More than 1,100 unemployed people who face hidden barriers to entering the job market have been helped to start their own business thanks to a Welsh government grant scheme, Chancellor of the Exchequer Vaughan Gething has announced.
They include unemployed single mother Sami Gibson, who was determined to build a better life for herself and her son.
Sami dreamed of starting her own business, but she faced several barriers: she did not have a laptop or internet connection, and she lived in a remote rural area.
With 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 mixes like Herb Stuffing Mix with Wild Blueberries, Nasturtium Salt, and Pizza Sauce Herbs.
Sami received a £2,000 Barriers to Start Up grant, which she used to buy equipment and marketing materials for her start-up.
“Thanks to the invaluable support of Business Wales, I now trade regularly in the markets and have a thriving website for sales.”
The Barriers to Start-up Grant for Ages 25+ is an income grant to help economically inactive and unemployed people aged 25+ to start a business in Wales.
It is especially aimed at people who face barriers to starting their own business or entering the job market. It is part of a support package that includes personalized advice and webinars to build confidence in business practices and develop plans to start a business.
Of the applicants selected in the last phase of the grant program, 57% were female, 26% were disabled, and 13% identified as Black, Asian, and ethnic minorities.
The fund supports the Welsh Government’s goal of eradicating the employment rate gap in Wales and the UK by 2050, by focusing on fair work and increasing the labor market participation of underrepresented groups.
Speaking at the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Chancellor of the Exchequer Vaughan Gething said:
“The Welsh Government is determined to create a fairer and more prosperous Wales, where people are supported to reach their true potential.
“We are working hard to create good quality jobs in Welsh communities. That includes supporting people to work, regardless of their individual circumstances or the barriers they face in getting a job.
“We are also focused on helping more people start their own business, fostering an even more vibrant SME sector and prioritizing companies based on sustainability and the industries and services of tomorrow.
“I am delighted that this grant initiative has already helped so many people, including those from underrepresented groups in the job market, and those who work and do not have long-term health problems.”
As well as helping people over 25 to start a business, the Chancellor of the Exchequer approved £5m over three years to help young people become self-employed with advice and financial support to meet the Youth Guarantee . The youth start-up grant for under 25s 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 in https://businesswales.gov.wales/campaigns/support