A start-up business programme run by the Caerphilly-based Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (Welsh ICE) has been relaunched.
Formerly known as the ICE-50 programme, the scheme has been rebranded as ICE Start and has been designed to help pre-revenue businesses start, survive and grow.
The scheme has been adapted to provide more access to virtual support and to suit a more flexible style of working, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The support will be delivered both online and through Welsh ICE’s own online platform ice.community. Support will also be available in person at Welsh ICE’s campus on Caerphilly Business Park, near Van Road.
Through the scheme, start-ups will get full-time access to the co-working space at the campus, a tailored mentoring programme, expert-led online and in-person workshops, high speed internet access and one-to-one support for 12 months.
Welsh ICE CEO Jamie McGowan said: “The experience and connections individuals can make through working for themselves can honestly topple many internships, work experience and training programmes out there.
“With the support of our partners at Business Wales, we are excited to launch this first cohort of ICE Start and are looking forward to welcoming the next generation of founders, both online and at our Caerphilly campus.”
Welsh ICE Community Manager, Llinos Neale, said the scheme gives businesses a home and business owners the support they need to get their start-ups off the ground.
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Ms Neale said: “Providing a physical workspace is still a crucial part of the funding package, but providing remote support is now just as important.
“The greatest benefit of ICE however has always been being a part of the community. 74% of businesses at ICE have traded with other members, and it’s that natural networking that means more than 77% of businesses that start at ICE go on to survive for three or more years – higher than the UK average of 61%.”
She added: “The spirit of collaboration and support at ICE is a testament to how welcoming the community is and we would encourage budding entrepreneurs to put their business ideas on paper and contact us.
“With the guidance and support of the ICE campus, it really is possible to grow a business of your own.”
Welsh ICE, where Caerphilly Observer is also based, is one of five regional enterprise hubs across Wales, all funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
The hubs will see more than £4m invested to provide supportive spaces and mentoring for new and growing businesses, with the ICE campus supporting the South East Wales Valleys region.
Since Welsh ICE was founded in 2012, its businesses have contributed a £53m net gross value added (GVA) to the Welsh economy.
The ICE Start scheme is currently open to applications from start-ups and entrepreneurs. To apply, call 02920 140040, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to welshice.org.
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