The Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (ICE) has secured over £250,000 in funding to help support startup businesses in Wales.
It has been provided by the grant-making charity Fairwood Trust, the Welsh government, Lloyds Bank and office developer WCR.
Welsh ICE intends to use the funding to help provide new firms with a structured route to sustainability, creating jobs and boosting the Welsh economy in the process.
Some 50 firms featuring in the ICE 50 project will be given a fully-funded package with a tailored mentoring programme, creative workshops, high-speed internet access and one-to-one support for 12 months. Firms that have benefited from previous funding include online community tool Noddlepod, digital health tool for businesses Nudjed, design agency Rose-Innes and CGI and animation studio Bomper.
Nudjed co-founder Warren Fauvel said the financial support allowed him to explore ideas in the early stages “without the pressure of having to pay overheads”. Since launching, Nudjed has steadily expanded and has a team of nine working with organisations in the UK, including the NHS.
Animation studio Bomper meanwhile, moved into one of the collaborative labs at ICE – with the networking opportunities soon leading to a core team of four employees with other specialist freelancers. Bomper founder Emlyn Davies said his business would remain a part of the ICE community “as long as there is space for us to continue to grow”.
“Welsh ICE is an amazing collaborative community of businesses, and employees of businesses here have not only become friends but collaborators and suppliers,” he explained. “Whether you’re looking for advice on the best way to approach business grants and funding, seek legal advice for protecting intellectual property rights, complete VAT returns, or even find a reputable local tradesman, someone at ICE will have answers to any questions you could have in setting up and running a business.”
It’s predicted the new round of funding should see between 125 and 250 new jobs in the area.
Gareth Jones, CEO at Welsh ICE, said: “It’s wonderful to be working in partnership with so many great organisations and the size of the funding package will lead to the creation of inspiring jobs.”
He added that the development should allow the innovation centre to “reach out to those businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking for that little bit of extra support that they need to get started, get launched and grow”.
Economy minister Edwina Hart said Welsh ICE had a proven history in developing “some genuinely innovative ways of nurturing startup and early-stage businesses” and was pleased the Welsh government was able to “provide support, alongside the private and third sector, to new generation companies”.
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