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Launch of Investment Fund for Wales provides £130m boost for small businesses



THE BRITISH BUSINESS BANK is launching its new £130 million Investment Fund for Wales today (23rd November), unlocking additional funding to help smaller businesses to prosper and thrive.

The fund will drive sustainable economic growth by supporting new and growing businesses across the whole of Wales through investment strategies that best meet the needs of these firms. It includes a range of finance options with loans from £25,000 to £2 million and equity investments up to £5 million to help small and medium-sized businesses start up, scale up or stay ahead.

The Bank’s Investment Fund for Wales will be the first solely UK government-backed investment fund for smaller businesses in Wales, helping to increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance by providing options to firms that might otherwise not receive investment. Funding is designed to help businesses with activities including expansion, product or service innovation, new processes, skills development, and capital equipment.

Three fund managers have been appointed to manage the fund. BCRS Business Loans will manage the smaller loans part of the fund (£25,000 to £100,000), FW Capital will be responsible for larger loans (£100,000 to £2 million) and Foresight will manage equity deals (up to £5 million).

Louis Taylor, Chief Executive of the British Business Bank, said: “Wales is a nation of innovative smaller businesses. These start-ups, scale-ups and established businesses often require initial, or further finance, in order to launch, to maintain momentum, or to develop their full potential.

“This fund, which has been designed specifically for Welsh businesses, is intended to further address the challenges of access to finance and to provide opportunities for business talent in Wales to grow, to develop and to thrive.

“Over the past nine years we have supported thousands of Welsh businesses across urban and rural Wales and with the launch of the Investment Fund for Wales we will be able to go further and deeper, to support hundreds more as they continue to contribute to the ongoing sustainable success of the wider Welsh economy.”

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said: “I’m delighted to see the UK Government backing this £130m Investment Fund for Wales. We are a nation of entrepreneurs and this fund will provide much needed finance for start-ups to turn their great ideas into a business. The fund will also support smaller businesses who need support to expand and grow.

“This new source of financing will help the UK Government deliver on our priority of creating jobs and driving prosperity in Wales.”

The Investment Fund for Wales is the fourth in a series of six new Nations and Regions Investment Funds being launched by the British Business Bank and follows the launch of The Investment Fund for Northern Ireland earlier this month, The Investment Fund for Scotland in October and the South West Investment Fund in July. A total of £1.6bn has been committed to the new funds to drive sustainable economic growth and break down barriers in access to finance.

Among the Welsh businesses to already benefit from the British Business Bank’s support is Feral Pig Wines, a wine shop selling locally produced Welsh wine on the grounds of acclaimed boutique hotel, Llys Meddyg in Newport, Pembrokeshire.

The business received a £10,000 Start Up Loan from the British Business Bank in February 2023.

Owner Dave Cushley, a trained sommelier and former restaurant manager at Llys Meddyg, said: “I simply wouldn’t have been able to secure funding without the British Business Bank. It wouldn’t have been possible for me to start my own business and open the shop.

“The Bank wasn’t only useful in terms of money – the Bank’s mentoring support was invaluable. My mentors offered security and gave me that level of exposure financially, which I wouldn’t have wanted with anyone else. I would have been terrified.”

Following today’s launch, the British Business Bank will be holding a series of information roadshows aimed at people working in the small business finance ecosystem including enterprise agencies, advisers, accountants and more. The first of these will be held in Llandudno on 20 February 2024 with additional sessions held in Aberystwyth, Swansea and Newport later that week. An online version of the session will also take place on 7 December 2023 at 11.00am.

To find out more and apply for funding, visit:

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Business hub opens third shop in west Wales to meet customer demand



TRADERS are enjoying start-up success with the support of Antur Cymru Enterprise.

Entrepreneurs, makers, and independent producers in west Wales are benefiting from the organisation’s Cymorth Busnes Lleol / Local Business Supportprogramme.

After opening retail units in Aberystwyth and Newcastle Emlyn, a space has now been unveiled on Cardigan High Street.

Loren Nash is the owner of Under the Laurel nature-inspired jewellery accessories and homeware, now based at the bustling store having launched during the pandemic.

