More than 1,100 unemployed people facing hidden barriers to entering the labour market have been helped to start their own business thanks to a Welsh Government grant scheme, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has announced.
They include unemployed single mum Sami Gibson, who was determined to build a better life for herself and her child.
Sami had dreams of setting up her own business but faced several barriers – she had no laptop or internet connectivity and was living in a remote rural location.
Thanks to support from the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service, Sami has set up a new business called Roots, which grows and sells herbs and other plants sustainably.
Roots also creates blends such as stuffing herb mix with wild bilberries, a nasturtium salt, and pizza sauce herbs.
Sami was awarded a Barriers to Start Up Grant worth £2,000, which she used to purchase equipment and marketing materials for her start-up.
Sami said: “Thanks to invaluable support from Business Wales, I now trade regularly at markets and I have a thriving website for sales.”
The Barriers to Start-up Grant for over 25-year-olds is a revenue grant to help economically inactive and unemployed individuals over the age of 25 to start up a business in Wales.
It particularly targets individuals facing barriers to starting their own business or to enter the employment market.
It is part of a package of support that includes one-to-one advice and webinars to build confidence in business practices and develop plans for starting a business.
Of the successful applicants in the latest phase of the grant scheme 57% were female, 26% were disabled, and 13% identified themselves as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic.
The fund supports the Welsh Government’s aim of eradicating the gap between the employment rate in Wales and the UK by 2050, with a focus on fair work and raising labour market participation of under-represented groups.
Speaking at the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said:
“The Welsh Government is determined to create a fairer and more prosperous Wales, where people are supported to fulfil their true potential.
“We are working hard to create good-quality jobs in communities across Wales. That includes supporting people into work, regardless of their individual circumstances or the barriers they face to employment.
“We are also focused on supporting more people to start their own business, fostering an even more vibrant SME sector, and prioritising enterprises built on sustainability and the industries and services of tomorrow.
“I am delighted this grant initiative has already helped so many people, including those from groups under-represented in the labour market, and those in and out of work with long term health conditions.”
As well as assisting individuals aged over 25 to start up a business, the Economy Minister approved £5m over three years to support young people into self-employment with advice and financial support to deliver on the Young Person’s Guarantee.
The Young Person’s Start-up Grant for those aged under 25 went live in July 2022 and is administered by Big Ideas Wales. This grant will run until 2025.
Find out how Business Wales could help you at https://businesswales.gov.wales/campaigns/support