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£51 million support for Welsh businesses in the first half of 2021

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£51 million of loans and equity investments have been made into 220 Welsh businesses by the Development Bank of Wales during the six-month period from April to September 2021.

Half-year figures published today, 15th November 2021, by the Development Bank report that the £51 million has attracted additional private sector investment of nearly £38 million and has helped to create or safeguard over 1,370 jobs.

A 31% increase in the number of new business starts in Wales in the year to Quarter 1 2021 was noted in the latest annual report by Economic Intelligence Wales. This is reflected in a significant increase in micro loans of up to £50,000 provided to new businesses which are up by over 60% compared to the same period last year. 66 new businesses have been supported with £1.5 million to date compared to £0.9 million in the same period last year.

The numbers show strong interest from businesses looking to secure equity investment. Significant interest from co-investors is helping to diversify the market and increase the overall volume and value of deals. £4.2 million of direct investment into early stage, technology businesses has attracted £23.2 million of private sector investment – this figure has more than doubled compared to the same period last year.

Angels Invest Wales, the largest angel network in Wales, is also seeing increasing interest from businesses who are recognising the benefits of securing capital and expertise through angel syndicates. The network facilitated £2.4 million in angel investment compared to £0.7 million in the same period last year.

Demand for funding from the property sector remains strong, with developers needing flexible funding to help manage supply chain issues resulting from the effects of Covid-19 and Brexit.

Chief Executive of the Development Bank of Wales, Giles Thorley, believes that the demand for funding reflects the importance of continued support for businesses as the economy recovers. He said: “There can be no doubt that Welsh businesses are doing everything they can to rebuild and get back on track. It’s encouraging to see that the entrepreneurial spirit and determination to succeed is stronger than ever with many people deciding to start a new venture. The increased equity co-investment activity from UK based and international investors who are seeing real potential in the Welsh economy is particularly welcome.

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“With the Welsh Government’s Net Zero Wales plan launched, it’s positive to see the increasing demand for funding from businesses looking to invest in sustainable projects and the development of innovative solutions that will help fight the battle with climate change. As a long-term generalist investor, our investment activity reaches across business stages, sizes and sectors. Market demand shapes our activity and it is our role to address gaps and continue providing the support and funding that is needed for Welsh businesses to succeed.”

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said: “In line with our Programme for Government commitments, the Development Bank of Wales is playing a successful role in raising awareness of the opportunities presented to business by equity investments, and in developing the market for equity in Wales.

“Just this month I have written to the Chair of the Development Bank setting out the policy priorities for this term of Government. That remit underlines the important role the Development Bank has to play in supporting the economic resilience and recovery mission which I outlined last month, and sets a clear ambition for its role in helping businesses transition to Net Zero. 

“At a time when many mainstream lenders are retrenched, the Development Bank of Wales is there to help businesses access the finance they need to develop and grow – and help build a stronger, fairer, greener Welsh economy.”

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Swansea-based recycling business scoops national award

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Family-run business, Gavin Griffiths Recycling came out top at the Growing Business Awards 2021

This is the second award for the Swansea-based business this year, after the firm found success at the Swansea Bay Business Awards, picking up the Business of the Year 2021 award

The business describes itself as one of the region’s leading recycling, waste management, haulage and aggregate suppliers.

In a very competitive category at an awards ceremony to honour and reward the UK’s most entrepreneurial and high growth business, up against 1,400 other businesses in the category, Gavin Griffiths Recycling came out on top at the Growing Business Awards 2021.  

The firm said they were delighted to be announced B2B Business of the Year 2021 at the ceremony held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. They described this latest award as further testimony to the hard work and determination that has seen the business accelerate its growth plans since its birth in 2005.

During the last 18 months, the group has opened its second site, a 40-acre inert recycling facility in Carmarthenshire, complimenting its existing mixed recycling facility in Swansea whilst delivering one of its largest and most prestigious contracts working on the Llangennech railway crash land remediation.  

The arrival of new staff, additional machinery, plant and 10 new trucks to support the expansion plans have also seen the continued investment into the business.

The company said that whilst keeping its values as a family business, they have continued their community and social values programme, supporting grassroots sports, individuals, schools, and charities across South and West Wales.

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Gavin Griffiths, Group Managing Director commented: “I was very honoured to see us make the final of such a prestigious national award, but when our name was read out as the winner, I was extremely proud of what we have achieved as a team. I would like thank the whole team, as well as every one of our customers, suppliers and stakeholders for supporting us on our journey so far. 

“This recognition is phenomenal, we are so grateful and humbled to have been chosen from so many other amazing throughout the UK. We have some exciting developments on the horizon that will see us pioneer and lead the way in the recycling market. To win two awards in one year, really shows how we have kept our family ethos and worked hard to serve our customers across the whole business.”

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Swansea named the best city in Wales to buy pre-loved presents

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close up shot of a person wrapping a gift box

Sustainable e-tailer Bower Collective’s latest study finds the UK’s top places to buy second-hand gifts this Christmas

As much as £42m worth of Christmas gifts are unwanted (and sent to landfill) each year. To break the taboo around second-hand gifting this festive season, Bower Collective have released a study looking at the number of vintage stores, second-hand shops and vintage and second-hand events per capita across UK towns and cities to find the top places to find pre-loved presents.

