The latest Labour Market Statistics show another steady performance for Wales, with unemployment down to 4.3%.
In the Assembly, the Labour Welsh Government is committed to creating the infrastructure for business to prosper and grow, and the economic conditions that will result in the high quality jobs that people want and need.
One way we are doing this is through support for small business.
It is no exaggeration to say that small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, and can be the hubs of our local communities. Across Gower there is a very strong presence of small, independent businesses, and I want to see this develop and grow.
We can do this by backing start-ups. Nearly 2,000 Welsh start-ups have now benefited from over £15.5m of Welsh Government-backed loans aimed at getting new businesses off the ground.
Small business often struggle to access affordable finance and the right mentoring support. Since the fund was established in Wales in October 2013, it has provided support and loans to 1,943 new and early stage Welsh businesses spanning a wide range of sectors, with an average lending amount of around £8,000 per company.
This means that over the last 4 years an average of 2 new Welsh businesses a day have benefitted from funding from the Start Up Loan Company.
Backing apprenticeships is another way in which we can help businesses thrive, whilst giving people the chance of a rewarding and skilled career. This summer, the Welsh Government has helped to support 1,000 new apprenticeship vacancies for people of all ages across Wales.
The vacancies, posted on the Apprenticeship Matching Service on the Careers Wales website, offer young people and adults the chance to secure an exciting career in a wide range of disciplines including ICT, creative industries, construction and STEM, where skill shortages are particularly prevalent.
Apprenticeships are a key investment for employers who can train their workforce in the specialist skills they need within their organisation.
If you would like to know more about support for small business and start-ups, get in touch.