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UK Shared Prosperity Fund boosts innovation and social enterprise in Mid Wales

Solutions Catalyst event, AberInnovation

24 May 2024

Solutions Catalyst event, AberInnovation
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UK SPF) has been awarded to seven pivotal regional projects in Mid Wales, accelerating economic development and social entrepreneurship in the region. The projects, which span across Ceredigion and Powys, aim to foster economic growth, sustainability, and community engagement.

Two initiatives run by Cwmpas and AberInnovation Ltd exemplify both the strategic investment priorities of the fund and align with Growing Mid Wales' Vision that the region will be an enterprising and distinctive area delivering economic growth driven by innovation, skills, connectivity and more productive jobs supporting prosperous and bilingual communities.

Cwmpas:Specialist Support for Social Enterprises In Mid Wales

Cwmpas has launched an initiative to provide specialist support to social enterprises in Mid Wales. This project enhances the capabilities of Social Business Wales (SBW) by delivering expert consultancy and market engagement aimed at nurturing the social economy.

"With the help of this funding, we can offer a more tailored approach to professional support, significantly boosting the effectiveness and reach of social business support in the region," said Kathy Rivett, Project Manager, Cwmpas. Since its inception in 2015, Social Business Wales has assisted over 900 businesses and has been instrumental in creating over 700 jobs.

AberInnovation Ltd:Catalysing Research and Development Innovation in Mid Wales

AberInnovation Ltd's 'Solutions Catalyst' targets knowledge-based SMEs in critical sectors such as health, agriculture, environment, and food. This program is designed to bridge the gap in Research and Development (R&D) support, enabling businesses to undertake concept-design-proof activities essential for competitive market positioning.

The programme will accelerate progress in R&D by offering companies a voucher worth up to £30,000 to gain supervised access to AberInnovation's state-of-the-art facilities, capabilities and skills and Aberystwyth University academic expertise.

"Solutions Catalyst will transform the innovative landscape of Mid Wales, helping firms to achieve groundbreaking advancements and robust economic growth," said Dr Rebecca Charnock, Industrial Research Development Manager, AberInnovation.

Jointly, Councillor Clive Davies, Ceredigion County Council's Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, and Councillor David Selby, Cabinet Member for a More Prosperous Powys and Chair of the Powys Shared Prosperity Fund Local Partnership, Powys County Council said: "We are delighted to see the impact of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in our region. These projects not only promote economic diversification and sustainability but also strengthen community ties and regional self-sufficiency. It's a strategic investment into the future of Mid Wales, ensuring that both Ceredigion and Powys thrive as dynamic, innovative communities."

In addition to Cwmpas and AberInnovation Ltd, the UK SPF has also funded five other projects that are operating across both counties in the Mid Wales region: Growing Mid Wales Digital Connectivity Analysis and Mapping, Anti'r Powys / Ceredigion, Mid Wales Multiply Parents Programme, Growing the Local Food Economy, and Money Mystery.

These projects, along with 160 other projects in either Ceredigion or Powys, represent a substantial investment in the future of Mid Wales.

The Mid Wales Region has been allocated £42 million of UK Government SPF funding from 1st April 2022 to 31st March 2025. Ceredigion and Powys Councils are working together to deliver the UKSPF in Mid Wales.

For more detailed information on each project and their outcomes, please visit the Economy pages on the Powys and Ceredigion County Council websites:

To keep up to date with more regional information sign up for the Growing Mid Wales newsletter by emailing: growingmidwales@ceredigion.gov.uk

PICTURE: Solutions Catalyst event, AberInnovation.