Help, FAQs and Glossary

Below you'll find answers to the questions we get asked the most about applying for finance from us.

General

The Development Bank of Wales is a subsidiary of the Welsh Government set up to support the economy of Wales by making it easier for businesses to get the finance needed to start up, strengthen and grow.

We have offices throughout Wales in Cardiff, Llanelli, Newtown and St Asaph.

 

 

We're here to help businesses based in Wales or willing to relocate. This includes:

  • SMEs (start-ups and established)
  • Non-SMEs (mid cap businesses)
  • Property developers
  • Technology ventures (start-ups, early-stage and established)

We are only able to support businesses and do not offer personal accounts or savings accounts to individuals.

We offer both loans and equity investment for businesses. Because of our flexibility, we are able to provide a mixture loans and equity together including mezzanine, a hybrid of loans and equity financing.

No, we make commercial loans and investments only. However, our finance can work alongside grants to help you get the right level of funding you need.

To find out more about grants please visit http://business.wales.gov.uk/grants

The Development Bank of Wales can offer loans ranging from £1,000 - £5 million per round for businesses. We can also offer equity investment from £50,000 up to £5 million per round. 

We always aim to keep our interest rates competitive. Our annual interest rates range can from 4% to 12% and they’re fixed for the life of our loan. For more information see our interest rates page.

With loans, we can take full, partial or no security. The security can either be from assets in the business to personal guarantees.

The level of security given can influence the interest rate of the loan.

 

Applying for investment

Your business must be based in Wales or willing to relocate. A business plan and financials will also need to be provided before you are able to receive any finance. Check your business' eligibility with our online tool.

 

Unlike other lenders, we are able to help business across sectors including:

  • Business services
  • Engineering, electronics & optics
  • Food & drink
  • Healthcare
  • Industrial & manufacturing
  • ICT, software & services
  • Leisure
  • Life sciences
  • Media & entertainment
  • Medical technology
  • Professional services
  • Property
  • Renewables
  • Retail

We also have a specialist team for technology ventures investments who work with young tech companies supporting them from research and development phases to full commercialisation and beyond.

Please note there are some sectors deemed as restricted and off limits to any support.

  • Production of weapons and ammunition
  • Gambling
  • Tobacco
  • Activities that give rise to environmental impact
  • Activities that are ethically or morally controversial

The first thing to do before applying for investment is to check whether your business is eligible for investment. Once this has been established you can apply online. If you are a tech venture, buying a business or a property developer we recommend contacting us first to discuss your application.  

Applying online with all the required documents will help speed your application along. You can save progress on your application allowing to come back to later on should you need to do so. However, if this is an issue you can submit just the online application form and send in the necessary documents to us at a later date.

However, if you are applying for a property loan the following documents are mandatory:

  • Company accounts (inc. associated companies)
  • Project synopsis detailing; your financial contribution, other financial contributions, planning permission(s), proposed build schedule and the value you hope to achieve from the development’s sale
  • Detailed cost breakdown of the development
  • Details of the project’s pre-sales, demonstrating loan repayments.

This depends on the how soon we receive all necessary documentation and the size and complexity of the finance you need. See our process section for more details.

Absolutely. Our portfolio teams work with our customers to help provide follow-on funding when required. This means a company could secure several rounds of finance from us over a period of time.

We can only provide finance to businesses located or willing to locate to Wales. If your company is looking to open a business in Wales, but your head office is located in another country we still may be able to help depending on a number of business criteria.

For more information contact us and one of our investment executives will get back to you.

Buying or selling a business

On average, the process should take between three-six months overall – depending on the complexity of the deal.

In many cases, the buyers contribute a small investment towards the costs with rest is raised from lenders or investors. Loans, equity, and earn-out mechanisms can all be considered.

If you want to know more about financing a deal, get in touch and we can put in touch with one of our experts.

It is likely that the majority of the funding will be raised externally so it depends on the future ability of the business to repay its funding rather than the amount that the management team commits initially.

