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Expanding Welshpool business Wipak is Powys Businesses of the Year

Wipak UK's managing director Andrew Newbold (right) and human resources manager Clare Hanson with Councillor David Selby, cabinet member for Powys County Council. Credit: Phil Blagg Photography

A Welshpool company which has invested £5 million in state-of-the-art machinery to create 50 new jobs in the coming years has been named Powys Business of the Year.

Wipak UK Ltd, based at the town’s Buttington Cross Enterprise Park, collected the coveted overall award, sponsored by Powys County Council, at the Powys Business Awards 2022 held at Dering Lines, Brecon on Friday night.

The company, which makes sophisticated, high barrier packaging films for preserving and protecting food products, also won the People Development Award, sponsored by NPTC Group of Colleges.

Wipak UK Ltd, which has a turnover approaching £30 million and 107 employees, says its workforce is playing a key role in its mission to become the most sustainable flexible packaging supplier in the world and achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.

Following a comprehensive training programme for operators on the new machinery, several exciting new products have been developed, including an advanced, low carbon footprint, aluminium butter wrap for a new market.

Pledging to support employees to unlock their full potential, whilst also prioritising their safety and wellbeing, the company achieved Investors in People Silver Accreditation in 2019 and is going for Gold Accreditation later this year.

Responding to the award announcement, Wipak UK Ltd’s  managing director Andrew Newbold said: “Wow, what an amazing honour. What I like about this award is that it’s about all our employees, not just one person or one product.

“We have won it because of what they have achieved collectively. They have embraced the development plan and are an amazing group of people.”

The judges said: “Wipak has a strong leader, has invested in local people and put them at the heart of the company. They have established themselves as market leaders by continuing to invest in their manufacturing capability and in the development of new products.

“They are making a positive environmental contribution by taking decisive action and challenging traditional methods. We believe they will be an inspirational and worthy ambassador as a standard bearer for Powys.”

Showcasing the diverse range of successful enterprises in the county, Powys Business Awards are organised by Mid Wales Manufacturing Group (MWMG) with support from sponsors.

Richard Glover-Davies, a serial winner at the awards, added another brace to his collection. He won the Entrepreneurship Award, sponsored by Welsh Government, with his companies gloversure and Montgomeryshire Homes Ltd, Welshpool.

Montgomeryshire Homes then added the Small Business Award, sponsored by WR Partners.

There was more success for Welshpool as Morland UK won The Growth Award, sponsored by The County Times and Nomadic Washrooms, based in Forden, was announced as winners of the Start-up Business Award, sponsored by EvaBuild.

Businesses in Crickhowell also collected two awards. PM Training and Assessing Ltd won the Micro Business Award, sponsored by WPG and The Cellar Drinks Company won the Small Business Growth Award, sponsored by EDF Renewables.

One of the biggest cheers of the night was reserved for The Game Change Project CIC,  who work with disengaged young people from a farm base in Aberhafesp, near Newtown. The company won the Social Enterprise/ Charity Award, sponsored by Myrick Training Services.

Newtown’s biggest employer, Nidec – Control Techniques, received the Technology & Innovation Award, sponsored by ForrestBrown, for the invention of a AC micro drive complete with a revolutionary app that is operated from a smart phone.

The Judges’ Special Award, sponsored this year by CellPath, to recognise an outstanding achievement by a business or person who were not category winners, went to Radnor Hills, Knighton.

The other finalists were: Start-up Business Award: Bryndu Caravan and Camping, Brecon and Mesh Telematics Limited, Machynlleth. Entrepreneurship Award: Trudy Davies, Woosnam and Davies News, Llani Barbers and Talerddig Bakery Store, Llanidloes and Adam Watkin, Trax JH, Tyre Protector and Gresolvent, Newtown. Micro Business Award (fewer than 10 employees): Celtic Company, Welshpool and SP Filling Systems Ltd, Llandrindod Wells. Growth Award: Dawson Shanahan, Welshpool; Makefast Ltd, Newtown and Radnor Hills, Knighton. Small Business Award (under 30 employees): CMD Ltd, Newtown and Severn Transport Services Ltd, Welshpool. Social Enterprise/ Charity Award: Calan DVS, Brecon and Open Newtown, Newtown. Small Business Growth Award: Severn Transport Services Ltd, Welshpool and Montgomeryshire Homes, Welshpool. Technology & Innovation Award: CMD Ltd, Newtown and Dawson Shanahan, Welshpool. People Development Award: EOM Electrical Contractors Ltd, Newtown and SWG Group, Welshpool.