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Wales StartUp Awards 2022 winners announced

The 2022 Wales StartUp Awards winners

The best new Welsh businesses were named at the annual Wales StartUp Awards last night. Established in 2016, the Wales StartUp Awards celebrate the contribution that new entrepreneurial firms make to job creation, creativity and innovation across the Welsh economy.

The Wales Startup Awards final was held at Depot in Cardiff and saw 26 different awards given out to new businesses. These included a new category which recognised those entrepreneurs who had successfully completed the Duke of Edinburgh award before starting their own business.

It has now joined forces with the Great British Entrepreneur Awards to form part of the StartUp Awards National Series, which was established this year to highlight the success of startups across nine UK nations and regions and to celebrate the achievements of entrepreneurs in all sectors of the economy.

The 2022 StartUp of the Year for Wales is Drop Bear Beer, the specialist brewer of alcohol-free craft beers whose range is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, low calorie, and low sugar.

Established in 2019 by Joelle Drummond and Sarah McNena, the B-Corp business has attracted over £2m of investment to build the UK’s largest alcohol-free brewery. As a result, it is projecting revenue of £13m over the next three years from sales in the UK and internationally.  Drop Bear is also the world’s first female-founded and first LGBTQIA+ founded alcohol-free brewery and the business has been instrumental in challenging stereotypes and bringing more diversity to a traditional industry.

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE

Creator of the awards, Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE, said the event not only celebrated the best new firms in Wales but recognised the amazing entrepreneurial talent that continues to thrive in every part of the country.

“I am proud that the awards, which began here in Wales seven years ago, have grown to cover every nation and region of the UK through the StartUp Awards National Series. Having already visited Glasgow, Newcastle, Belfast, Birmingham, Reading and Bristol, it was brilliant to be back in the Depot in Cardiff where it all began.

“We all know the importance of entrepreneurship to the economy and, here in Wales, it is becoming even more critical to not only encourage more people to start a business but to create an ecosystem that helps those fledgling businesses achieve their potential. This year’s Wales StartUp Awards have demonstrated, yet again, the real entrepreneurial talent we have in every sector of the economy and as we look to recover from the Covid pandemic, they must be supported to grow and prosper.

“A huge congratulations to everyone who won last night and especially to Joelle, Sarah and their business Drop Bear Beer in winning three awards and becoming the 2022 Wales StartUp of the Year. Having won the young entrepreneur category back in 2019 when they were just starting their new venture, it has been exciting to follow their journey from an idea to a business that is going to have a radical impact on their industry over the next few years.”

Alex Murphy, Admiral’s Marketing Director and StartUp Awards Judge said: “The innovative and energetic soul of startups is something that resonates very strongly with us at Admiral, as that same spirit has always been at our core. We’re transitioning our business towards Admiral 2.0, built for a digital-first world, so seeing the quality of the nominees in the Digital StartUp category was particularly exciting. It was a pleasure and inspiration to be a judge for the awards and see so many great startups, and perhaps one or two future Welsh FTSE100s!”

The Wales StartUp Awards are sponsored by a range of organisations including Admiral, British Business Bank, BT, Clearco, Dell Technologies and Intel, Department for International Trade, EY Breakthrough Incentives, Fearless Adventures, Ideas Fest, Accountancy Cloud, the Alacrity Foundation, ALS People, Ambition North Wales, BIC Innovation, Business in Focus, CEMET, Cognis Capital, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Evabuild, Flyform, Food Innovation Wales, Genmed, Limbart, Lux Family Law, M-Sparc, Moja, Moblox, Paperclip Public & Media Relations, Principality Building Society, Tiny Rebel, Town Square Spaces, Universities Wales, WCVA and Welsh Government.

Full list of winners

Wales StartUp of the Year

  • Drop Bear Beer

Business-to-Business Services StartUp of the Year

  • Hexa Finance

Cardiff StartUp of the Year

  • Lovetovisit

Consumer Services StartUp of the Year

  • YourNorth

Construction and Building Services StartUp of the Year

  • Lattice

Creative StartUp of the Year

  • Luna Tides Production

Digital StartUp of the Year

  • DCW Insights

Fintech StartUp of the Year

  • Ship Shape

Food and Drink StartUp of the Year

  • Devil’s Bridge Rum

Global StartUp of the Year

  • Conexus

Graduate StartUp of the Year

  • Dill

Green StartUp of the Year

  • Drop Bear Beer

High Street StartUp of the Year

  • Cuffedincoffee

Innovative StartUp of the Year

  • Route Konnect

Medtech StartUp of the Year

  • Goggleminds

Mobile and Emerging Technologies StartUp of the Year

  • Identitech

Online Retail StartUp of the Year

  • Mallows Beauty

North Wales StartUp of the Year

  • Cufflink

Professional Services StartUp of the Year

  • Moxie People

Rural StartUp of the Year

  • The Lodge, Staylittle

Social Enterprise StartUp of the Year

  • Prom Ally CIC

Swansea Bay StartUp of the Year

  • Drop Bear Beer

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Wales

  • Marketing Purks

Tourism and Leisure StartUp of the Year

  • Nomadic Washrooms

Valleys StartUp of the Year

  • Niche Website Builders

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

  • Drop Bear Beer

Rising Stars

  • Micro Acres Wales
  • Treelaw
  • The Virtual Assistance Experience