As a leading UK SME investor our investment teams share their unique insight into the growth challenges many SME management teams face.



£40 million for Welsh property developers

Cenydd Rowlands heads up the property fund for Finance Wales. He says the new Wales Property Fund, launched by Carl Sargeant AM (Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children) last week, will have particular benefit for smaller property developers.

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Do you know your MBI from your BIMBO? A quick guide to succession terms

Whether you’re a business owner looking to sell or a management team looking to buy, succession can seem pretty confusing and complicated – not least a lot of the language used!

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Ready, steady, Grow!

No matter the size of your company there are often opportunities to expand – be that through increasing staff, diversifying your product range or moving to bigger premises. Don’t take our word for it though, find out how five different Welsh companies grew and their advice to others looking to do the same!

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The secret of growing your business? Remember these three simple tips!

So why would you want to rock the boat with an ambitious growth strategy?

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Sunshine, beaches and great business

The summer holidays are nearly upon us and it’s high season for Wales many tourism businesses. The tourism sector has a significant impact on the Welsh economy and visitors to Wales spend £5.1 billion a year.

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More meerkats and less ostriches please!

Are you an ostrich or a meerkat?

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Build confidence when buying your company

Clive Hamilton rose through the ranks of Pinnacle over 20 years; eventually taking on the role of MD before buying the company in 2015. Here, he outlines some key factors that have helped him successfully transition from employee to owner.

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What can a £100k business loan do for your growth strategy?

You’ve been successfully running your business for a few years, you’re established, income is stable and now you are focused on making a significant investment in your business’ growth strategy.

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How to make your micro business mighty?

Big success isn’t just for big business. We asked some of the micro businesses we’ve supported for their top tips for making a micro mighty. Here is what they said.

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Small loan, big impact

Whether it is £5,000, £15,000 or £50,000 micro business owners can make a big impact on their profit by investing in the right areas.

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Intellectual property: Why is it important and how to protect it?

Intellectual property, IP: for short, is one of the most valuable commodities a company can have. It covers everything from the creative – photos, writing, and designs – through to the technological – code, patents etc. What you think, original things you make, these are all IP.

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Wales ‘a positive environment’ for technology companies

Dr Carl Griffiths is the Technology Seed Fund Manager at Finance Wales. He holds a PhD in Physics from Cardiff University and is the former CEO and founder of Seren Photonics Ltd. Carl now focuses on investing in IP rich Welsh technology companies.

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How do you value a business?

Gareth Price, Deputy Portfolio Manager at Finance Wales, shares his views on how to value a business.

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Succession advice: A word from our panellists

We recently co-hosted a business breakfast with the ICAEW. Topics covered ranged from the value of creating a ‘talent map’ to identify key team strengths and any skills gaps, to the importance of getting all the paperwork and business processes in order in advance of any purchase or sale.

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'Responsible businesses are better businesses'

Finance Wales is proud to be a Member of Business in the Community Cymru. Our membership represents one of our core business values – responsible and sustainable investment in Wales. As a responsible investor, we believe responsible businesses are better businesses.

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The secret to attracting investors - it’s all about PEOPLE

You’ll often hear investors say that successful investments are all about the people, that people are key, but what does this really mean?

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7 steps for starting your own business in 2017

As a backer of start-ups of all shapes and sizes for many years, here are seven key steps worth thinking about if you’d like to successfully launch your own business in 2017.

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The Perfect Elevator Pitch

At Finance Wales we’re passionate about investing in Welsh businesses and have been since 2001. Pitching for funding can be a daunting task, but there are some great techniques you can use to sell your ideas to potential investors.

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What can you do with a £10k business loan?

Business loans don’t always have to be six or seven figures to make an impact. A small loan invested wisely can provide a significant boost to your company.

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Funders' Wish List

Whether you’re buying or selling a business, understanding the expectations of any potential funders will ensure the transaction completes as smoothly and quickly as possible.

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Alyson Macnamara – supporting businesses in south east Wales

Alyson Macnamara, Investment Executive, Micro Loans Team at Finance Wales

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Food for thought – supporting the Welsh food and drinks business sector

The food and drinks sector in Wales is massive. From small cafes and restaurants through to factories producing meals on an industrial scale for supermarkets – Wales has it all. We’ve worked with a number of different types of food and drink business over the years, funding property deals, new equipment and general expansion plans.

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Going for gold: Welsh businesses cashing in on sporting success

It’s been an amazing summer of sport. Wales made the semis at Euro 2016, Andy Murray won Wimbledon for a second time and Welsh athletes are joining colleagues from across the UK as part of Team GB at the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio this month.

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There’s more to co-investment than extra money

Our Technology Ventures Investments Team (TVI) actively co-invests with other funders. It’s not just because this route offers additional capital, it also offers better growth opportunities for the early stage companies we work with.

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60 second interview: Melanie Goward

Dr Melanie Goward manages the Wales Technology Seed Fund.

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Succession Planning: In business it’s never too early to plan for the future

Finance Wales holds a range of succession workshops and drop-ins across the country; our most recent event was held at the University of South Wales’ Newport campus.

