The Development Bank of Wales is on course to launch in the first half of next year.
The new bank will be tasked with providing more than £1 billion of investment support to Welsh business over the next five years and will ensure micro to medium businesses in Wales have greatly improved access to finance, support services and management advice.
The Development Bank will create and safeguard over 5,500 jobs a year by 2022 and will be tasked with increasing annual direct investment to £80m by that date. Last month the Economy Secretary confirmed his wish for the headquarters of the Development Bank to be located in North Wales.
The Economy Secretary said:
“The Welsh Government has now received a detailed business plan for the Development Bank of Wales, which means, subject to regulatory approval, we remain on target to launch the bank in the first half of 2017.
“In developing the business plan, Finance Wales have consulted with a wide range of partners and have taken account of the financial challenges being experienced by businesses in Wales in order to develop the right solutions.
“They are also working closely with the Office of National Statistics and academia to create an Intelligence Unit, which will undertake research and work to develop innovative new solutions to Welsh businesses grow and prosper.
“The bank will create and safeguard over 5,500 jobs per year by 2022 and I am targeting it with increasing direct investment levels to £80m per year by the same date.
“I am also challenging the bank to continuously improve its value for money, and work towards ambitious private sector leverage to reduce cost per job.
“Importantly the Development Bank is not there to crowd out or compete with other financial providers. I want it to work alongside businesses and banks, provide top up finance where necessary.
“While the markets in Wales have slowly and steadily reopened since the credit crunch, we know market failures still exist in areas like finance for micro and small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurial businesses where the business model is not proven.
“The Development Bank of Wales will provide vital support to these type of businesses, helping them to access innovative sources of funding such as crowd funding. It will build on the experience and success of Finance Wales which invested over £45m during 2015/16 in Welsh businesses. This resulted in almost £65m additional investment being leveraged, and saw over £110m growth capital being injected into the Welsh economy."
“Ultimately the Bank will form a key part of our strategic approach to supporting businesses and will help us to build a Wales that is more prosperous and secure.”
The Welsh Government will now work with key partners to ensure the new business plan fully meets the needs of businesses and will help them to realise their potential.