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Innovation Centre Launches New Funded Start-up Scheme

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The Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise, Welsh ICE, has launched its remodelled, flagship round of funded support, and is inviting applications from vibrant startups and entrepreneurs.

ICE Start is designed to give pre-revenue businesses a fully rounded support structure, helping them start, survive and grow, whilst also creating jobs and boosting the Welsh economy.

Formerly known as the ICE-50 Programme, the funding has been redesigned to be appropriate for the changing way we work, where people are less likely to travel to the office every day, providing more access to virtual support, and embracing a more flexible style of working.

The support will be delivered both online through its ice.community platform and at the Caerphilly Campus, giving founders the flexibility to work both at home and in the vibrant coworking space. Start-ups will receive a funded package including full-time access to the coworking space, a tailored mentoring programme, expert-led online and in-person workshops, high-speed internet access and one-to-one support for 12 months.

Community Manager Llinos Neale said the new support scheme would give business founders everything they need to launch and grow:

“ICE Start is the reworking of our flagship support programme, giving businesses a home, along with the support they need to get their enterprises off the ground. Of course, providing a physical workspace is still a crucial part of the funding package, but providing remote support is now just as important.

“The greatest benefit of ICE however has always been being a part of the community. 74% of businesses at ICE have traded with other members, and it’s that natural networking that means more than 77% of businesses that start at ICE go on to survive for three or more years – higher than the UK average of 61%.

“We are always looking to reach out to those who have recently started a business or are thinking about making that leap. The spirit of collaboration and support at ICE is a testament to how welcoming the community is and we would encourage budding entrepreneurs to put their business ideas on paper and contact us. With the guidance and support of the ICE campus, it really is possible to grow a business of your own.”

Since its founding in 2012, businesses at ICE have generated a £53m net GVA benefit to the Welsh Economy, and the Campus now looks to support the next generation of start-up businesses.

CEO at Welsh ICE, Jamie McGowan said through this kind of support, self-employment was a real option for people:

“The experience and connections individuals can make through working for themselves can honestly topple many internships, work experience and training programmes out there. With the support of our partners at Business Wales, we are excited to launch this first cohort of ICE Start and are looking forward to welcoming the next generation of founders, both online and at our Caerphilly Campus.”

The ICE Start programme is open to applicants now. For more information, you can call 02920 140 040, e-mail [email protected] or go to www.welshice.org.

Welsh ICE is one of five regional enterprise hubs across Wales, all funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The hubs will see over £4m invested to provide supportive spaces and mentoring for new and growing businesses, with the ICE Campus supporting the South East Wales Valleys region.