Considering all factors, the study found Swansea is the “thrifty-gifting” capital of Wales. Elsewhere in Wales, Wrexham has the most second-hand shops per capita. The Welsh town has 34 second-hand shops per 10,000 people, the most per capita in the UK. Newport has the 4th most second-hand shops per capita, with 38 to offer.

The data for the four major cities can be found below:

LocationOverall rank in WalesNo. of vintage stores (rank per capita)No. of second-hand shops (rank per capita)No. of recent second-hand events (rank per capita)
Swansea1st16th18th47th
Newport2nd30th4th51st
Wrexham3rd49th1st41st
Cardiff4th17th41st44th

The study also researched the search volume of each city for sustainable and second-hand shopping terms like ‘sustainable gifts’, ‘charity shops’ and ‘vintage kilo sale’. Per capita, Cardiff searches the most for relevant terms in Wales. However they also found that searches in Swansea increased by 528% in the past year alone, the biggest one year growth in Wales and the UK overall.

Overall across the UK, Norwich, Worthing, Newcastle and Worcester are the best places to buy a pre-loved present. From looking at Google search trends, the study also found that Brits are searching for ‘sustainable gifts’ 988% more than they were three years ago. Searches for ‘Vintage Kilo Sale’ also rose by 167% and ‘charity shops’ searches went up by 95%.

Norwich, Norfolk featured in the top 10 for all factors, and also ranked top for the most vintage shops per capita, with 28 to choose between. The next best cities to go vintage shopping are Carlisle and Brighton.

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The city with the most second-hand events (like vintage kilo sales and table-top sales) is Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. For this festive season, residents of the city have over 30 events to get stuck into. The next places hosting the most second-hand events were Lincoln and Worcester.

The study can also reveal the most ‘thrifty gift’ winners of each UK Nation. Derry in Northern Ireland is the best place to buy pre-loved presents on the Emerald Isle, and considering its smaller size, Derry ranked 4th in the study for the number of vintage shops per capita – with 8 to purchase from. Glasgow is the ‘thrifty gifting’ capital of Scotland, and ranks 5th in the study overall. Glasgow also has the 6th most vintage shops per. capita in the UK – with 44 to explore.

The study was also supplemented with research into the UK’s changing search trends for sustainable and second-hand gift giving. The data found that those in Bath, Edinburgh and Oxford are searching the most for second-hand and sustainable gift giving search terms per capita.

However, since 2020 Swansea has seen the biggest one-year increase in relevant search terms (up by 528%). Milton Keynes (with an increase of 146%) and Woking (with an increase of 134%) were the next cities with the biggest growth of interest in shopping more climate-conciously.

(Lead image: EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA / Pexels.com)

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No printer? No problem! Royal Mail will now bring labels and collect your parcel from your door

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The move enables customers without a printer to feel the benefit of Parcel Collect, where posties collect parcels for delivery while carrying out their delivery round.

The plans to deliver pre-printed labels are also aimed at bringing even more convenience to customers who are increasingly time-poor and may not want to leave home to drop off a parcel or wait in queues – especially during the cold winter months. As the festive season approaches, it promises to be one of the most convenient ways to post presents this Christmas.

Under Parcel Collect, customers arrange for their postie to collect their parcel from their doorstep. Customers using the service simply have to book a collection online (https://www.royalmail.com/collection) then signal whether they would like to order a self-adhesive, pre-printed postage label to affix to their parcel*. As part of the service, postmen and postwomen will collect a parcel from the customer’s door or nominated safe place.

Through Parcel Collect, Royal Mail collects from customers at their doorstep as part of our postmen and women’s daily round, which means no additional vehicles on the road resulting in fewer additional emissions and less congestion. With the UK’s largest “Feet on the Street” network of over 85,000 postmen and women, Royal Mail already has the lowest reported CO2e emissions per parcel amongst major UK delivery companies. 

As well as offering even higher levels of convenience, Parcel Collect enables online sellers and online shoppers to mail or return a pre-paid item by post from the comfort of their own home. Parcel Collect is available six days a week and can be booked up to five days in advance and up to midnight the day before. Parcel Collect is currently priced at 60p per item, inclusive of VAT, in addition to postage costs.

Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail, said: “Every day our posties walk past every house in the country at about the same time. People know when their postie is going to deliver and now they can send or return parcels at the same time. If people aren’t going to be in, they can leave their item in a safe place for our postie to collect it and now if they don’t have a printer at home, they can ask their postie to bring the label with them. How convenient is that! As the nights continue to draw in and the weather gets worse, why go out when you can stay safe and warm and leave the hard work to your friendly local postie. And even better, many of our deliveries and collections are carried out by posties who walk their rounds – the greenest way to send and return.”

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The nationwide launch of label-less collections follows a trial of the service in four areas of the UK earlier in the year.

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