If you want to know more about financing a sale, get in touch and we can put in touch with one of our experts.

It is possible to bring in an external management team to work alongside the existing team (see a buy-in management buyout transaction).This is best done in consultation with the current team, as an ‘imposed’ management structure often doesn’t work. 

Have you asked them?  We have completed several MBOs where the management team has grown in confidence and ambition as the transaction progresses. 

This will vary from funder-to-funder, but in such circumstances, you are taking on a fellow shareholder so it’s important that all interests are aligned.  Investors expect to exit the investment at a profit in the medium term so we will need to know your thoughts on the likely exit route right at the outset. 

As the buyer, you will be expected to formulate a coherent business plan explaining how you will run the business and generate cash to repay the funding. 

The plan will include an integrated financial model showing two-three years’ worth of cash flow forecasts which will then be tested by the funder. This is the document on which any lending/investing decision will be made so it is important you get it right. Utilising the services of a specialist accountant / corporate finance adviser to assist with this is often a good idea.

In simple terms, your job is to deliver (or exceed) the business plan. Funders understand that unforeseen eventualities can cause a change of direction so the message should be to keep your funders informed of any potential variance at the earliest opportunity and detail how you are proposing to address any upcoming challenges. 

Technology ventures

Yes, we can offer seed finance (equity) to technology start-ups, university spin-outs and IP rich companies to help them commercialise their products and technologies and bring them to market.

Equity is between £50,000 and £2 million and is designed to support the company until either it generates revenues of its own or can raise further investment.

We invest across a range of technology sectors including:

  • Energy and environment
  • Electronics and engineering
  • ICT, software and services 
  • Life sciences
  • Medical technology

We welcome applications from a wide range of sectors, but you must have strong technology and IP position. If your business' sector isn't here you can contact us and speak to one of our technology ventures team for guidance.
 

Typically we can invest £50,000 - £2 million over milestone-set tranches which means that we release the finance in phases over a set timescale when your business reaches particular goals.

Yes and no. Our seed finance is strictly equity only, but for more established businesses and follow-on rounds we can provide loans and equity investments. 

 

Property development loans

Our maximum loan size is £4 million. Anything below £150,000 isn’t viable given professional costs involved.

Our rates range from 5% to 8%. They’re fixed, so there’s no risk of fluctuation – even if the Bank of England’s Base Rate changes. Additional charges apply if payments default.

We prefer to successfully complete a project with a customer before financing multiple projects. Track records go a long way though.

There are no set levels, but we expect customers to share the financial risk. Land purchase funds are often sufficient.

We offer up to 65% of the project’s gross development value.

24 months from the first drawdown.

We only provide finance to support a development to completion and aim to recycle finance quickly to support more customers.

If there are pre-sales and pre-lettings in place. We can’t consider speculative commercial-only schemes.

Glossary

Here are some phrases and terms that you may come across on this website. 

Term

Meaning

Board A board of directors is the governing body of a company. 
Business plan A statement of attainable business goals and a plan for reaching them.
Cash-flow The amount of money transferred in and out of a business over a given period of time.
Co-investor Someone who co-funds a loan or equity investment. 
Financial projection How much money a company will make within a certain time period. 
Investor A person (or organisation) that puts money into a financial scheme.
Interest The percentage of a loan to be repaid – in addition to the original loan. 
Investment The process of investing money for profit.
Liquidity The availability of liquid assets to a market or company – such as cash. 
Loss An amount of money lost by a business or organisation.
Manager/ management team The people who run a company on a day-to-day basis.
Profit A financial gain –  the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent.
PSL Private sector leverage. The amount of private sector money co-invested into a project.  
SME

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are defined in the EU recommendation 2003/361.

The main factors determining whether an enterprise is an SME are:

  1. staff headcount
  2. either turnover of balance sheet total

More details.

Stakeholder A person, business, or organisation with an interest in a business, or those affected by a business’ activities. 

 

 

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