Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

Swansea Bay City Deal Backs the Wales Start Up Awards


New businesses across the counties of Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea are being encouraged to enter the 2021 Wales Startup Awards which are exclusive to Welsh companies that have launched within the last three years.

Now in their sixth year,  the Wales Startup awards present a unique opportunity to recognise the achievements of those new businesses that are making the greatest impact on the Welsh economy. This year, the Swansea Bay City Region Startup of the Year award will recognise the contribution that new entrepreneurial firms make to job creation, creativity and innovation across the local economy.

Sponsored by Swansea Bay City Deal, Chris Foxall, Chair of the Swansea Bay City Deal Economic Strategy Board, said that they were proud to be backing the celebration of the best new businesses in the region:

“We are very pleased to be supporting the Wales Start-Up Awards this year and we recognise the important role that new businesses play in our regional economy. Encouraging new talent, creating new businesses, and anchoring them in the region is a vital component to our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and for regional economic growth going forward.

As they move into delivery, the programmes and projects within the circa £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal portfolio will present many opportunities for new businesses and for business growth in the coming years.”

The brainchild of Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE, the Wales Start-Up Awards are the only business awards in the UK that focus specifically on recognising the achievements of those new businesses launched within the last three years.

Professor Jones-Evans said:

“Despite the pandemic, Wales saw a record number of new businesses established in 2020. We know that entrepreneurs create employment in the economy, particularly during a recession when large firms are shedding jobs and there are so many brilliant businesses that have not only set up in the last three years but have managed to survive and grow despite enormous economic and financial pressures.

“I am particularly delighted that an award that celebrates entrepreneurship is being supported this year by the city region. Last year, four incredible businesses from Swansea Bay City Region were winners of awards and I am sure that many others from the four counties will be competitive across all 27 categories in 2021”

The winning companies were the Drop Bear Beer Company (Food and Drink Startup of the year), Gorilla ERP (B2B services startup of the year), Skybound Therapies (consumer service start up of the year) and Vala Energy (Rising Stars award)

Dean Harrison, the founder of Pembrokeshire-based Gorilla ERP was enthusiastic about how winning the award has had a positive effect on the business during a challenging time,

“Having your hard work recognised is fantastic and it’s been a great morale boost for the team – especially during the pandemic. It’s also given us an edge over our competitors and increased awareness of our company not just in Wales either. Growing a business in a pandemic isn’t easy and we became more agile to enable us to overcome pressures such as reacting to lockdowns. I'm happy to say that we have ended the year on high by securing a high-profile contract to supply associates for projects across Europe. I’ve also increased my peer group focus which has also been really vital in helping navigate the challenges faced”.

Entries for the 2021 Wales Startup Awards close on May 31st and further information about how to enter can be found online at