The Development Bank of Wales has enjoyed a tremendous period of growth and runaway success that has seen the five-year old entity soar into the top five rankings of the leading equity investors in the U.K. in terms of the number of transactions recorded. The group manages more than a dozen separate funds and business angel networks worth nearly £2 billion, including the 204-million-pound Wales Business Fund. As the main fuel for development in Wales, the bank’s various initiatives are integral to what Welsh industry will look like over the next decade and beyond. Securing the right investment at the right time can completely transform an enterprise’s prospects, meaning equity financing has never been so important. By raising precious capital from investors taking a stake in businesses for cash — rather than business owners utilizing loans that require monthly payments and interest — equity finance is a secure and increasingly popular pathway for entrepreneurs and companies, with the proceeds available across the business lifecycle. According to Giles Thorley, CEO, Development Bank of Wales equity investment can provide vital seed finance to tech start-ups, growth capital for established businesses, and support management teams when buying a business. “It’s a versatile type of finance that can be used alongside loans,” he says. “We are sector agnostic, so can invest in almost any sector, although we are very focused on the SME market. Our objective is to provide finance where others do not. “We are not a market lender; we provide finance where there are unmet needs for businesses in the financial markets, both debt and equity. “Equity finance carries a number of benefits, including investors bringing added value in the form of expertize, knowledge and contacts to help drive businesses forward. It is also an effective way of enabling faster growth and long-term value creation and carries no repayment obligation. In short, it allows firms to take advantage of opportunities they might otherwise miss out on.”