The Wales Micro-Business Loan Fund set up by the Welsh Government to support small and medium sized enterprises has recorded the highest amount of investment in Wales’ social enterprises since the scheme began.
The £6 million fund is managed by the Development Bank of Wales,
with a £1 million social element managed by WCVA's Social Investment Cymru
During the quarter ending June 2018, the WCVA recorded the most
loans drawn for social enterprises since the beginning of the
programme, with no arrears or 'bad' debts and the portfolio of loan
recipients at a record high. This means more money being used for
social good in the business sector than ever before.
Spit & Sawdust
Spit & Sawdust skatepark and community café and art space
opened in east Cardiff in 2014. As the first successful applicant
to the Wales Micro-Business Loan Fund they secured £20,000 in
start-up investment to help get the enterprise running, which was
the maximum loan available at the time. The park was a roaring
success in its first year, surpassing its annual target of 13,000
Four years of hard graft later, Spit & Sawdust now have four
full-time staff, a rolling programme of events, offer services such
as the Skate Rats summer club for children, and host a monthly
One of their recent projects (run in partnership with Tros Gynnal Plant with
funding from the Millennium
Stadium Charitable Trust) offered free skateboarding lessons
for asylum seekers and refugees from the local area, with a meal
The café itself has also attracted a lot of good press, serving
ethically and locally sourced homemade food which draws foodies
from across Cardiff and beyond.
As part of their art programme they run regular life drawing
sessions, as well as a programme of exhibitions and events, with
funding from Arts Council of
'As a non-profit our main priority is to give something back to
the community. It's been very rewarding watching people of all ages
discover skating here, make friends and being part of something,'
says Director Nia Metcalfe, 'without WCVA and the funding from the
Wales Micro-Business Loan Fund opening Spit & Sawdust would not
have been possible, so we are extremely grateful for their
The latest project to receive a loan is Glyn Wylfa in Chirk,
Wrexham, a café and visitor centre based near the beautiful Chirk
Aqueduct and Viaduct.
The building was acquired through community asset transfer and
then underwent extensive renovation by the social enterprise, who
turned it into a community hub and café, housing the local police
station with meeting space for local charities and interest groups,
and private office space.
(Glyn Wylfa and Wylfa Newydd, built with funding from the Micro
Business Loan Fund)
Glyn Wylfa now employ 11 people from the surrounding area in the
café and estimate that more than 35,000 people visited the premises
during the last year.
One of the most lucrative arms of the enterprise is renting the
excess office space to local enterprises and community
organisations. Glyn Wylfa received £40,000 from the Micro-Business
loan fund to renovate another area of the building so that they
could accommodate the growth of one of the tenants and help retain
the rental income and the tenant's 14 employees. This also freed up
the existing space to more potential tenants from their extensive
The build is now complete, and the tenants moved in on 17
August. 'It's been a long haul, but we're really pleased', says
Brian Folley, Finance Director at Glyn Wylfa, 'the micro-business
loan from WCVA contributed approximately 50% of the renovation
build cost of the new office building. We are extremely pleased
with the smooth loan application process and the help and
Could you be next?
'The two projects above are brilliant examples of the strength
of the social business sector in Wales,' says Alun Jones, Head of
Social Investment Cymru.
'Spit & Sawdust has clearly had a great deal of social
impact in the area, and their progression shows that they have
established a truly sustainable business model. They're willing to
innovate and adapt to meet the needs of the community and work
together with other organisations to do so.
'Glyn Wylfa have taken a derelict building and turned it into a
vital centre for the community, a hub for tourists and a home for
other community organisations and enterprises looking to work in
the area. Their application saved 14 jobs and created space for
even more in their offices.
'These two are far from being the only groups to have benefitted
from investment in this way - we have numerous social enterprises
making their mark in diverse fields across Wales, and I'm proud
that we've helped make that possible with the Micro-Business loan
How to apply
Are you a social enterprise in Wales looking to take your
business to the next level?
To be considered for investment you will need to:
- Be based in Wales or willing to relocate
- Provide a business plan
- Fill out an application form providing the necessary supporting
Loans of between £1,000 and £50,000 are available with a maximum
repayment period of five years.
Interested organisations should contact Caryl, Korina, Alun or
Rhys for a preliminary discussion on 0300 111 0124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How the fund can help your business
The fund can offer flexible loans to social businesses for the
- New equipment which could increase efficiency or
- Cash flow
- Acquisition of small businesses
- Purchasing stock
- New premises
- Adapting current premises
More information on the
Wales Micro-Business Loan Fund.