New funding to help South East Wales businesses build a cleaner future

Businesses and third-sector organisations based in the Cardiff Capital Region (Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Torfaen, and Vale of Glamorgan) can access fully-funded support designed to help them drive innovation and boost sustainability from January 2024, thanks to new funding secured by Circular Economy Innovation Communities (CEIC).

The Clean Growth Programme is fully funded for eligible organisations and gives participants the tools they need to develop their circular economy understanding, helping them work towards Net Zero goals, enhance service levels, reduce operational costs and meet their responsibilities under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. It is delivered in conjunction with Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of Swansea.

The programme also supports organisations to boost innovation, developing clean growth plans that could be eligible for Welsh Government innovation funding.

In response to growing demand from businesses, eligibility for the 2024 intake has been expanded to include private-sector companies for the first time.


The new, six-month programmes will see up to 30 organisations come together to form new innovation communities. Participants will take part in monthly workshops and a two-day residential, collaboratively developing their circular economy understanding, clean growth and innovation plans. Participants will be signposted to additional support available and university staff, as well as 1-to-1 mentoring support.


CEIC programme director Gary Walpole, said: “We’re delighted to be able to extend the CEIC programmes to private companies from 2024 via the Clean Growth Programme. Diversifying this cohort will create valuable opportunities for organisations from all sectors to learn from one another, share best practice and identify mutual areas of interest.


“In our experience, this collaborative approach speeds up the development of new innovations that not only benefit the organisations concerned but also the wider economy.”


The Clean Growth Programme teaches organisations about the principles underlying the Circular Economy, supporting them to rethink resource management and contribute to the Welsh Government’s ‘Net Zero Wales’ ambitions. Participants share tools, techniques and best practice with fellow community members to identify and devise practical solutions to their clean growth challenges.


“With official NetZero targets formalising environmental links between organisations at all stages of the value chain, the CEIC programmes offer a real opportunity for businesses and third-sector organisations across the Cardiff Capital Region to work together to develop plans that will reduce their carbon footprints and future proof their operations,” Gary continued. “The importance of sustainable practices and the co-dependency of organisations is increasingly reflected in both recruitment and procurement practices, meaning there has never been a better time for organisations to review their approach and future proof their performance.”


The Clean Growth programme is funded by UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Organisations can apply via or register for one of CEIC’s free online Insight sessions to find out more.