Local Government Funding
One example of the kind of funding available is the Carmarthenshire Rural Enterprise Fund (CREF). This is “designed to provide financial assistance to businesses and sole traders for the development of new and existing business premises, where jobs are being created as a result. Priority will be given to applications that will provide tangible benefits to the local economy in terms of quantity and quality of direct jobs created in key sectors.
The CREF grant offer will be either based on £20,000 per job created or up to the following intervention rates, whichever is the lesser figure:
Small Businesses: 45%
Medium Businesses: 35%
Large Businesses: 25%
The maximum grant award is £100,000. In exceptional circumstances, this may be increased.
There are eleven separate funding frameworks for start-up businesses and post-Covid support provided by the Welsh Government either directly or through the Carmarthenshire County Council (CCC). The CCC is committed to helping businesses through the Covid pandemic and post-Covid recovery, and in early 2022 it is launching several grants to support existing businesses with growth and recovery and to help new business start-ups.
Carmarthenshire also runs the ‘Ten Towns Initiative’ – including Llandovery – to support the economic recovery and growth of rural towns across the County. This is part of the CCC Moving Rural Carmarthenshire Forward Plan which sets out key recommendations to support the regeneration of rural Carmarthenshire. A key part of the programme is the development of economic growth plans to promote change in the target towns and surrounding areas.
Other opportunities exist through the Wales Government, which is beginning a new round of strategic planning and investment support. This follows earlier schemes such as the Transforming Towns initiative and the ‘Town Centre First’ strategy. Between 2016-2021, £90 million was provided to “increase footfall” in local towns by locating public sector services in town centre locations wherever possible, helping to bring empty buildings and land back into use, and greening town centres. All Welsh Government departments now consider the impact that their decisions over locating and running services will have on the wider health and vibrancy of town centres.