Specialist telecoms company Motion Rail is Blaenau Gwent Business of the Year for 2020, acknowledged for their innovative work in virtual reality technology to show youngsters how to stay safe on the railways.
Ebbw Vale-based Motion Rail won the overall top award alongside the Small Business of the Year prize in a virtual event recognising the achievements of the entrepreneurial individuals and SMEs based in Blaenau Gwent, an area that is part of Welsh Government’s £100 million, ten-year Tech Valleys programme.
Motion Rail is a great example of expertise flourishing in the area. They were recently recognised in Wales’ annual Fast Growth 50, and their use of virtual reality to spread a rail safety message and promote STEM to youngsters has won them a raft of national awards.
Founder and CEO Emma Dymond also won the 2020 Women in Rail Inspirational Women of the Year award, and said:
“We developed Motion Reality, the first virtual reality railway using gamification as part of our employee training strategy in collaboration with the University of South Wales. I quickly recognised the positive impact it had and worked with Network Rail to develop Motion Reality further to be able to take it into schools to educate children about the dangers of the railway – we were the only company to bring the railway to communities, providing a safe and real-life educational experience with a difference.
“It was because of this, Motion Rail was being recognised for the right reasons, which led to tendering and securing more rail telecoms work across the country with Network Rail and London Underground enabling growth, providing workforce security, investment in local trainees, premises, fleet, training and education.”
Welsh Government sponsored the Business of the Year award. Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, said:
“The Blaenau Gwent Business Awards are a great way to celebrate the success of individuals and companies in the region. This past year has been incredibly difficult, but during these tough days we’ve seen the resilience and diversity of firms shine through.
“These businesses are crucial to the region, and not only do they provide important jobs, they are part of the character and the community. I wish each and every business continued success now and in the future.”
Another winner was Manufacturing Business of the Year Swan EMS, one of the Tech Valleys companies to benefit from Welsh Government’s Business Productivity Enhancement Programme, launched just before the pandemic to work with manufacturing firms to increase efficiency, develop new products and explore new markets.
Cllr Dai Davies, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, said: “The past year was presented with a multitude of challenges particularly for businesses. Therefore, it is even more important that we recognise and celebrate the success and achievements of businesses within Blaenau Gwent. Congratulations to all our winners and finalists. The quality and number of applications received exceeded our expectations. This has been an opportunity for us to showcase the diverse range of successful, talented, creative and innovative businesses that we have. I would like to thank the sponsors, which include Welsh Government and all the businesses that have participated in the awards process throughout every stage.”