MORE than 4,300 new businesses were set up in Wales in the first quarter of 2022 – with almost half registered in March alone – according to new research from insolvency and restructuring trade body R3 in Wales.
The figures, which are based on an analysis of data provided by Creditsafe, show the number of start-ups in Wales have risen from 372 in January to 2,116 in March – an increase of 469%, which is the biggest percentage change in any region or nation across the UK.
Wales also had the second highest rise in newly established firms between December 2021 and March 2022 with an increase of 385%, falling only behind the West Midlands which saw an increase of 462%.
The R3 research also indicates that insolvency-related activity, which includes liquidator appointments, administrator appointments and creditors’ meetings, remains relatively low in Wales when compared to the rest of the UK.
In the first three months of 2022 there were 266 insolvency-related activities in Wales – the second lowest of any UK region or nation, behind Northern Ireland, which only had 44.
The data also showed an increase of 123% in insolvency-related activities between March and February of this year and an increase of almost 200% between March and January.
R3 Chair for Wales Charlotte May comments: “I’m delighted to see that despite the financial impact of the pandemic, entrepreneurism in Wales continues to grow.
“The first three months of the year have seen a tidal wave of business activity and it’s inspiring to see new business owners taking the opportunity to respond to new opportunities and changing consumer demands.”
Charlotte, who is Associate Director for South West and Wales at Manolete in Bristol, continues: “While the number of start-ups is encouraging, we are also seeing insolvency levels in Wales slowly increase too, which, given the current economic climate, is not surprising.
“Between increased creditor pressure, low consumer spending and rising inflation, this is the most difficult period for businesses since the height of the pandemic.
“Anyone thinking about setting up a new business should not be discouraged but should certainly be prepared for a challenging year. The first few months of trading are always tough and the current economic pressures will only amplify these struggles.
“Business owners in Wales noticing signs of financial distress should not struggle alone. Financial difficulties don’t go away without intervention and by seeking advice from a qualified, regulated source at the earliest point there will be more options available to help resolve the issue and hopefully return the business to a healthier position.”
Young person celebrates kickstart job and overcomes several obstacles
22-YEAR-OLD Lee from rural Ceredigion found it challenging to secure permanent employment. Having no mode of transport as well as his diagnosis of autism and depression meant that Lee has experienced significant barriers with finding and maintaining employment. Communities For Work Plus (CFW+) provided Lee with the right tools and opportunities to find the right role for him. He now has a job at ASN Watson (Savers), with a more positive future ahead.
Lee was struggling financially with increasing debt and although he had been working in the past, the nature and environment of the work was not practical for Lee’s abilities; he was often misunderstood by employers.
After being referred to CFW+ from Job Centre Plus, Aberystwyth, Lee received support with job searches, applications, cover letters, cv writing, and interview skills. He’s now in paid employment, secured through the Kickstart Scheme. The UK Government Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit.
Lee said: “The project helped me a lot as I struggle to know where to start when it comes to finding jobs, but this definitely helped. Communities for Work+ has got you covered!”
Communities For Work Plus is a Welsh Government funded project, delivered by Ceredigion County Council which supports individuals in or at risk of poverty, aged 16 or over, across Ceredigion and throughout Wales. Participants may be experiencing in-work poverty, unemployment, living on minimum wage, or struggling to pay basic monthly outgoings on sporadic zero-hour contracts.
Misha Homayoun-Fekri, CFW+ Mentor said: “Lee has been a pleasure to support. He was always very responsive, and we worked together every step of the way. I am so pleased for Lee that he has found a job that he can be happy in.”
Since starting his new role, Lee has become a lot more independent, his mental health has improved, and has started to save money for the future.
Councillor Wyn Thomas, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, said: “One in 100 people are on the autism spectrum. A report released by the Office for National Statistics shows that only 21.7% of autistic people are in employment; meaning that businesses are missing out on the opportunity to benefit from the strengths that autistic people can bring to the workplace. So, it’s great to hear that Lee has found an autism-friendly employer through the support provided by CFW+ and I encourage more employers to be more inclusive to all abilities when considering employees.”
