A new festival to bring together the Welsh start-up community is being launched today as part of the annual Wales Start-Up Awards which will again celebrate the contribution that new entrepreneurial firms make to job creation, creativity and innovation across the Welsh economy.
The brainchild of Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE, assistant pro-vice chancellor at the University of South Wales and founder of the Fast Growth 50, the Wales Start-Up Awards are unique in being the only business awards in the UK that focus specifically on recognising the achievements of those new businesses launched within the last three years.
The 2020 awards will be held at the site of the new Depot in Cardiff on the evening of June 19th with the overall sponsor again being Capital Law, a leading provider of commercial legal services to private and public sector clients throughout the UK, Europe and beyond.
Other supporters from the Welsh entrepreneurial ecosystem include NatWest Bank, Abel + Imray, Bluegg, Business in Focus, Business News Wales, the Celtic Manor Resort, Development Bank of Wales, CEMET, Fintech Wales, Innovate UK, Town Square, Mazuma, University of South Wales, Universities Wales, WCVA and the Welsh Government as well as leading entrepreneurial high growth firms such as ALS Managed Services, CP Hire, Freight Logistics Solutions and the Indigo Group.
Chris Nott, Senior Partner at Capital Law said
“Since our involvement with these awards, we’ve witnessed the drive, optimism and creativity of Welsh entrepreneurs. It’s inspiring to see start-ups from previous award years not only flourish, but also surpass the aspirations they originally set for themselves. As a home-grown business ourselves, we’re passionate about encouraging growth in the Welsh economy through the development of a supportive entrepreneurship ecosystem. These awards are at the heart of it: they act as a valuable springboard for Welsh start-ups, by giving them an opportunity to be recognised and connected. For all these reasons, we’re proud to be the Wales Start-up Awards headline sponsor again this year, and cannot wait to meet and see the talent of this year’s entrants.
To make this year’s event bigger and better than ever, the number of awards is being expanded and the Wales Start-Up Festival will be held on the same day so as to bring Welsh startups together to help celebrate the best of new businesses in Wales. As Professor Jones-Evans explains
“Since they were established back in 2016, some incredible new businesses have been recognised at the annual Wales Start-Up awards. With the tech sector growing rapidly across the nation, we have created a number of new awards that reflect some of the sectors that could make a real difference to the economy over the next few years such as cyber, fintech, medtech and mobile technologies”.
He also believes that the event should be about more than being just another awards ceremony and that the reboot of the awards offers an opportunity to add real value to the those applying.
“The creation of the Wales Start-Up festival as a free event to complement the awards will be an opportunity for attendees to hear inspirational talks by successful entrepreneurs, attend advice clinics and workshops and to showcase the best of Welsh entrepreneurship. For the first time, we are also encouraging our sponsors to directly support those entering the awards. For example, NatWest Bank will offer a fast-track route to their digital accelerator to all finalists whilst the Celtic Manor Resort, sponsor of the food and drink start-up of the year award, will be giving all shortlisted firms in their category the opportunity to showcase their products at their four hotels in Newport”
Last year’s overall winner was Aber Falls Distillery from North Wales and its managing director James Wright, said
“Starting a new business certainly doesn’t come without its challenges, but awards like Wales Start-Up really make it all worthwhile. Creating a sustainable future for Wales is one of our mains goals at Aber Falls, so it was a great honour to be part of a ceremony that inspires likeminded businesses to work together with a common goal of improving the Welsh economy. Our award was testament to the incredible passion and tenacity that the team at Aber Falls has; it’s been so rewarding for everyone who plays a part in the success of the distillery to take home the Wales Start-Up of the Year Award.”
The full list of awards is as follows:
- Business to Business Services Start-Up of the Year
- Cardiff Start-Up of the Year
- Construction Start-Up of the Year
- Consumer Services Start-Up of the Year
- Creative Start-Up of the Year
- Cyber Start-Up of the year
- Digital Start-Up of the Year
- Education and Training Start-Up of the Year
- Equity-funded Start-Up of the Year
- Financial and Professional Services Start-Up of the Year
- Fintech Start-Up of the Year
- Food and Drink Start-Up of the Year
- Global Start-Up of the Year
- Graduate Start-Up of the Year
- Green Start-Up of the Year
- Innovative Start-Up of the Year
- Manufacturing Start-Up of the Year
- Medtech Start-Up of the Year
- Mobile and Emerging Technologies Start-up of the Year
- North Wales Start-Up of the Year
- Retail Start-Up of the Year
- Rising Stars award
- Rural Start-Up of the Year
- Social Enterprise Start-Up of the Year
- Tourism and Leisure Start-Up of the Year
- Valleys Start-Up of the Year
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Entries close on March 27th and will then be assessed by a panel of judges that include some of Wales’ leading entrepreneurs such as Professor Simon Gibson, Racheal Flanagan of Mrs Bucket, Kate Methuen Ley of Tiger Cardiff stores, James Taylor of Superstars and Richard Theo of Wealthify.
Further information about the 2020 Wales Start-Up award can be found online at www.walesstartupawards.com