A Cardiff-based aerospace company is encouraging Welsh businesses to put themselves forward for a national awards programme as its application window reaches its final week.
Joseph Ward founded Smallspark Space Systems in 2018 during his studies at Cardiff University, with a mission of developing technologies that will enable the growth of the future space economy. Just a few years later, he was named Wales’ Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
Since then, the firm has closed a £1.6m seed funding round, been admitted into Europe’s largest space incubator network, the ESA Business Incubation Centre, and gone from four members of staff to 15, with a goal being 25-strong by the end of the year.
As an award winner, Joseph and Smallspark Space Systems are part of a thriving and ever-growing network of alumni which has collectively turned over £30 billion over the programme’s ten years and employed around 450,000 people.
Applicants for the November 2022 awards are also offered the added benefits of being a part of the alumni community, which has previously inducted the likes of Steven Bartlett, BBC Dragons’ Den investor and host of the popular The Diary of a CEO podcast, David Buttress, the founder of Just Eat UK, and many other household names. It’s hoped that finalists can reap value from the awards beyond the title and trophy by keeping close links with the network, which fosters the sharing of ideas, forging of collaborative relationships, and the uniting of various industries and sectors.
The programme runs every year in partnership with Starling Bank and recognises the very best success stories in UK business, from startup level to large organisations.
CEO Joseph said that, since applying, the team haven’t looked back:
“We decided to throw our hat into the ring as we’d achieved a lot in the time leading up to it and, especially after the pandemic, we wanted to show the world that we’re still here!
“Actually winning has been fantastic for us. The positive national attention it’s brought has been a game changer in an industry as competitive as ours, and it adds a badge of credibility to the work we’re doing. We’re trying to do a lot of huge things here, so to be recognised for our progress is invaluable.”
Applications are open now for the 2022 Great British Entrepreneur Awards, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, but hopefuls only have until Friday 10th June to enter. To mark the milestone year for the programme, entrants will also have the chance to win over £30,000 worth of marketing support and a tree will be planted for every application submitted with the support of Ecologi.
“I would encourage any business owner to give it a go. The awards are a great chance to put your confidence in your business to the test, and demonstrate that you can effectively sell the company’s vision. Startups thrive on competition, and to survive you need to be sure that you can pitch yourself effectively against other high-performing startups.”
Francesca James, founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, said that she hopes to see more Welsh businesses following in Smallspark’s footsteps and applying:
“Joseph’s story of growth and reward is hugely inspiring, and a true testament to what the awards are all about. There are so many other Welsh entrepreneurs out there doing exciting things too, and we’re really keen to hear from these ahead of this year’s ceremony.
“There’s nothing to lose by putting yourself forward and Smallspark Space Systems’ progress since November serves as a shining example of what can come from it. Wales offers exceptional applicants year on year and I’m sure this will be no different for our ten-year celebration.
“If there ever was a time to apply for these awards, this year is definitely it. We want our tenth year to be the biggest and best one yet, so we would love to have as many people as possible getting involved and getting their stories heard.”
Applications for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2022 close on Friday 10th June. To enter, visit greatbritishentrepreneur.awardsplatform.com