Wales Business Fund comes to a successful close.

Business planning and strategy
Buying a business
Growing a business
Sustainability in business

At the end of December 2023, the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government-backed Wales Business Fund closed, having invested £216 million.

Launched in 2016 at an initial fund size of £136 million, the fund was increased significantly during its lifetime in response to changes in the market and evidence of strong demand. 

Managed by the Development Bank of Wales the fund provided loans and equity investments for deals between £50,000 and £5 million for small and medium-sized businesses based in Wales, or relocating to Wales. With terms ranging from one to seven years, businesses were able to access patient capital to support their growth plans. 

From start-ups to established businesses as well as early stage tech ventures businesses at all stages their growth journey have benefited from investment.

The Wales Business Fund has supported 474 businesses that have so far created 3,583 and safeguarded 5,324 jobs. It attracted private sector co-investment of £332 million which had an economic impact on the Welsh economy of £548 million.  It was successful in driving economic growth across all parts of Wales as well as helping to boost Wales’ profile as a place where businesses can secure investment. West Wales and the Valleys which is recognised as the most economically deprived parts of Wales benefited from over 70% of the total funding.

The fund performance built on the success of earlier EU financial instruments in Wales including the £157 million Wales JEREMIE Fund and has paved the way for newer, more targeted funds which continue to support the Welsh economy. 

Giles Thorley, Chief Executive of the Development Bank of Wales said: “We’re proud to say that the Wales Business Fund is now fully invested, and throughout its lifetime consistently achieved its objective of supporting small and medium-sized businesses across Wales, particularly in recognised deprived regions. Its legacy lives on in businesses and communities the breadth of the country and was the forerunner which allowed for the creation of other, more targeted funds to support sectors throughout the economy.

“It proved an excellent means of getting European funding to the community level, in ways which made a real difference to the business ecosystem in Wales and helped hundreds of businesses to grow and thrive.”