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Do you know your company’s cash-flow?

Cash-flow; it’s something many businesses often don’t think about – until they need to. However managing your cash flow efficiently is a key part of operating a successful business.

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Go Green: Five examples how the green revolution can help your business

With global warming and long-term fossil-fuel supplies an issue it’s important for businesses to invest in green solutions.

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How to get the best out of your £5k business loan

If you’re considering a small business loan of up to £5K think wisely about how you intend to spend it. Ask yourself what is the best way to get maximum value.

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Reaching the big 50 (what 50 investments have taught me so far)

By Cenydd Rowlands, Senior Investment Executive

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Diurnal's AIM listing strengthens Wales medtech sector

Diurnal becomes the third company in Finance Wales’ technology ventures portfolio to be admitted to the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in the last 18 months.

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5 key questions tech start-ups should ask when looking for seed funding

If you’re an aspiring tech start-up looking to take your first steps towards commercialisation in 2016, the chances are you’ll need seed funding.

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The ‘art of the possible’

Selling a business to its existing management team is often an attractive option for the business owner, so why aren’t more management teams taking the plunge?

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Life after debt in 2016?

You’re the owner of an established Welsh small or medium-sized business (SMEs), but what does 2016 hold for you?

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Top tips for being a great ‘buddy’ at work.

A good buddy can make starting a new company a smooth and enjoyable process making new starters feel welcomed and valued enabling them to hit the ground running.

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60 second interview - HNP

The House Nameplate Company (HNP) is the UK’s biggest supplier of house signs and numbers and has been handcrafting house signs and numbers for over 25 years at its North Wales workshops.

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Getting maximum value - 5 steps for selling your business at the right price

After years of hard work, you’d think that every business owner would want to sell their company for the best possible price, yet every year hundreds of businesses in Wales are being undersold - down to a lack of succession planning.

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60 Second Interview – GRS Care Ltd

Swansea-based GRS Care Ltd provides assisted living and care services across South Wales. In June this year entrepreneurs Ceri Todd, Amrita Amin and Dave Howells used a Finance Wales loan to buy into the company. As the company’s new Chairman, Dave Howells speaks about his experience of the management buy-in.

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Start up as you mean to go on

“Small businesses are part of the fabric of the Welsh economy and many of them have the potential to make an even greater contribution to it,” explains Nicola Edwards, Finance Wales’ Micro loans Fund Manager.

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Succession 60 second interview - Beaufort Research, Management Buy-Out

Beaufort Research is one of Wales’ largest and best-known marketing and social research agencies. Long-standing directors Fiona McAllister and Chris Timmins used a Finance Wales loan to buy out the company’s founder in March this year. Here Managing Director, Fiona speaks about the experience.

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Looking for finance?

With a wider range of alternative funding options on offer to growing Welsh SMEs in 2015, the Finance Wales Senior Investment Executive, Alun Thomas offers his viewpoint on what management teams should consider when securing funding.

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Rugby World Cup stadium success shows the potential of project finance

The Rugby World Cup kicked off in England last week with an estimated record 3.9 billion viewers expected to tune in to the global sporting event. One of the venues taking centre stage will be the recently redeveloped Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium in East London which will host both the South Africans and the New Zealand All Blacks.

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Micro loans to help you move or update your premises

Most small businesses know how important their premises are to their success and as your business grows they’re likely to need investment.

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Micro loan finance can be the right fit for new kit

Whether you’re starting your business or expanding an established company, having the right equipment can be vitally important.

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Could equity investment help you to grow your business faster?

If you’d like to grow your business faster and maximise its long-term value, a loan or debt investment might not necessarily be the best funding choice to help you achieve your goal.

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James Henderson 60 second interview

James Henderson is Fund Manager for the Welsh Government’s Wales Technology Seed Fund managed by Finance Wales. The fund was set up to take advantage of the rapidly expanding tech start-up community in Wales by offering equity investment.

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7 questions a cash-flow lender wants answered before investing – by one!

Based on our experience, here are seven questions a cash-flow lender will ask you before deciding whether or not to provide you with funding.

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60 second interview with Dr Melanie Goward

Deputy Fund Manager Dr Melanie Goward talks to us on the benefits of embracing diversity in the boardroom.

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Two triumph at ESTnet awards

Following the recent 2015 ESTnet Awards, Leanna Davies, Investment Executive in Finance Wales’ new investments team on how Finance Wales’ investments are backing winning Welsh technology businesses.

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Joanne O’Keeffe – 60 second interview

Joanne O’Keeffe joined Finance Wales in January this year having spent her career in commercial banking.

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A busy year for tech start-ups

Steve Smith reflects on an active 2014-15 financial year for the TVI team.

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From big ideas to No. 10, the rise of Schoop shines a spotlight on Welsh digital sector

Cardiff based app developer Schoop has had a remarkable last 12 months or so since receiving a Finance Wales micro loan to help launch the company in January 2014.

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What will 2015 hold for your business?

