Kickstart Celebrates 15 Years in Blaenau Gwent

ENGLISH

An innovative programme to create small businesses took root in Blaenau Gwent 15 years ago - and now the long term benefits are being harvested.
Kickstart was launched in 2001 by Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. The aim was to encourage people with business ideas to turn them into reality by offering grants and loans at grass roots level.
A huge range of businesses have been created across the county borough, from the everyday, to the highly sophisticated and technical.
Cllr Jim McIlwee, Deputy Leader of Blaenau Gwent Council said: “The Kick Start initiative has been a long standing scheme set up to support new and existing businesses within the area. The initiative supported by Blaenau Gwent Council has seen a number of businesses successfully awarded the grant and therefore grow over the years.
“As well as this scheme, the Council offers a wide range of services to support new and existing businesses via the Council’s Economic development unit such as business advice and property unit management. For further information visit, www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk”
In recent years Kickstart Plus has been launched too, providing ongoing help for the ventures started by the initial scheme.
One excellent success story from the Kickstart programme is SteriTouch, based at Abertillery, which has developed a highly technical sanitising product based on silver, used as an additive in production. The firm have an R&D and production facility on Roseheyworth Business Park and exports its product globally.
The business launched in 2003, when engineer Huw Durban watched a documentary on poor hygiene and cleaning practises in hospitals. He developed an additive for rubber gloves which killed bacteria.
“Adding the agent to the product rather than putting a protective coating on it proved to be a great idea,” said Huw. He and Nick Corlett launched the business at UK Steel Enterprise’s Innovation Centre in Ebbw Vale, and now SteriTouch products can be found in paints, baby cups and a host of other applications.
The firm received a Kickstart grant of £2000 which Huw says was instrumental in getting the business off the ground.
SRS Valeting is based in Tredegar, and has created 19 jobs. The firm collaborates with motor dealerships working on their sites as well as their home base, and is looking to expand its operations.
In 2011 SRS received a grant of £2134, which owner Sean Seaward says was vital to allow the business to start. “We used it to buy the essentials of the business - vacuum cleaners, jet washers and polishes. The grant was very useful and really helped us.
“We started small and now we are growing and want to grow further.”
Glyn Thomas, Manager in Wales of UK Steel Enterprise, said: “Seed-corn funding of this type is absolutely vital to the economy. Without it, the businesses with the ability to grow and create jobs might never have been discovered and their potential lost.”
And it was not simply the financial assistance itself the was the key to the scheme’s success. “Often as important as the money they receive, is the vote of confidence in the business idea and the feeling that they have backing,” he added.
The list of businesses given help through the Kickstart schemeto get off the ground is long and diverse and most types of business are considered, provided they fulfil the scheme criteria. here isn’t a lot of form-filling or formalities involved and the process is as straight-forward as we have been able to make it.
One of the very first businesses launched was tennis coach Chris Hill, one of Wales’ top veteran players and a renowned figure in the game. More recently The Warehouse in Brynmawr has opened its doors, LMC Tiles in Tredegar and The Olde Sweet Shoppe in Abertillery. Since the Kick Start scheme started in 2001, it has supported 185 business start-ups and created 262 jobs in Blaenau Gwent.
Blaenau Gwent’s Business Economic Development Unit provides support and assistance in a number of areas and in one location, to both new and existing businesses.
These services include: enterprise support through the BG EFFECT Initiative, business grant support through Kickstart , employment skills support for employers and employeesand property / unit management.
For further information about the support available or to enquire about the business support services available visit www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk or telephone 01495 355700 or email business.services@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

