Tech usability organisation championing £11m social enterprise funding project

Technology usability organisation the Digital Accessibility Centre is championing a new £11m project aimed at increasing the number of social enterprises in Wales.

Jane Hutt, the Welsh minister for finance, visited the DAC in Neath yesterday to launch the Social Business Wales project. It’ll be operated through the Wales Co-Operative Centre and consists of £6m from the EU and £5m from the Welsh Government.

The DAC works with a wide variety of firms and organisations to ensure their websites, apps and other digital services are suitable for the needs of those with visual and mobility impairments, dyslexia and learning disabilities.

It’s been operating for four and a half years and now has 21 employed staff and four volunteers, serving as an inspirational example to up-and-coming social enterprises.

Welsh Finance Minister Jane Hutt said: “Nearly £2 billion of EU funds are being invested in Wales over the next seven years, adding value to the Welsh Government’s goals for strengthening the Welsh economy and labour market, and helping businesses to expand and create jobs.

“As a pro-business government, we are working closely with businesses to create growth and jobs in all parts of Wales. The social business sector plays an important role in supporting local economies, particularly in disadvantaged areas.”

Gavin Evans, director of operations at the DAC, said: “I’m delighted that this investment of EU and Welsh Government funds will help to support and grow the sector so that it can continue to make a valuable contribution to the provision of important services within communities and create more jobs and opportunities across Wales.

“The Social Business fund is a fantastic new opportunity for small businesses within Wales to get investment into their organisation in order to deliver some form of social gain. This doesn’t matter if you are starting an enterprise or currently run an existing one.

“Digital Accessibility Centre has been trading for nearly 4 and a half years, and it is going from strength to strength. We as an organisation have learnt to be very reactive to change and the need to diverse our services.”

Image credit: Roger Donovan/Media Photos