£30m is being invested by the Welsh Government in funds and programmes which aim to boost innovation in Wales.
It is hoped that the investment will help businesses in Wales to create, develop and deliver innovative products and services which benefit people’s lives, the Welsh economy and address sustainability.
The £20m SMART Flexible Innovation Support (SMART FIS) Programme has opened for applications and will help Welsh businesses to innovate, improve skills, create new products or services and develop research, development and innovation (RD&I) capability.
Previous programmes have been restricted to businesses and research organisations only, but SMART FIS is open to academia, public sector bodies like health boards and local authorities, and third sector organisations, in addition to Welsh businesses and research organisations in the private sector.
Applications should demonstrate that activities will align with the Welsh Government’s Wales Innovates strategy to create a stronger, fairer, greener Wales. Working alongside specialists and consultants, the successful applicants will receive guidance and funding to help their business or organisation to achieve “Innovation Excellence”.
Sustainability and creating a greener Wales is also the focus of the next round of the Circular Economy Innovation Fund. The Welsh Government is investing £10m in the fund over the next two years.
Businesses will be able to apply for up to £200,000 of funding to support manufacturing processes that increase the use of recycled or reused content or extend the lifetime of products and materials. The successful applicants’ activity will align with Beyond Recycling, the Welsh Government’s circular economy strategy, and net zero targets.
Paul Butterworth, CEO, at Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid commented:
“This investment from Welsh Government is incredibly welcome news. Wales has long been a hub for innovation, and the widened scope of the SMART FIS programme opens up the playing field for some brilliant organisations ,who had previously been unable to benefit from such funding.
“Within our membership, we also have some exceptional businesses who are already making big strides in terms of sustainability, something that was evident in the calibre of entries in the Green Business of the Year category at the recent Wales Business Awards 2023. I hope that the additional £10m in funding for sustainability initiatives goes a long way towards supporting businesses across Wales with their net zero ambitions and urge them to access the funding available.”