CYMRAEG

Sefydlwyd rhaglen arloesol i greu busnesau bach ym Mlaenau Gwent 15 mlynedd yn ôl - ac mae'r manteision hirdymor yn awr yn dod i ffrwyth.
Lansiwyd Kickstart yn 2001 gan UK Steel Enterprise, sy'n is-gwmni i Tata Steel, a Chyngor Bwrdeisdref Sirol Blaenau Gwent. Y nod oedd annog pobl gyda syniadau busnes i'w rhoi ar waith drwy gynnig grantiau a benthyciadau ar lefel leol.
Cafodd ystod enfawr o fusnesau eu creu ar draws y fwrdeisdref sirol o rai bob dydd i rai soffistigedig a thechnegol iawn.
Dywedodd y Cyng Jim McIlwee, Dirprwy Arweinydd Cyngor Blaenau Gwent: "Bu cynllun Kicki Start yn gynllun hirsefydlog i gefnogi busnesau newydd a phresennol o fewn yr ardal. Mae'r cynllun a gefnogwyd gan Gyngor Blaenau Gwent wedi gweld nifer o fusnesau'n cael y grant ac felly wedi tyfu dros y blynyddoedd.
"Yn ogystal â'r cynllun hwn, mae'r Cyngor yn cynnig ystod eang o wasanaethau i gefnogi busnesau newydd a phresennol drwy Uned Datblygu Economaidd y Cyngor megis cyngor ar fusnesau a rheoli unedau eiddo. Mae mwy o wybodaeth ar gael yn www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk”
Cafodd Kickstart Plus ei lansio mewn blynyddoedd diweddar hefyd, sy'n rhoi help parhaus i'r mentrau a sefydlwyd dan y cynllun gwreiddiol.
Mae SteriTouch o Abertyleri yn un stori o lwyddiant rhagorol o raglen Kickstart. Mae'r cwmni wedi datblygu cynnyrch glanweithdra uwch-dechnegol yn seiliedig ar arian a ddefnyddir fel ychwanegyn wrth ei gynhyrchu ac mae ganddynt safle ymchwil a datblygu a chynhyrchu ym Mharc Busnes Roseheyworth ac mae'n allforio ei gynnyrch yn fyd-eang.
Lansiodd y busnes yn 2003 pan welodd y peiriannydd Huw Durban raglen ddogfen ar ddiffyg glanweithdra ac arferion glanhau gwael mewn ysbytai. Datblygodd ychwanegyn ar gyfer menig rwber oedd yn lladd bacteria.
"Profodd ychwanegu'r deunydd at y cynnyrch yn hytrach na rhoi haen ddiogelu arno yn syniad gwych," meddai Huw. Lansiodd ef a Nick Corlett y busnes yng Nghanolfan Arloesedd UK Steel Enterprise yng Nglynebwy ac mae cynnyrch SteriTouch bellach i'w cael mewn paent, cwpanau babanod a llu o ddefnyddiau eraill.
Derbyniodd y cwmni grant Kickstart o £2000 a dywed Huw fod hynny'n hollbwysig wrth sefydlu'r busnes.
Mae SRS Valeting yn seiliedig yn Nhredegar ac mae wedi creu 19 o swyddi. Mae'r cwmni'n cydweithio gyda gwerthwyr ceir eraill yn gweithio ar eu safleoedd yn ogystal ag yn eu safle eu hunain, ac mae'n dymuno ehangu ei weithgareddau.
Derbyniodd SRS grant o £2134 yn 2011 a dywed y perchennog Sean Seaward y bu hynny'n hollbwysig i alluogi'r sefydliad i gychwyn arni. "Fe wnaethom ei ddefnyddio i brynu hanfodion y busnes - glanhawyr sugno, golchwyr jet a pholisïau. Roedd y grant yn ddefnyddiol iawn a bu o help mawr i ni.
"Fe wnaethom ddechrau'n fach ac rydym yn tyfu'n awr ac eisiau tyfu mwy."
Dywedodd Glyn Thomas, Rheolwr Cymru UK Steel Enterprise: "Mae cyllid sbarduno o'r math hwn yn hollol hanfodol i'r economi. Hebddo, efallai na fyddai busnesau gyda'r gallu i dyfu a chreu swyddi byth wedi cael eu darganfod a byddid wedi colli eu potensial."
Ac nid dim ond y cymorth ariannol ei hunan oedd yn allweddol i lwyddiant y cynllun. "Yn aml mor bwysig â'r arian y gwnaethant ei dderbyn yw'r bleidlais o hyder yn y syniad busnes a'r teimlad fod y gefnogaeth ganddyn nhw," ychwanegodd.
Mae'r rhestr o fusnesau a gafodd help drwy gynllun Kickstart i ddechrau arni yn hir ac amrywiol a chaiff y rhan fwyaf o fathau o fusnesau eu hystyried cyn belled â'u bod yn cyflawni meini prawf y cynllun. Nid oes fawr iawn o ffurflenni a gwiath papur ffurfiol ac mae'r broses mor syml ag y bu modd i ni ei gwneud."
Un o'r busnesau cyntaf a lansiwyd oedd yr hyfforddwr tenis Chris Hill, un o brif gyn-chwaraewyr Cymru a ffigur amlwg yn y gêm. Agorodd The Warehouse ym Mrynmawr, LMC Tiles yn Nhredegar a The Olde Sweet Shoppe yn Abertyleri eu drysau. Ers dechrau cynllun Kick Start yn 2001, mae wedi cefnogi 185 o fusnesau newydd a chreu 262 o swyddi ym Mlaenau Gwent.
Mae Uned Datblygu Economaidd Busnes Blaenau Gwent yn rhoi cymorth a chefnogaeth mewn nifer o feysydd ac mewn un lleoliad i fusnesau newydd a hefyd fusnesau presennol.
Mae'r gwasanaethau hyn yn cynnwys cefnogaeth menter drwy gynllun BG EFFECT, cymorth grant busnes drwy Kickstart, cefnogaeth sgiliau cyflogaeth ar gyfer cyflogwyr a chyflogeion a rheolaeth eiddo/uned.
I gael mwy o wybodaeth am y gefnogaeth neu i holi am y gwasanaethau cymorth busnes sydd ar gael ewch i www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk neu ffonio01495 355700 neu e-bost business.services@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk