Â£11m social business project launched
A new £11m EU-backed project has been launched to support social businesses in Wales.
The Social Business Wales project is backed by over £6m of EU funds and almost £5m from the Welsh Government.
It will be delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre and will provide specialist support for some 500 social businesses, including co-operatives, employee-owned companies and social enterprises.
Around 500 new jobs are expected to be created over the next five years as a result.
A recent report from the Welsh Co-operative Centre has suggested that that the social business sector adds around £1.7bn of value to the Welsh economy and supports around 38,000.
It added that more than two-thirds also expected turnover to grow in 2015.
Finance minister Jane Hutt said: "Nearly £2bn of EU funds are being invested in Wales over the next seven years, adding value to the Welsh Government's goals for strengthening the Welsh economy and labour market, and helping businesses to expand and create jobs.
"The social business sector plays an important role in supporting local economies, particularly in disadvantaged areas. I'm delighted that this investment of EU and Welsh Government funds will help to support and grow the sector."