A total of £50,000 has been given to small businesses in Torfaen to help them recover and grow following the pandemic.
Foundational Economy Covid Recovery Grants of up to £5,000 were awarded to 13 local companies who needed to invest in their digital and IT technology to improve future turnover.
Among them was Speckled Wood Wildlife, based in Pontnewynydd, which was set up by Nicky and Roo Perkins in January 2020.
The company, which offers a range of wildlife courses and trips, was given nearly £2,500 towards the cost of a new laptop, editing software and printer.
Nicky, pictured, said: "The grant has meant we have been able to purchase a laptop with the high speed processing power needed for editing videos and photos, plus top-of-the-range video and photo editing software.
"It is essential for us our courses are multi-media and engaging and the opportunity to be able to produce high quality, professionally edited videos and photos is a key to our business’ success.
"Our previous technology was struggling to run even older editing software so we were hugely limited before we had the opportunity to apply for the grant. We are very grateful to Torfaen Council for giving us this opportunity to improve our business and give us the best opportunity to grow in the future.”
Children's outdoor clothing company Wet Wednesdays, based in Blaenavon, received £5,000 to help increase online sales.
Owner Lizzie Enriquez said: "We've had a website for a long time but agricultural shows, such as the Royal Welsh, were our biggest market before the pandemic.
"Since Covid we have focused totally on online sales and invested heavily in advertising and marketing. The grant will help us to develop our online sales and continue our growth."
The Foundational Economy Covid Recovery Grants are part of Torfaen Council's £1.2m Covid Recovery Fund. Eligible businesses were able to apply for grants towards 80 per cent of the cost of improvements.
Kate Blewitt, Team Leader Foundational Economy Projects, said: "Whilst funding has been made available to support businesses through the Covid pandemic by the Welsh Government and UK Government the focus has been on stabilising businesses. There has been less support to help businesses to adapt to future.
"This project has offered small businesses financial support to increase future turnover. So far, 30 jobs have been safeguarded and eight new positions have been created which is great news."
For information about business support, including grants, training opportunities and events, visit www.southwalesbusiness.co.uk and subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter