The first ever drive-in Powys Business Awards on the Newtown campus of NPTC Group of Colleges was declared a big success as the event was blessed with fine weather last Friday night.
Organised by Mid Wales Manufacturing Group (MWMG), the awards were held outdoors as a health safety precaution because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The awards showcase business excellence across Powys and this attracted more entries than ever.
All the finalists were allocated a parking space in their vehicles in front of a stage and huge screen where their videos were played as the category nominations were read out either by compere Lisa Angharad or by sponsors.
Boxed meals were prepared by chefs and students from NPTC Group of Colleges and served to the guests attending event in their cars. Some brought chairs with them to sit outside their cars and mingle with other guests at an outside bar area.
Councillor Iain McIntosh, portfolio holder for housing, planning and economic regeneration at Powys County Council, said: “It has been a brilliant night and it’s fantastic to see so many great businesses here. I’d like to congratulate all the winners and indeed all finalists too.”
He presented the Powys Business of the Year award to Aled Woosnam, owner of AL Technical and 23 Social, Newtown.
Introducing the award ceremony, Councillor Rosemarie Harris, leader of Powys County Council, said it was a night of celebration for Powys businesses which had shown great resilience during the pandemic. She thanked and congratulated MWMG for organising the event in a different format this year.
“I am told that there has been more interest than ever in the awards this year which is really exciting after all the challenges you have faced,” she added. “We are very proud of you and thank you for all you have done for Powys.”
During the pandemic, she said, the council had issued more than £90 million of grants to support companies and has earmarked a further £2 million for a Covid Recovery Fund in Powys.
The council continued to support economic development in Powys in a variety of ways, and a portfolio of projects had been submitted to the Mid Wales Growth Deal. There was still time for businesses and others to come forward with projects on the themes of agriculture, food and drink, digital sites and premises, with particular emphasis on expanding broadband coverage in the county.
Aware that some businesses were looking to expand, she urged them to speak to the council about their growth projects. The council had also been allowed for the first time to submit bids to the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund for economic development and she was hopeful they would be successful.
A Global Centre for Rail Excellence is also being developed near Ystradgynlais, creating exciting possibilities for Powys.
Ceri Stephens, MWMG’s group manager, thanked everyone involved in organising and staging the awards for their support, especially the businesses. “Considering it was the first time we have ever organised drive-in awards, I was delighted with the event and we were so lucky with the weather. Feedback from people who attended has been very positive which is pleasing to hear.”