Start-up awards recognise tech success in Wales

A number of Welsh tech firms and entrepreneurs have reached the final stages of the Wales Startup Awards.

Launched this summer, the awards are aimed at recognising and celebrating the achievements being made by start-ups and entrepreneurs in Wales.

They’re being sponsored by Natwest and innovation centre Welsh ICE, and were only made open to businesses that have been running for three years or less.

There are fourteen categories covering a whole host of different sectors in Wales, including the creative industries, finance, food and drink, technology and professional services.

In the digital start-up category, the Codez Academy, DevOPs Guys, Dragon Spark Productions, Futurism Ltd and Pow Virtual Running have all been shortlisted.

Meanwhile, tech start-ups Delio and Tax’OD are running for the financial start-up gong. And Echosec has been nominated for global start-up of the year, recognising its presence in Canada.

Swansea-based Go2GP is in the life sciences category, and Aspire2Be, Learnium, Veeqo and Zone Art Network are up for technology start-up of the year.

Learnium’s Robert Dragan, one of the nominees, said: “It’s a great honour to be shortlisted for the technology start-up of the year considering that Learnium’s mission is to use technology to develop the educational models and practises of the future.

“This nomination comes at an exciting time for Learnium as we’ve been expanding our social and mobile learning platforms over the past year. In April we became one of the Digital Dozen – the top 12 Welsh companies to watch out for in 2016.

“We are also really proud to collaborate with Microsoft to make Learnium and Office Online available to 4.3M UK students for free. We’d like to thank the Wales StartUp Awards team for considering us for this award.

Ben Milsom, MD of Echosec UK, has also been shortlisted. He told Tech Dragons: “Looking back just under 2 years ago, we could never have anticipated the global success that Echosec would encounter.

“We started off with early clients in Canada, and the UK. We now have clients in over 100 countries, from Brazil and Chile, to Kiritimati (check it out) and Seychelles, with everything in-between.

“But not only are our clients global, but so are our people. We have two offices, Victoria in Canada, and Cardiff. This significantly accelerated our international growth with near 24/7 sales and support from the outset.

“To be recognised for the ‘Global Startup of the Year’ is a real honor. We want Wales to be on the map as a place where companies can thrive and so to be shortlisted for the Wales Startup Awards really cements Echosec as an international front-runner.”

The awards were established by Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, founder of the Wales Fast Growth 50 and a Wales Online columnist, and Liz Brookes of Grapevine Events.

He said:“Liz and I are absolutely delighted at the response we have had to the first ever Wales Start-Up awards. From over 250 initial entries, we now have 57 finalists across eighteen categories, including creative and digital start-up of the year and technology start-up of the year.

“The quality of all entries was extremely high and I am particularly delighted that we have had a strong response not only across all sectors but, more importantly, from all parts of Wales. Certainly, if these new firms are anything to go by, then entrepreneurship is flourishing within the Welsh economy.”

 The 2016 Wales Start-Up Awards will take place at the Depot in Cardiff on Friday, September 16th.