A START-UP grant to support new businesses dealing with the severe impact of the coronavirus has been announced by First Minister Mark Drakeford.

The fund will be worth £5m initially, with flexibility for the future. It will support start-up firms, which fall outside the UK Government’s Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) as they only began trading in 2019.

Applications for this grant will open on Monday (June 29), at the same time as phase two of the Economic Resilience Fund opens to applications.

Mr Drakeford said that the announcement "will help to support new businesses in Wales which are currently falling through the gaps of existing financial assistance schemes."

He added: “A number of people who have started a business in the last year don’t qualify for support from the UK Government’s Self Employment Income Support Scheme and it remains unclear if it will take steps to ensure they will change the criteria to help this group of people.

“This is why we have acted and set up a start-up grant. This has come from our work with Welsh Local Government Association and local authorities to look at what more support the business community needs at this time.”

The new start-up grant will support up to 2,000 businesses in Wales, with £2,500 each. This will provide crucial funding to people who established their businesses between 1 April 2019 and 1 March 2020, helping them to continue trading through the pandemic.

The Welsh Government is providing £1.7bn to support businesses in Wales, making it the most generous and comprehensive package of assistance in the UK.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show this comprehensive package of support is reaching those who need it most – 34% of business in Wales have benefitted from Welsh Government or UK Government Coronavirus support, compared to 14% in England and 21% in Scotland.

The support available in Wales includes more than 59,000 business rates grants worth more than £715m and the Development Bank of Wales Covid loan support, which has helped 1,000 small and medium enterprises.

The grant will be administered by local authorities and businesses can check their eligibility by visiting the Business Wales website - fundchecker.businesswales.gov.wales/

Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “Today’s announcement will be crucial in supporting new businesses, reducing the risk of firms having to close and people becoming unemployed.