£36 million awarded to 585 businesses in just three weeks

giles thorley and ken skates

585 businesses across Wales have been awarded funding totalling £36 million by the Development Bank of Wales since the Covid-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme was launched on Monday 30 March.

The £36 million approved to date includes 533 loans of less than £100,000 and 222 of which are less than £25,000. With more than 80% of applications processed having been approved, 567 loans have gone to small and micro businesses across Wales safeguarding some 4571 jobs. The average deal size is £61,000 and average turnaround time for a decision on funding is around ten days. Over 90% of applicants are new to the Development Bank of Wales.

More than 1,600 applications were received in the first week for the £100 million scheme with the first loans agreed on Thursday 2 April just three days later. The first funds reached applicants on Friday 3 April.

The Hand at Llanarmon in Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog near Llangollen was one of the first businesses to secure funding. Owner Jonathan Greatorex applied within an hour of the First Minister’s announcement of the new fund on 30th March. An offer of £100,000 from the Development Bank of Wales was received on 2nd April and the funds were transferred on 4th April. He said: “The help available in Wales has been fantastic and we are so grateful to the Welsh Government for their support. The scheme really is a lifeline for us. With 25 staff, the funding from the Development Bank of Wales means that their jobs and our future plans are far more secure.”

Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates, said: “I want to pay tribute to the staff of the Development Bank of Wales who have worked tirelessly alongside the Welsh Government to develop what I believe to be the most comprehensive package of support for business in the UK.

“In such a short time they are processing three times the number of applications for support usually received in a year. By doing so they have delivered vital funds to firms which form the lifeblood of the Welsh economy with maximum speed and efficiency, helping to safeguard thousands of jobs.

“I believe there is a lot the UK Government and high street banks could learn from how the Development Bank of Wales has adapted its policies and processes to get funding and support to businesses.”

Chief Executive of the Development Bank of Wales Giles Thorley added: “These are exceptionally difficult times for businesses of all sizes and sectors across Wales. That’s why we are doing all that we can to get money out quickly to businesses, helping to protect livelihoods and safeguard jobs.

“Every single available person in our team is focussed on processing applications as quickly as possible to ensure that we can get support to those businesses facing unprecedented difficult cashflow challenges as a result of Covid-19. Every day counts when you are desperate for working capital to keep a business afloat and protect jobs. I’m pleased to say that all businesses who applied are now in the process and it is our hope that we will be able to get funds out to all successful applicants by the end of the month.”

Ben Cottam, Head of External Affairs at FSB Cymru commented: “At the start of this crisis, we heard the real and immediate problems faced by businesses struggling to ensure their businesses survival and the jobs of their workforce. It’s therefore been very encouraging to see the speed with which the Development Bank has moved to support some of these businesses. We know that for these businesses, this funding represents a lifeline.

However, the fact that this fund was oversubscribed in the first week shows the scale of the challenge and demand and it’s inevitable that further support will be needed as we navigate through this unprecedented crisis”