A NEWPORT company which aims to be the catalyst for the growth of small and medium business (SMEs) has been launched in the city.

Innovation Point, based at Devon Place, has been funded by the Welsh Government and is made up of businessmen from both the public and private sector – including chief executive of Wesley Clover, Simon Gibson.

The company estimates that 99 per cent of Wales’ businesses are SMEs but because they have a small workforce, these businesses do not have the capabilities to access funding opportunities.

Working alongside various partners, including the cyber security academy at University South Wales, Innovation Point aims to connect businesses to funding opportunities.

Since being set up in January, chief executive David Warrender said Innovation Point has already put in a bid with Sony for Wales to become a hardware accelerator for the UK.

He said: “The quality of ideas you’ll find in Wales is as good as you will find. The challenge we’ve got is how to help those businesses scale and grow.”

Simon Gibson, the chair of Innovation Point, referenced a meeting he held with Neelie Kroes, the former vice-president of the European Commission in 2010-14, to explain how far Wales was behind its European counterparts.

He said Mrs Kroes joked that the carpet near her office had been worn down by the French, Spanish, German and Italian visitors but never by a Welshman.

He said: “She said I was the first person to cross that threshold from Wales. It’s a rebuke but it’s an opportunity.”

Simon Powell, a board member from Newbridge, says Innovation Point aims to make it easier for SMEs to access grants available to them.

He said: “What Simon and David and Innovation Point are all about is how we can leverage the really hard bits of business to make it easier for people.

“London is awash with cash and everyone talks about all that cash. Getting hold of that cash is a lot harder – that’s where Innovation Point comes into its own.

“With Innovation Point, it’s all around getting that enabler to help Wales prosper by being that catalyst to bring it all together.”