She began making items in lockdown to improve her mental health; however, increasing demand led to customers across the area and online, so she decided to take the leap and join the Local Business Support community earlier this year.

“I started making items just for myself, but after requests from friends and family ended up creating an Etsy store, which is when it really started to take off,” she said. 

“As my customer base grew, I felt I needed a proper space to make and to sell, which is when Antur Cymru stepped in to help. They have been so incredibly helpful, imparting their knowledge and advice, which has been invaluable.

“They have also assisted me with social media, helped myself and other traders understand what grants are available and how to apply for them, and even demonstrated how to how to put together table and window displays.”

Loren added: “The response since opening has been wonderful and local people have been incredibly supportive, telling us how nice it is to see small businesses getting a chance to get their products out there. 

“Eventually I would love my own shop here on the high street with my partner and also run free art workshops where all supplies are provided by us and the space is welcoming and accessible – that’s the dream, but for now I am excited to be here and looking forward to the future.”

Among the other start-ups are Funky Fairy jewellery and keyrings, artist Titus Sharp, and Andrea Edwards, whose model venture Amaze Me 3D is reaping the benefits of having a physical presence in the town centre.

“This started as a hobby, gifting to my friends and family, and progressed just a few months ago,” said Andrea.

“I make 3D models out of a material called PLA (Polyactic Acid) which is environmentally friendly as it’s made from natural materials like corn starch and sugar cane. Dinosaurs and dragons have been particularly popular with the shoppers, and being here in this shop has shown me the true potential of my business.”

Talented artist Titus Sharp, whose Tonnau Glas (Blue Waves) venture is already picking up commissions and demand for bespoke glass creations cast from beach and sand ripples, was in agreement.

A former health and social care worker, he is proud to be part of the group and said: “I am here at the shop as much as possible, drawing, learning more about business and selling my work, which has been very positive.

“I’ve had several sales and commissions, and being part of the community has given Tonnauglas more exposure, which is great – everyone has been very supportive.”

Andrea Stinton and her Funky Fairy start-up combine the making of jewellery and keyrings from various metals sea glass and crystal beads with dreamcatchers and suncatchers woven from feathers, natural crystals, and crystal glass.

She echoed his words and has enjoyed a similar experience.

“What was a hobby and something I enjoyed doing with my daughter turned into demand for items from friends and family, then their friends and then it was craft fairs and more!” said Andrea.

“Antur Cymru identified this might be a good move for me and they were right. My dream is to have my own store one day and now I’m on the way to that thanks to them.”

Funded by UK Government and driven by Levelling-Up via Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire councils, the project also includes guidance for new and start-up businesses across the region via a team of skilled and experienced mentors and advisors.

The other outlets in Newcastle Emlyn and Aberystwyth have enjoyed regular footfall and community support, and Project Manager Julie Morgan said that has already been the case in Cardigan.

“The shop has been busy since day one, the town has really got behind us and given these small businesses real encouragement,” she said.

“The lessons we have learned at our other two retail spaces have given us a firm foundation to build on here, and with plans for further pop-up stores this year we are confident of giving start-ups and entrepreneurs in west Wales even more opportunities in the future.”

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Efficient Living UK – the number one choice for sustainable solutions



IN the heart of South Wales, a beacon of sustainability shines brightly through the work of Efficient Living UK, a company dedicated to pioneering sustainable solutions that address today’s most pressing environmental challenges. With a commendable track record spanning 18 years, Efficient Living UK has established itself as a premier destination for those seeking to embrace a greener lifestyle without compromising on their modern needs.

Under the leadership of Stephen Daniel Mills and Alexander James Nicholas, the company aims to contribute significantly to the renewable energy sector.

Efficient Living UK’s mission transcends the mere provision of services; it embodies a commitment to curbing public energy expenses while making a significant contribution to environmental conservation. This dual focus not only highlights the company’s dedication to excellent customer service but also underscores its role in fostering a sustainable future for generations to come.

