Ken Skates, Minister for Economy and Transport
The Welsh Government is committed to doing all it can to help businesses in Wales prepare for Brexit.
Business Wales’ Brexit Portal is now well established to provide up-to-date information and advice on a range of relevant business topics including trading internationally and workforce planning. It also houses an interactive diagnostic tool which businesses can use to assess their level of preparedness and better understand what else they can do. To date, 29,510 businesses have used the portal.
Business Wales has also delivered a series of Brexit related workshops across Wales during the past few weeks to help companies become fully aware of appropriate preparedness tools and additional sources of support. The workshops have been very well received with over 150 organisations attending. Further sessions are planned though to the end of March which complement a national Brexit resilience marketing campaign aimed at preparing businesses for the challenges and opportunities ahead.
I would urge the businesses which have not yet drawn on these resources to do so.
To support businesses with the financial burdens arising from Brexit, in 2018, £7.5m from the European Transition Fund was allocated to support business resilience. Part of this funding is being made available for businesses to directly support the costs of preparing for Brexit. The fund is administered via Business Wales which has received a higher than anticipated volume of applications for funding since it was launched in November 2018.
We recognise the importance of continuing to offer this financial support so I am pleased to announce today that an additional £1.7m is being allocated for 2019-20 to enable Business Wales to keep the fund open. This will enable small and medium sized businesses across Wales, which are registered with Business Wales, to bid for between £10,000 and £100,000 of Welsh Government funding, to a maximum of half of their Brexit-related project costs. Applicants to the fund need to demonstrate that their project will help safeguard jobs during the uncertain time leading up to and after Brexit.
The Welsh Government is doing all it can to support firms in Wales through these extraordinary times. It is important for us to have commitment from the UK Government that it, too, will act positively and swiftly – and use the significant economic levers it has at its disposal - to support our business community and our economy more broadly through this difficult period.