A new Welsh Government initiative aimed at helping unemployed people who are interested in starting their own business to overcome hidden barriers opened this week.
As part of its commitment to supporting people through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond, the Welsh Government is working with partners such as Chwarae Teg, Mubo, Assadaquaat Community Finance, Jobcentre Plus and Network She so that disabled people, those from BAME backgrounds, women and young people not in education or training, can access targeted support to help them start their own business.
Economy Minister Ken Skates announced the opening of the £1.2m business start-up Barriers Fund, which is a key part of the Welsh Government’s commitment to supporting individuals that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. He explained that while the programme is open to all unemployed people looking to start their own business, the Welsh Government plans to allocate more than half of the support to young people not in education and training, disabled people, those from BAME backgrounds and budding female entrepreneurs as these are groups expected to be hardest hit by the pandemic .
The Coronavirus outbreak means that unemployed people face even greater barriers to starting a business or accessing the labour market than they would usually and this programme of support will help them to overcome some of those barriers and explore opportunities they might not have previously considered.
The programme will specifically target young people who left college and university in 2019 or 2020 who are at a particular disadvantage in the labour market, with the Welsh Government working with colleges and universities to identify and support unemployed leavers with a real interest in starting their own business.
People interested in accessing this support will be required to register with Business Wales before the application process opens in December so that they can work with an adviser to develop a business plan.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said:
“Starting a business can be a challenging experience at any time, but we recognise the backdrop of the current economic climate caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could make this move more daunting than ever.
“That’s why we are taking important steps to support our people, provide new self-employment opportunities and boost our economy. Our Barriers Fund will work alongside our business support programmes to help individuals who are considering self-employment to ensure this is the right decision for them, and will help them build their business understanding and confidence and develop a robust business plan so they have the very best chance of making their new ventures a success.”
Chwarae Teg chief executive Cerys Furlong said:
“Chwarae Teg is really pleased to be collaborating with the Welsh Government and Business Wales on this project.
“We know that there are many hidden barriers which can hold women back from setting up their own businesses. It is important that we work together to tackle those barriers and to empower women to harness their entrepreneurial skills so that their potential can be realised.”
Akmal Hanuk, founder and CEO of Assadaqaat Community Finance (ACF) added:
“ACF is delighted to working collaboratively with Welsh Government to encourage entrepreneurship within BAME communities, with a focus on Women and young people in Wales.”
The Business Wales Barriers Fund will be open for applications between December 1st, 2020 and March 19th, 2021, or whenever the fund is fully committed. This discretionary fund will offer up to £2,000 to support essential business costs to successful applicants.
For more information on the fund and the full eligibility criteria, please visit: https://businesswales.gov.wales/business-wales-barriers-grant
If you have questions and wish to speak to a member of the Business Wales team, call 03000 6 03000.