The company’s offerings are diverse and tailored to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving world. From commercial solar solutions that empower businesses to operate more sustainably, to domestic installations that transform households into bastions of energy efficiency, Efficient Living UK caters to a broad audience. The agricultural sector, too, benefits from the company’s expertise, with solutions designed to minimize environmental impact while maximizing productivity.

Solar power lies at the core of Efficient Living UK’s services, providing a clean, renewable source of energy that can significantly reduce electricity bills and carbon footprints alike. The company’s dedication to this technology is evident in its comprehensive approach, which includes not only installation but also ongoing support and maintenance to ensure optimal performance over time.

Moreover, as the popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) continues to surge, Efficient Living UK has positioned itself as a leader in providing state-of-the-art EV charging solutions. This foresight not only meets the current demand but also propels the region forward in adopting more sustainable transportation options.

Beyond mobility and power generation, Efficient Living UK recognises the importance of efficient lighting in reducing energy consumption. Its innovative LED lighting systems are designed to brighten spaces while significantly lowering energy costs, marrying functionality with sustainability.

Choosing Efficient Living UK means investing in a future where sustainability and innovation go hand in hand. It’s a choice for cutting-edge technology, expert guidance, and a partnership with a company that’s deeply committed to making a difference. As South Wales continues to embrace green initiatives, Efficient Living UK stands ready to lead the charge, providing solutions that not only save money but also safeguard our planet.

By opting for Efficient Living UK, customers are not just availing themselves of top-notch clean energy solutions; they are becoming part of a larger movement towards a more sustainable, energy-efficient future. Whether it’s through solar panels, battery storage, or EV charging stations, Efficient Living UK is making it easier than ever for individuals and businesses in South Wales to take meaningful steps toward reducing their environmental impact. In doing so, they are not just clients but also contributors to a global shift towards sustainability that promises a brighter, greener future for all.


Telephone: 07816511915, 07903692668

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Stinky Withyhedge Landfill told to clean up its act by regulator



IN a stern rebuke from the regulatory body, the proprietors of the Withyhedge Landfill, infamously referred to as “a stink bomb on steroids,” have been mandated to ameliorate their operations. The directive issued to Resources Management UK Ltd (RML), the company at the helm of the Pembrokeshire landfill, stipulates the necessity to “contain and collect” all forms of “fugitive emissions” that have been a source of significant discomfort to the local populace.

Residents in the vicinity have reported the pervasive odour of “rotting rubbish,” with some claiming it is detectable in villages up to five miles distant. Natural Resources Wales, the overseeing authority, has criticised the firm’s initial prognosis of resolving the issue by early March as overly optimistic, subsequently imposing a more stringent deadline of 5 April.

RML has previously issued an apology for the inconvenience caused by the malodours, asserting that efforts are underway to “rectify the issue with immediate effect.” Nevertheless, the proposal put forth by RML to mitigate landfill gas emissions has been deemed non-compliant with its operational permit by Natural Resources Wales, suggesting it harbours numerous uncertainties and potential future complications.

The regulatory body has expressed concerns that the short-term gains of diminishing the foul smell do not justify the medium to long-term risks involved. Despite the complexities surrounding the decisions to be made, a statement from the authority anticipates “noticeable reductions in landfill gas emissions and odours in the coming weeks.”

The issue has mobilised local residents, who have been vociferous in their demands for more stringent measures to address the odour issue. Meanwhile, RML contends that the current odour problems stem from a delay in the “capping” of a waste containment cell, maintaining that these odours pose no risk to human health or the environment. The company has extended its apologies to the affected community and has pledged to implement measures to prevent such occurrences in the future.

Additionally, an enquiry into the escape of liquid discharge from the landfill into a nearby river is currently in progress. Following its acquisition by the Cardiff-based Dauson Environmental Group in 2022, RML is authorised to dispose of up to 250,000 tonnes of waste annually at the Withyhedge site.

Concerns have also been raised regarding the past conduct of an RML director, David John Neal, who was previously adjudged guilty of illegal waste disposal at a site of special scientific interest in Newport, Gwent Levels. In May 2013, Neal received a suspended sentence and was fined in excess of £200,000, further casting shadows over the company’s environmental stewardship.

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