January is traditionally the month when we think about what we want to achieve in the coming year. According to Finance Wales investment executive Oliver Jenkins reviewing and adapting your business model would be his top tip.

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Three triumph at 2014 MediWales Innovation Awards

Dr Melanie Goward, Deputy Fund Manager in Finance Wales’ Technology Ventures team on how Wales’ life science sector is developing following the 2014 MediWales Innovation Awards.

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Looking to sell your business, then preparation is key

For any business owner, selling the business they’ve worked so hard to build can be a complex, potentially emotive issue and one that’s often neglected until it becomes a pressing matter.

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Have you thought about management buy-outs?

A common type of succession deal is the management buy-out (MBO), allowing a management team or employees to purchase a business from its owners.

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Dr Melanie Goward goes behind the fundraise at Venturefest

I was pleased to see Cardiff host Venturefest, the innovative networking event for technology entrepreneurs, investors and innovators, for the first time this year. I hope it achieved its goal of inspiring some future Welsh entrepreneurs.

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Oliver Jenkins on unlocking potential and winning contracts

For many Welsh SMEs the costs of servicing larger contracts can be a key growth issue often impacted by the availability of short-term funding and working capital.

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Increasing role partners and co-investors in Finance Wales' maturing portfolio

With over 30 companies in our tech-ventures’ portfolio, achieving our first exit in 2013 -14 was in an important milestone for Finance Wales and, hopefully, an indicator of future success.

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Making the right long-term choice

Finance Wales’ business breakfasts will give us an opportunity to understand businesses’ specific funding requirements and discuss how we can align our investments with their plans.

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Small business, big impact

The recent launch of BITC’s Small Business Offer reminded me that it’s easy to overlook all we do and achieve, particularly when our ‘To do’ lists seem to keep getting longer!

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Sam Macalister-Smith on investing in adult care home providers

In an earlier investment snapshot, James Henderson commented on how the Wales SME Investment Fund has enabled Finance Wales to invest in more businesses in the growing professional services sector in Wales.

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Renewable growth

As the energy debate in the UK continues, this winter’s fuel price rises have only sharpened the focus of a wide-ranging debate that encompasses wholesale energy costs, the green levy as well as future generating capacity.

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Buying into the future

Your client has built up a successful business and is ready to retire or step down. The economic climate may have delayed their plans, but they’re now keen to assess their options.

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James Henderson on why professional practices make perfect investment opportunities

Recent figures from the UK Government’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills show that the professional services sector is currently worth 11% of the total UK economy and is set to grow at 4% each year until 2021.

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Cenydd Rowlands on constructing the right deal for SME property developers

With transactional activity increasing and stable property prices, Welsh property developers can take full advantage of the confidence beginning to return to the market.

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Off to a good start

The availability of capital is a perennial issue for technology start-ups, but for Finance Wales, early stage growth investment is a key part of its investment strategy.

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Dr Melanie Goward on life sciences in Wales

Senior Investment Executive, Dr Melanie Goward considers what makes Wales such a hot-bed of opportunity for high-quality life sciences companies.

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Mike Owen on business growth

Mike Owen on business growth in difficult timesRobust businesses are planning and investing for the longer-term to see their way through 2012-13

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John Mihell on securing venture funding

John Mihell's top tips on maximising your chances of securing funding. John Mihell of Finance Wales looks at how you can maximise your chances of securing venture backing when VC houses reject many of the plans they recieve.

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Structure your growth investment for long-term success

Funding your long-term growth plans with a well-structured mezzanine or quasi-equity funding package can offer some significant benefits and underpin your future success.

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Ann Casey on co-investing in success

Ann Casey reflects on Finance Wales' relationship with Fusion IP and the benefits it delivers for spinouts.

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David Staziker on succeeding in international markets

Crowded domestic markets can be an incentive to trade internationally. Targeting international markets can offer businesses profitable opportunities. Finance Wales has invested in a number of businesses to help them take advantage of such opportunities.

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A winning approach

Bank lending to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), remains a hot topic, yet, with over 2,500 investments under its belt, Finance Wales has been successfully investing in Wales’ SMEs for over 10 years.

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Chris Griffiths on equity investment

Chris Griffiths wonders why more business don't consider equity investment - your business has an ambitious management team, a clear growth plan and you know where you want to get to.

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David Staziker on developing your supply chain

In my last viewpoint I talked about targeting international markets profitably, but to make the most of such opportunities, you should really review the cost-effectiveness of the supply side of your business. Investing in your supply chain can have a significant long-term impact on your bottom line.

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Expanding for the future

"Businesses are still demonstrating an appetite for growth, despite prolonged economic turbulence," says Peter Wright, Finance Wales’ investment director.

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Peter Wright's viewpoint on the growth bug

Now is an excellent time to invest and Finance Wales has the funds to help grow your clients’ businesses, so encourage them to be courageous and get the ‘growth bug’.

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A model business?

The right business model is imperative and evolution not revolution reaps rewards when implementing it. It also means businesses are less likely to store up problems for the future.

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Steve Smith on business planning

The first step for young technology businesses securing investment is a comprehensive and realistic business plan.

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