By Claire West

Businesses located in Welsh Enterprise Zones are being encouraged apply for the Business Rates Scheme before applications close on July 8th.

The Enterprise Zone Business Rates Scheme is a discretionary grant scheme for small to medium sized enterprises within the seven Welsh Enterprise Zones. The scheme will help to lower businesses’ operating costs by providing a grant to offset their Business Rates for up to three years.

Minister for Economy, Edwina Hart said:

“This scheme aims to support businesses and promote economic growth and job creation in Wales.

“I established the scheme following the Business Rates Review that examined whether the business rates regime can be used as a lever for economic growth in Wales.

“I’d encourage all small to medium sized businesses that are either located in an Enterprise Zone or looking to start a business in an Enterprise Zone to apply.

“In the first round of business rates funding for 2012/13, applications were approved from 39 firms, offering support of more than £750,000 to businesses currently employing over 1,200 people."

Applications for the current financial year can be made until July 8th 2013, with the maximum grant available to each successful applicant being £55,000 per annum or the business rates paid (whichever is the lowest).

The Enterprise Zone Business Rates Scheme is a £20million scheme, which was launched in 2013 and will run until 2015/16 for companies based in the Enterprise Zones. Priority will be given to new start ups and businesses increasing their workforce.

Businesses may qualify for up to 100% funding of business rates if they are:

based in a Welsh Enterprise Zone
looking to start up a small or medium sized enterprise (SME) within the zones
an SME already located within the zones, that is expanding and increasing the size of your permanent workforce
contributing to the overall objectives of the Enterprise Zone and the Welsh Government’s jobs and growth agenda.