A ONE stop shop to support business across Wales has been launched in Llanelli today.
Business Wales, the new streamlined pan-Wales service to support the sustainable growth of small and medium size enterprises, was officially launched at the Beacon Centre for Enterprise by Business Minister Edwina Hart this morning.
The service, which will see eleven offices across the country, including at the Dafen site, will have investment of £6.5 million per year from the Welsh Government, and will provide general and specialist business advice to more than 15,000 SMEs a year.
The Minister met a number of small businesses that have already benefited from advice and support from the Welsh Government that helped them to invest and expand their businesses.
She also met representatives from Business in Focus, Centre for Business, Antur Teifi, and Menter a Busnes – the consortium that will deliver the new Business Wales service.
Launching the service the Minister said: "Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and the Welsh Government wants to ensure they have easy access to a wide range of support services helping them to grow and expand.
"In 2011 SMEs accounted for 99.2% of all business in Wales and were responsible for 60.2% of private sector employment which is why support offered to SMEs in Wales is so important and key to Wales' future economic growth.
"Access to private sector support should also be facilitated through this service, and close partnership working with the wider public, third and private sector should be central to the approach to ensure that delivery of services to SMEs is streamlined and easy to access."
The new service has been launched, following a recommendation by the Micro Business Report for Wales, chaired by Robert Lloyd Griffiths.
"I am delighted to officially launch the new dedicated business support service today," added Mrs Hart.
The service will employ 100 staff across Wales which will include business account officers, general business advisors, mentoring agents and specialist advisors in employment and equality, resource efficiency, international trade and procurement.
Mrs Hart has also set up a Business Wales Strategic Board under the chairmanship of Mr Lloyd Griffiths, which will provide advice to the Minister, officials and the providers on the delivery and direction of the service and ensure the needs of micro, small and medium sized enterprises are taken into account.
The Board will regularly review and monitor the delivery and impact of the service, ensuring any issues raised by clients are dealt with, and developments made.