If you think the project may be able to help you or if you would like more information, contact the team on 01545 574193 or email TCC-EST@ceredigion.gov.uk.
Mid Wales distillery wins COVID 19 Resilience Award
THE TEAM at Ceredigion distillery, In the Welsh Wind, is celebrating after winning the COVID 19 Resilience Award at the inaugural Wales Food and Drink Awards.
The awards shortlisted businesses in a range of categories to reflect the diverse nature of what is a key sector in the Welsh economy and one that has a global reputation for excellence.
The COVID 19 Resilience Awards, sponsored by Cywain, recognised businesses that had gone above and beyond not only to support their communities but to grow and develop despite the pandemic.
During the first COVID 19 lockdown, In the Welsh Wind’s team was initially reduced to just the owners, Alex Jungmayr and Ellen Wakelam, with their young son.
Business manager Joe Lewis worked from home and the remaining three staff were placed on furlough. However, Ellen and Alex saw that the Cardigan area needed hand sanitiser and they were able to produce it, so they moved production away from gin and into sanitiser overnight.
Ellen said: “It was clear to us that we were in a position to be able to help the community, so there was no question that we would set up hand sanitiser production. From one small photo on social media of a bottle of hand sanitiser, we had queues of people up the distillery drive coming to collect.
“We also supplied many community groups and organisations including the RNLI, the Post Office delivery teams, the police, care homes and doctors’ surgeries. We provided the sanitiser free or at cost where we could.”
In addition to hand sanitiser, during the pandemic the team launched the distillery’s first ‘own brand’ Signature Style gin to much acclaim.
The company also worked with Bluestone Brewing Co to save 3,500 litres of Bluestone Summer Rocks beer from being wasted by creating a cask-aged Welsh vinegar which has since been featured on TV.
The business has grown significantly since September 2020, now employing 18 people and, most recently, has opened a gin bar, Bar 45, in Cardigan.
Ellen added: “Winning this award is really a testament to the whole team and how we’ve not only survived but grown and succeeded through what has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone.
“It’s been an honour to be able to help the community where I grew up by providing hand sanitiser and to work with Bluestone on the vinegar project as well as seeing our own success with the launch of Signature Style.”
New owners at Cenarth Falls Holiday Park in Newcastle Emlyn
SAVILLS, on behalf of a private client, has completed the sale of Cenarth Falls Holiday Park in Cenarth, Newcastle Emlyn, Wales, to Boutique Resorts Ltd for an undisclosed sum.
The holiday park is set on an attractively landscaped site extending approximately 11.52 acres (4.66 ha) which includes 1.92 acres of woodland. The holiday park has planning permission for 89 static caravan pitches and 30 mixed touring caravan pitches. At the entrance of the park there is a reception, sales office and games room. The property also provides a high quality fitness, hospitality and entertaining space including indoor swimming pool, gym, bar and function room licensed for a maximum of 290 guests, and owner’s accommodation comprising a three bedroom bungalow and adjoining two bedroom cottage.
Cenarth Falls Holiday Park is situated within the historic and picturesque village of Cenarth, Ceredigion, bordering Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. The village is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which attracts numerous visitors to the area. The River Teifi is renowned for excellent salmon and sea trout (sewin) fishing and the town of Cardigan is 10 minutes away with an array of shops and amenities. There are numerous sandy beaches nearby and many other activities on offer in the locality including walking, golf and water sports such as kayaking.
Richard Prestwich, Director in the Leisure and Trade Related team at Savills, says: “It has been a privilege to sell such a good quality holiday park, nurtured to its 5 star status over a 34 year period by the former family owner. The new owners are no strangers to high quality holiday businesses being an award winning holiday brand and they will look to improve the quality of the business further to complement their other holiday parks, with the nearest being Fishguard Bay Holiday Park.”
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