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Welsh start-up festival set to celebrate ‘best new businesses’

Wales Start-Up Festival & Awards. Credit: Matthew Horwood

A new festival to bring together the Welsh start-up community has been launched as part of the annual Wales Start-Up Awards which will again celebrate the contribution that new entrepreneurial firms make to job creation, creativity and innovation across the Welsh economy.

The brainchild of Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE, assistant pro-vice chancellor at the University of South Wales and founder of the Fast Growth 50, the Wales Start-Up Awards are unique in being the only business awards in the UK that focus specifically on recognising the achievements of those new businesses launched within the last three years.

Wales Startup Awards 2019 at the Depot, Cardiff. Credit: Matthew Horwood

The 2020 awards will be held at the site of the new Depot in Cardiff on the evening of June 19th with the overall sponsor again being Capital Law, a leading provider of commercial legal services to private and public sector clients throughout the UK, Europe and beyond.

Chris Nott, Senior Partner at Capital Law said:

Since our involvement with these awards, we’ve witnessed the drive, optimism and creativity of Welsh entrepreneurs. It’s inspiring to see start-ups from previous award years not only flourish, but also surpass the aspirations they originally set for themselves. As a home-grown business ourselves, we’re passionate about encouraging growth in the Welsh economy through the development of a supportive entrepreneurship ecosystem. These awards are at the heart of it: they act as a valuable springboard for Welsh start-ups, by giving them an opportunity to be recognised and connected. For all these reasons, we’re proud to be the Wales Start-up Awards headline sponsor again this year, and cannot wait to meet and see the talent of this year’s entrants.”

To make this year’s event bigger and better than ever, the number of awards is being expanded and the Wales Start-Up Festival will be held on the same day so as to bring Welsh startups together to help celebrate the best of new businesses in Wales.

As Professor Jones-Evans explains:

 “Since they were established back in 2016, some incredible new businesses have been recognised at the annual Wales Start-Up awards. With the tech sector growing rapidly across the nation, we have created a number of new awards that reflect some of the sectors that could make a real difference to the economy over the next few years such as cyber, fintech, medtech and mobile technologies”.

He also believes that the event should be about more than being just another awards ceremony and that the reboot of the awards offers an opportunity to add real value to the those applying.

“The creation of the Wales Start-Up festival as a free event to complement the awards will be an opportunity for attendees to hear inspirational talks by successful entrepreneurs, attend advice clinics and workshops and to showcase the best of Welsh entrepreneurship”..

“For the first time, we are also encouraging all of our sponsors to directly support those entering the awards. For example, NatWest Bank will offer a fast-track route to their digital accelerator to all finalists whilst the Celtic Manor Resort, sponsor of the food and drink start-up of the year award, will be giving all shortlisted firms in their category the opportunity to showcase their products at their four hotels in Newport. It is incredible opportunity for startups to get access to the expertise experience and marketing power of our amazing sponsors.”

The full list of awards

  • Business to business services startup of the year
  • Cardiff startup of the Year
  • Construction startup of the year
  • Consumer Services startup of the year
  • Creative startup of the year
  • Cyber startup of the year
  • Digital startup of the year
  • Equity startup of the year
  • Financial and professional services startup of the year
  • Fintech startup of the year
  • Food and drink startup of the year
  • Global startup of the year
  • Graduate startup of the year
  • Green Startup of the year
  • Innovative startup of the year
  • Manufacturing startup of the year
  • Medtech startup of the year
  • Mobile and emerging technology start-up of the year
  • Retail startup of the year
  • Rising stars award
  • Rural startup of the year
  • Social enterprise startup of the year
  • Tourism and leisure startup of the year
  • Valleys startup of the year
  • Young entrepreneur of the year

Entries close on March 27th 2020 and will then be assessed by a panel of judges that include some of Wales’ leading entrepreneurs such as Professor Simon Gibson, Racheal Flanagan of Mrs Bucket, Kate Methuen Ley of Tiger Cardiff stores, James Taylor of Superstars and Richard Theo of Wealthify.

The event is being supported by the Welsh entrepreneurial ecosystem include NatWest Bank, Abel + Imray, BeTheSpark, Bluegg, Business in Focus, Business News Wales, the Celtic Manor Resort, CEMET, Development Bank of Wales, Fintech Wales, Innovate UK, South Wales Chamber of Commerce, Tech Nation, Town Square, University of South Wales, Universities Wales, WCVA and the Welsh Government as well as leading entrepreneurial high growth firms such as ALS Managed Services, CP Hire, Freight Logistics Solutions, the Indigo Group, Mazuma, Wolfberry and ZipWorld.

Further information about the 2020 Wales Start-Up award can be found online at www.walesstartupawards.com