A carpenter and a virtual assistant are among more than 50 new businesses in Swansea to have received seed funding in the past six months.
Grants of up to £1,000 have been made available to successful applicants in the latest round of a program run by Swansea Council and funded by the UK government’s Community Renewal Fund.
Although the scheme is now closed for applications, further financial support for Swansea start-ups is expected to be announced early in the new year.
Edward Enticknap, of Morriston, is among those who have benefited in recent months. He used the seed funding to help defray the costs of setting up his handcrafted wooden furniture and general carpentry services business, which is called Edward’s Bespoke Carpentry.
“I trained as an apprentice in foundry model making, a specialist carpentry that makes wooden replicas of objects to be cast in metal.
“I also taught carpentry and carpentry, but was away from work for a few years, helping to raise a young family.
“I was also suffering from depression and anxiety caused by bereavement, and was initially referred by my GP to the council-run Workways+ employability project.
“I haven’t looked back since, with council funding and Wales help cover the start-up costs of my business.
“It’s mainly building renovations and small general carpentry work that I’ve been doing over the last few months when setting up the new business, although I now have a dedicated space where I can make products to sell. , including glamping pods and shepherd’s huts, for Example.
“I am now in my happy place.”
Charly Cope, from Llansamlet, also benefited from a start-up grant which helped defray the costs of a new laptop and headset for his business, Charly Cope Virtual Assistant.
Founded in the summer, the firm provides executive support to clients, including calendar and social media management, report writing, event planning and proofreading.
“I worked remotely for many years, but the virtual assistant industry really started to grow – especially during the pandemic when I first really noticed the opportunity.
“Some people are put off thinking there is too much paperwork to apply for funding like this, but they really shouldn’t be because the process was quite simple.
“The council’s business support team has been great – very prompt and extremely helpful.
“I had my first client less than a week after setting it up and more have followed, so I’m very glad I made the decision when I did.”
Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Cabinet Member of the Swansea Council for Regeneration, Investment and Tourism, said:
“We recognize the contribution our businesses make to our city’s economy, which is why we’re here to provide as much support as possible to start-ups and businesses of all sizes.
“This is particularly important as the city recovers from the impact of the pandemic, with many businesses also facing higher energy and other bills as the cost of living crisis begins to take hold. “
Swansea Council’s ongoing support for new and existing businesses includes free start-up and power hour events with expert advice on topics ranging from social media and legal considerations to employment law and cybersecurity .
Visit swansea.gov.uk/businessadvice for more information.