EU funds totalling £3 million will support a new project which will help create new social businesses across West Wales and the Valleys, the Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters, has announced.
The Social Business Wales New Start initiative, led by the Wales Co-operative Centre, will aim to create 200 businesses over the next 3 years. The firms established will form the next generation of successful social businesses in Wales, providing quality jobs and essential services anchored in communities.
The Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport made the announcement at a Co-operative Leaders Lunch at The Clink restaurant in Cardiff, itself a successful social enterprise.
“Co-operatives and mutuals add real value to the Welsh economy and labour market by creating jobs, improving educational attainment, providing social care in people’s houses and reducing inequality, particularly in our most deprived communities.
“We see growing the co-operative sector as part of our broader ambition to tackle the ‘missing middle’ in Wales – and increasing the number of grounded indigenous firms in our communities – helping the Welsh Government achieve its goal of Prosperity for All.
Glenn Bowen, Enterprise Programme Director at Wales Co-operative Centre, said:
“The social business sector is an important and growing part of the Welsh economy.
“Social Business Wales New Start will help people to come together to set up new social businesses across West Wales and the Valleys, providing important services and creating much needed jobs.
“The Wales Co-operative Centre will deliver the new start service alongside its existing Social Business Wales growth programme and will be delivered as part of the Business Wales family of support.
In the last decade, EU-funded projects in Wales have created more than 48,000 jobs and 13,000 new businesses, while helping 86,000 people back into work.