Merthyr Tydfil is looking to build on its recently announced status as the capital of Wales for business start-ups by extending a unique support project for local entrepreneurs.
The County Borough Council’s Enterprise Team provides extensive support for budding entrepreneurs, and its ‘Meanwhile’ programme offers an opportunity for new and existing business to test-trade their goods and services in vacant Merthyr Tydfil shopping centre premises for up to six months.
Businesses nurtured by the programme include the highly successful fine dining JOL’s Restaurant, The Bait Shack – the only fishing tackle and accessories shop in the county borough – and upmarket upcycled goods store Furniture Reborn.
Meanwhile is supported by the Merthyr Tydfil Economic Growth Strategic Partnership and Merthyr Tydfil Enterprise Centre (MTEC), which comprise representatives of the local authority, Department of Work and Pensions, Job Centre Plus, Careers Wales, Merthyr Tydfil College, Merthyr Tydfil Institute for the Blind and Tydfil Training.
The MTEC Centre in High Street is the venue next week (Friday, February 3, 2017) for an open day where people with a business idea will be asked to discuss it with the Meanwhile team and be given help and information on how to take it forward.
“The scheme provides business owners with a low risk trading opportunity and enhances the products and services on offer in the town centre, while also occupying vacant shops,” said Council Leader Cllr Brendan Toomey.
Figures recently released by the Office of National Statistics showed that Merthyr Tydfil recorded the highest number of enterprise births in Wales in 2015 and was one of only five local authority areas that exceeded the UK average. There were 225 new enterprises created, up from 130 a year earlier.
“It’s not a coincidence that Merthyr Tydfil heads the statistics for start-ups,” Cllr Toomey added. “Much of that success is down to the Council’s Economic Development & Strategic Tourism team, which has been working to provide a complete package of business support for the local economy.”
Further grassroots assistance is available from the Effect (Enterprise Facilitation for Effective Community Transformation) programme, which sees new businesses advised by a network of professionals from the private, public and voluntary sectors with experience in areas such as product development, marketing and finance.
The Welsh Government funded initiative, match-funded by the local authority, is delivered by an ‘Enterprise Facilitator’ who provides free and confidential support through a broad range of community contacts.
“The scheme has been proven to help new start-ups by giving them the confidence and self-esteem to build and grow their businesses – and in Merthyr Tydfil, it has flourished,” said Cllr Toomey.
- The Meanwhile open day will be take place at the MTEC Office, 114 High Street, Merthyr Tydfil, on Friday, February 3, from 10am-3pm.