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Cardiff Capital Region approves investments worth millions for the region

THE Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) Regional Cabinet on Monday (June 15) approved further investment for key City Deal projects. 

The investments approved are:

£250,000 Seed funding for Fintech Wales – a not-for-profit body representing Fintech and Financial Services businesses in Wales. 

The seed funding proposal is designed to support the growth of a key cluster within the CCR and establish a thriving leading edge ecosystem in the region. The seed funding allocation is intended to allow a nine-month programme of essential work to be undertaken to establish and evidence the building blocks required to grow the Fintech sector’s sustainability in the region and the rest of Wales.  This work which will output in a series of studies and reports will include feasibility assessments to build strategic hubs in Cardiff, Bridgend, and Cwmbran.

£40,000 to progress a potential £4m investment for a CCR healthcare data company.

This is an innovative development in the healthcare-related, data science field for an organisation that provides independent evidence for healthcare services and the pharmaceutical industry.

The proposal is for an investment to finalise the development, and subsequent commercialization, of a new analytical software product that has the potential to cut the time to analyse data from months to days. This is particularly pertinent when considered in the current Covid-19 environment.

A £40,000 spend from the City Deal Programme Development Fund has been agreed in order to move this proposal forward through due diligence / and creation of a full business case.

This investment exemplifies the objectives and outcomes of the City Deal. Specifically, the company aims to employ a large number of local graduates and postgraduates in highly skilled, highly paid jobs that are future proofed.

£125,000 to progress to the next stages of an “Evergreen fund” for Strategic Premises

This is a £50m plus investment intended to support otherwise viable industrial development projects where there is evidence of market failure affecting financial viability. There will be particular emphasis on projects that support innovation and job creation and make use of brownfield sites to create Grade A or equivalent space.

The hope is that this will help bring forward schemes that otherwise might struggle to progress without this type of strategic support because they cannot get all the funding they need in the current environment.

This initiative sees the CCR City Deal move away from “business as usual” investments,  and enables it to support initiatives that bring about differentiated approaches, approaches that will support home and local working and in turn help create positive new futures.

The next stage is the appointment of a fund manager and production of a full business case over the summer months.

£120,000 to progress a proposal to develop a Life Sciences Innovation Park at Coryton, Cardiff.

This is a co-investment proposal with a Cardiff-based developer to establish the site as a strategic hub for fuelling regional med-tech growth.

The project proposal seeks to provide up to 225,000 sq. ft. of Grade An office/ R&D and space and services for circa 2000 high value jobs.

This project is of strategic significance to the region and will help facilitate the development of the characteristics associated with more mature sectors such as Compound Semi-Conductors.

In principle agreement to a £10 million Challenge fund

Re-building local wealth at a foundational level is one of the 10 CCR post-Covid 19 priorities published in May.

The focus of the proposed new £10m programme is to re-build local economies through solving societal challenges that have economic impact and potential commercial-scale opportunities.

In practice, this will work through selecting two to three challenges to form the focus of individual challenge funds with the idea being to contribute to new ideas, solutions and projects that contribute to the new momentum and ‘new reality’ of the post-Covid 19 world.

All the projects, which have been submitted through the CCR Investment and Intervention framework launched last summer, were approved following CCR Investment Panel recommendation.

Cllr. Anthony Hunt, Chair of the Cardiff Capital Region Regional Cabinet, which comprises the leaders of the 10 local authorities in South-East Wales who comprise the Cabinet, said:

“This package of approved investments adds up to an ambitious programme of support for innovation, resilience and connectivity in the Capital Region; and comes amid a recognition that, in a time of crisis, the region must do whatever it can to help its people, businesses and communities to not just survive the crisis but to emerge stronger and better equipped to prosper in the new world.

“I am confident that the projects we are progressing represent the right investments. Our Challenge fund, in particular, through identifying new ways of solving intractable problems, will help ensure we focus our collective efforts on the things that will have the greatest impact.”

Kellie Beirne, Director CCR City Deal said:

“The aim of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal has always been to make the region more connected, competitive, and resilient, and to address the social and geographical inequalities within it. As the region emerges from lockdown into recovery, this aim has become more important than ever.

“The 10 priorities we restated in May represented where we think we can most usefully support our businesses and communities and reconfirmed that the priority sectors we had identified for support are the ones that will best help our region prosper in the new economic landscape. The decisions made by the Regional Cabinet to progress this latest series of investments represent a big step forward in realising the ambitions set out in our priorities and I look forward to collaborating with colleagues across the sectors, WG and the 10 local authorities to progress towards implementation.”