A new business that is aiming to become the number one sustainable pet brand in the World has won the Wales Start-Up of the Year award in 2020.
Founded by Geryn Evans in 2019, Project Blu is revolutionising the pet accessories market by creating a future which embraces sustainability and circularity by transforming polluting materials – including fishing nets, ocean bound plastic, leather waste and recycled clothes – into top quality pet products including dog beds, collars, leashes and toys.
The new business – which has already received support from Mars Petcare and was chosen to attend its exclusive Leap Venture Studio in the USA earlier this year – also won the Green Startup of the Year and the Global Startup of the Year at the awards.
Cardiff-based Yoello also picked up two awards namely fintech startup of the year and mobile and emerging technologies startup of the year. It has recently created an app-less mobile ordering solution for the hospitality industry which has become a vital tool during the recent pandemic to enable businesses to reopen and trade safely with social distancing in place.
Whilst the Enbarr Foundation received the North Wales Startup of the Year, other businesses from the region were also winners in several high profile categories including Cedar Tree Pods (manufacturing startup of the year), Cufflink (cyber startup of the year), innDex (construction startup of the year) inspire Alpine (Social enterprise startup of the year) iVapps (innovative startup of the year) and Yimba (equity-backed startup of the year)
The Wales Startup awards, held online for the first time, showcases the best new businesses in Wales every year and is only open to Welsh firms less than three years old. Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, who created the awards in 2015, said that despite the challenges faced by businesses across Wales, new firms had continued to make a significant impact over the last six months:
“Notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic, the awards received a record number of entries with 40 per cent of applications from female-owned firms. With a total of 107 finalists selected across 26 categories, the high quality of all these businesses made the judges’ task more difficult than ever and I am certain that many of this year’s shortlist are destined to make a real impact in their sectors over the next few years.”
“New firms will be creating the majority of jobs as we emerge out of recession and the 2020 finalists, along with thousands of other start-up businesses across Wales, will be critical in ensuring that the Welsh economy recovers quickly over the next twelve months. Their innovation, enterprise and sheer hard work during these turbulent times have been an inspiration to us all”.
The 2020 Wales Startup Awards were sponsored by Capital Law, NatWest Bank, Abel + Imray, Bluegg, Business in Focus, Business News Wales, the Celtic Manor Resort, CEMET, CP Hire, the Development Bank of Wales, Fintech Wales, Freight Logistics Systems, Mazuma, the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, South Wales Chamber of Commerce, Town Square Spaces, the University of South Wales, Welsh Council for Voluntary Action, the Welsh Government, and Wolfberry.
Commenting on the awards, Chris Coughlan of main sponsor Capital Law said:
“As a home-grown business ourselves, Capital Law is passionate about developing and maintaining a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in Wales. The Wales Start Up Awards are at the heart of this as they give Welsh start-ups the opportunity to be recognised and connected.
“This year has been difficult for all and start-ups are no exception as the pandemic challenged their creation, survival, and growth. Fostering their ability to grasp new business opportunities is therefore essential to help speed up the recovery, making these awards as relevant as ever. It was inspiring to read about the progress achieved by so many start-ups during the judging process and a pleasure to see the passion and drive that each finalist has, not only for their business, but also the wider start-up community in Wales.”
The full list of the winners at the 2020 Wales Startup Awards are:
- Wales Start-up of the Year – Project Blu
- Business to business services start-up of the year – Gorilla ERP
- Cardiff start-up of the year – Sero Group
- Construction start-up of the year – innDex
- Consumer services start-up of the year – Skybound Therapies
- Creative start-up of the year – Ollywood
- Cyber start-up of the year – Cufflink
- Digital start-up of the year – Bright Branch Media
- Equity-backed start-up of the year – Yimba
- Financial and professional services start-up of the year -ANNA Money
- Fintech start-up of the year – Yoello
- Food/ drink start-up of the year – Drop Bear Company
- Global start-up of the year – Project Blu
- Graduate start-up of the year – Visaura
- Green start-up of the year – Project Blu
- Innovative Start-Up of the Year – iVAPPS
- Manufacturing start-up of the year – Cedar Tree Pods
- Medtech start-up of the year – Concentric Health
- Mobile and Emerging Technologies start-up of the year – Yoello
- North Wales start-up of the year – Enbarr Foundation
- Retail start-up of the year – The Good Wash Company
- Rural start-up of the year – In the Welsh Wind Distillery
- Social enterprise start-up of the year – Inspire Alpine
- Tourism start-up of the year – Squirrel’s Nest
- Valleys start-up of the year – Drone Evolution
- Young entrepreneur of the year – Martyn John (Good Brothers)
- Rising Stars – Suppliety and Vala Energy