with Business Wales as the ‘shop front’ for business support in Wales is seamless to ensure that businesses can be signposted to the most appropriate support.
“The new institution needs to be as much ‘development’ as it is ‘bank’ and it needs to be clear in the new Welsh Government Economic Delivery Plan where the organisation is going to be deployed to support the economic development vision”
“FSB’s recent report on the ‘Missing Middle’ highlighting the need to grow more medium businesses is a good example of where the Development Bank can be positively deployed to help address weaknesses in the Welsh economy and we will shortly bring forward proposals for developing self-employment in Wales”
“It is our view that the institution must take steps to address the concerns which were raised on access to finance in Professor Dylan Jones 2013 report, particularly around the cost of its services”
“We are very much looking forward to working with the new Development Bank as it moves forward and inform its new service offering.”