Exciting announcements marked the launch of the ESTnet Awards 2015, held to recognise the achievements of businesses across the electronic and software technologies industry in Wales.
Among the new categories announced by ESTnet Chairman Ian Menzies, was a special award for start-up firms named in honour of Cardiff-born venture capitalist, Sir Michael Moritz, whose investments have helped many exciting new digital businesses worldwide to get off the ground.
Sir Michael agreed to support the award in order to put the spotlight on the growing number of small but highly-innovative digital businesses emerging in Wales. The billionaire investor built his own global reputation by spotting and investing in household name firms such as Google, Yahoo and LinkedIn during their early days.
Mr Menzies said: “There are many exciting new Welsh ventures emerging in this field and we need to promote and nurture the new culture which is giving rise to this wave of technology-based enterprises. We also need to become better at spotting the potential industry stars and encouraging them to grow their businesses here in Wales; creating large numbers of high-quality professional jobs.”
He added: “We’re very pleased that an international entrepreneur of the calibre of Sir Michael has lent his name to this new award category which will give recognition to one of Wales growing number of fledgling technology enterprises. His success has been an inspiration to many already and we hope it will encourage many others in their endeavours.”
The launch event followed the ESTnet Members Exhibition, the first opportunity after the summer for members to get together and discuss possible business opportunities. One of those exhibiting, Richard Sheppard from multilingual software consultancy firm Interceptor Solutions, said: “It’s good to get an opportunity to meet other members face to face to talk about industry issues and possibly do business. We’ve made some promising new contacts today, hopefully they will develop into future business partnerships.”
Managing Director of the ESTnet Avril Lewis said: “We are honoured that Sir Michael Moritz has chosen to be associated with the ESTnet Awards, it is a show of faith in the dynamic young companies who make up much of the software technologies sector in Wales, many of whom we met at the Member Exhibition.
“ I am also excited about our other new categories, particularly Industry Role Model of the Year, Apprentice of the Year and Collaborative Partner of the Year. Our focus this year is on the contribution of young people both as talented ICT professionals and as start-up technology entrepreneurs. These awards reward those young people and those who have inspired them, whether they be individuals within the industry or companies who have worked with schools, colleges or universities.”
Entries for the 2015 ESTnet Awards must be submitted by 19th November 2014 and judging will be undertaken by a panel of prominent figures including: Professor Julie Lydon OBE, vice chancellor, University of South Wales (Chair), Adam Price, Public Innovation Lead for Wales, Dr Steve Welch, director, KTN, Dr Georgina Campbell Flatter, director, MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Programme and Chris Nott, chair of the Welsh Government’s Financial and Professional Services Advisory Panel. Winners will be announced at a gala dinner at the Wales Millennium Centre on 5 March 2015.