The Arfor Innovation Fund is a £2 million scheme funded by Welsh Government to pilot innovative approaches in promoting entrepreneurship, business growth, community resilience and the Welsh language in the Arfor region of West Wales (the counties of Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Gwynedd and Anglesey.).

The objectives of the scheme are to:

  • Promote enterprise and support business growth in areas where a high percentage of the population speaks Welsh;
  • Ensure better paid jobs to keep local people in these areas and to encourage those who have left to return;
  • Promote the value of speaking Welsh and bilingualism in businesses and create an exciting sense of place;
  • Encourage businesses and people moving to rural areas to value and use the Welsh language.

The opportunity for funding has been launched for businesses and social enterprises in Ceredigion to support growth in the local economy in making a positive impact on the Welsh language.

The aim is to:

  • Create and grow businesses in order to create and retain jobs;
  • Promoting enterprise and developing innovative opportunities;
  • Contribute to the involvement and appreciation of rural enterprises within the community;
  • Maintenance of a workforce within our communities.

There are two support packages available:

  • ‘Business Start Up’ – This grant is to support new business start-ups and encourage entrepreneurship.
    Total grant and Maximum - £10,000
    Grant rate: 80%
  • ‘Going for Growth’ – This grant is to support existing enterprises to encourage growth and development.
    Total grant - £10,000 - £40,000
    Grant rate: 70%

Key points to consider:

  • The two support packages will apply to small-scale revenue and/or capital expenditure as part of an approved proposal.
  • Innovation is a key principle in relation to the Arfor Innovation Fund. The proposal should be new and additional to the specific area, rather than the continuation of any previous business activity. Innovation can mean new products and services, a new process, new partnerships or new ways of working.
  • Both packages will target the following specific sectors: food and drink; creative industries; the digital sector and tourism. However, it is not limited to these sectors if an innovative idea is proposed.
  • There is no lower limit or upper limit set for a project timetable but the activity must be completed and the expenditure claimed by December 2020.
  • In order to measure effectiveness, all candidates will have to carry out research and evaluation work.

To apply you must submit a completed application form along with providing supplementary details of your idea. All applications will be considered by an Arfor assessment panel. The decisions made by the assessment Panel will be final and subject to the availability of funding.

Applications to both support packages are on a first come, first serve basis and requests are dealt with as they are received.

Applications are welcome in either English or Welsh. Applications submitted in either language are treated equally.

For a further discussion of your idea please contact 01545572063 or
cynnalycardi@ceredigion.gov.uk

FAQs:

The minimum budget for the Business Start-Up package is £1000 and the maximum budget is £10,000 with a grant rate of 80%.

The minimum budget for the Going for Growth package is £10,000 and the maximum budget is £40,000 with a grant rate of 70%.

Each idea must be innovative and have a positive impact on the Welsh language. Arfor is particularly eager to support businesses in the following sectors: Food & Drink; Digital; Creative Industries and Tourism. However, Arfor is not limited to these sectors, and welcome an innovative idea in any sector.

Support will not be provided to:

  • Maintain a business as it is
  • Renew existing equipment
  • Proposals solely to comply with a new regulation or law
  • Pay for work or equipment that has already been ordered/purchased
  • Enable a business to get an advantage and to compete against other businesses in the local area
  • Things that have already happened

To apply you must submit a completed application form along with providing supplementary details of your idea. All applications will be considered by an Arfor assessment panel. The decisions made by the assessment Panel will be final and subject to the availability of funding.

Applications to both support packages are on a first come, first serve basis and requests are dealt with as they are received.

Applications are welcome in either English or Welsh. Applications submitted in either language are treated equally.

For a further discussion of your idea please contact 01545 570881 or cynnalycardi@ceredigion.gov.uk.

If successful, you will receive an offer letter which gives a full explanation on how to claim the funds. Do not order or pay for anything before you receive and return the offer letter.

Only after you have paid and purchased you will be able to claim any repayments. Remember to ensure that you have sufficient cash-flow to pay, submit your claim (with evidence of the expenditure - a copy of the invoice and bank statement showing the payment), wait for your claim to be processed, and the business package funds to reach your bank.

Do not pay for anything with cash. If using a credit card, a copy of the card's statement will be required in order to show the payment.

The Council is committed to ensuring that any full claim is processed within 10 working days from the time of receipt.

No, we know that your time (and money!) is valuable. No financial information is required before completing the first stage of the process.

When submitting a full application for support, i.e. a report that contains a work programme for completing the next step in the development of the business, a reasonable estimate of any costs should be submitted, and confirmation that you have had a positive discussion with the Planning Authority, if relevant. It would be useful to include evidence of the basis for costs and the outcome of the discussion regarding planning permission.

If your application is successful, you will receive an offer letter from the Council. The Council's offer will be subject to providing full evidence of the costs (one quote for an item of expenditure up to £4,999, three quotes if the item costs £5,000 or more) and (if relevant) evidence that any statutory claims such as planning permission have been secured. No expenditure should be commenced before this information is provided.

Any funding offer will be based on your commitment to deliver the work plan for the next step in your business development in full whilst continuing to work with the support officer as you implement the work plan.

You will also be required to commit to considering how to make the best of the Welsh language in your business by meeting the Welsh in Business Support Officers, and comply with the Council's standard terms and conditions for funding.

You will have a duty to continue to work with the Council to monitor the use of the funds up and assist us in evaluating the Arfor programme. You will also be required to help us publicise the plan.

Welsh in Business is a Welsh Government programme which encourages businesses to use the Welsh language. A Welsh in Business officer is available to offer advice and practical ideas, and refer you to further support. Comprehensive information about using Welsh in your business is available on Cymraeg.llyw.cymru.

Useful Links:  

www.rhaglenarfor.cymru

https://businesswales.gov.wales/

https://cymraeg.gov.wales/business/business/swyddogion/?lang=en

www.menterabusnes.co.uk/en

www.ceredigion.gov.uk/your-council/partnerships/growing-mid-wales/