New funding to help maintain and strengthen Wales’ business, economic and research ties with European regions following the UK’s exit from the EU has been announced.
The Welsh Government’s Agile Cymru programme will support Welsh businesses and organisations to take forward economic co-operation in the Irish Sea region, and with other European regions.
The programme will award grants over the next 12 months to businesses and organisations in Wales to maintain and develop new partnerships, networks and collaborations with important regions and nations in the rest of Europe.
In February, the Welsh Government launched a new Irish Sea Framework to guide and influence actions to increase economic co-operation across and around the Irish Sea region.
To support this co-operation, Agile Cymru grants of up to £40,000 are now available for Welsh businesses and organisations, for travel, engagement, consultancy, forming networks, feasibility studies and pilot projects.
Funding for the Irish Sea region is aimed at stimulating co-operation around the maritime economy as well as in innovation, communities and culture.
Further funding will also help develop economic links with important regions of the European Union (EU) such as the Basque Country, Baden Württemberg, Brittany, Flanders, Catalonia and Galicia.
Grants of up to £25,000 are available for Welsh businesses and organisations interested in creating economic opportunities with EU regions and transferring international knowledge to Wales.
Agile Cymru has been launched following the UK Government’s decision not to maintain participation in EU Territorial Co-operation Programmes which have supported Welsh organisations to participate in . It also recognises the uncertainty created by the significant delays in associating the UK to the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme.
Launching the new Agile Wales programme, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said:
“To mark St Patrick’s Day, I’m pleased to announce this funding to support ongoing economic co-operation in the Irish Sea region as well as with other European regions with strategic value to our economy.
“Economic partnerships with other nations and regions of Europe help Welsh businesses and organisations scale up activity, drive innovation and increase our profile globally.
“The funding announced today will help pave the way to unlocking new international partnerships and economic opportunities over the coming year.”
Welcoming the new programme and funding while visiting Paris to launch Wales in France Year, First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford said:
“I am pleased new funding is available to support Welsh businesses and organisations create economic opportunities in the Irish Sea and with other European regions. This proactive approach will help to strengthen economic and research ties with the EU.”