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Written Statement - £55million Economic Stimulus Package

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Edwina Hart, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science

I am today announcing two major new funding packages totalling £55million to stimulate the Welsh economy and support business growth across Wales.  I am launching the £40million Wales SME Investment Fund and the £15million Wales Economic Growth Fund, as a direct response to the continuing difficulties faced by businesses in Wales in raising finance.

The Wales Economic Growth Fund will provide £15million non-repayable grant funding to SMEs across Wales. It is a short term, fast track fund for businesses, providing immediate access to capital funding for investments that will create and retain jobs.

The fund will be open for applications, from 12 December 2011 to the end of January 2012, to SMEs and third sector organisations that bring forward projects that have a sound business case and can demonstrate an economic benefit for Wales.

The £40million Wales SME Investment Fund will provide loans and equity investments, ranging in size from £20,000 to £2million and will be managed by Finance Wales.  Funded by a mix of finance from the Welsh Government and the private sector, it will provide good value for Welsh Government by recycling investment returns to produce an ‘evergreen’ fund for SMEs in the future.

The Wales SME Investment Fund will be fully operational and providing finance to businesses in Wales by March 2012.

Together this joint package will create an estimated 2,000 to 5,000 new jobs, and retain many others.