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M-SParc sweeps up at National Awards

Emily Roberts

M-SParc cleaned up at the National Startup awards last night with 7 tenant companies showcased and 5 awards returning to M-SParc. The event was an opportunity to bring innovators from across Wales together in a melting pot of inspiration, celebration, and collaboration.  The M-SParc networking event saw key players from the north to south meet to share ideas and drive innovation forward, and this continued at the Wales Startup Awards, where not only did M-SParc based tenants swoop up 5 awards but they also returned for the main award for the evening – the overall Startup of the year – Haia Communications.

Tired of the rhetoric that ‘nothing happens in north Wales’, a false statement which ultimately sees the brightest and the best leave the region in search of opportunity, M-SParc last night lead the charge of showcasing exactly what north Wales has to offer. The evening’s success is down to the hard work of a dedicated team focused on offering supporting growth and innovation in Wales.

Ahead of the 9th Wales Startup Awards, M-SParc brought together organisations and businesses from across Wales, with a focus on north Wales innovators, to start conversations long-overdue. Managing Director, Pryderi ap Rhisiart explained:

“Fostering collaboration is our bread and butter, last night was an opportunity to do this on a national level. The event was about bringing people together face to face, adding the human element to innovation.  Importantly, it was our innovative ecosystem from north Wales who brought that passion to life, working the room and reminding each other what we can do when we work together.”

As well as invitees, the event was attended by those who’d seen the call to arms on social media, and wanted to come along on the journey.  Innovation in Wales is stepping up a gear, and organisations pan Wales are increasingly sticking their heads above the parapet, to be met with support from others on the same journey, looking to drive industry forward.

Pryderi continued “Ultimately, it’s about building that culture of collaboration, and changing the mindset of innovation from being something that happens somewhere else, to an ambition anyone in Wales can have. It can be a lonely journey if you think you’re the only one taking it, and last night proved that this isn’t the case. There’s a whole country of us! Driving innovation forward is how we’ll help companies grow, stay in the region, and create well-paid career opportunities.”

The proof was in the award ceremony, attended by hundreds and applied to by thousands of Welsh startups.  And so to the winners and the stars of the show:

Carnedd, a software development company,won Mobile and Emerging Technologies – a  company who recently employed two new, local people to drive the growth of the company.  Founder Edd Aslin said “We are extremely proud to be contributing to a growing tech scene in north Wales.  Our intention is to redefine what it means to be a successful software development team.”

Explorage, the online storage marketplace, with their newly formed team of 6, scooped the Rising Star award.

 Ceridwen Oncology, a spinout of Bangor University, focusing on rare cancer research, won Medtech & Healthtech.

Haia Communications won both the Digital Start-Up and Overall Wales winners for their online events platform.  Co-Founder Tom Burke said “We’re incredibly proud. It was totally unexpected but is brilliant recognition for all the hard work our team put into developing Haia. We want to say thank you to all our supporters, it isn’t possible to do things like this alone.  For anyone starting a business in north Wales I say go for it, the support is here and it’s unparalleled.  If you have the passion and determination, you’ll get it done.”

Whilst all this was going on in Cardiff, M-SParc tenant Animated Technologies’ Anna Burke was in London being awarded Innovative Business Woman in STEM.

The success of last night is a testament to people who innovate, people who dare to dream and who won’t accept that they have to leave north Wales to do this. Wales should be extremely proud of these businesses.

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Tom Burke

Digital Innovation Manager

tom@m-sparc.com

Tom used to work at the KFC in his hometown of Colwyn Bay before it mysteriously burned down. He then spent several years “on the lam” in East Germany, where he worked as an animator in Berlin. When the wall fell, Tom came home.

He enjoys climbing and hates ice-skating.