Welsh Business Awards 2016

Written by Sian Jones
(Student Voice Rep for Business 2017)

We arrived at Cardiff Museum very early to help set up the event. From entering the museum at 16:45 until the start of the reception at 18:30 it was amazing to see the transformation. What started out as the main entrance of the Museum became a fancy dining area complete with the rather dashing Gethin Jones off the telly box!

Myself, Siwan (Director of USW Exchange) and Hayley (Head of Faculty Administration) decided we needed a selfie with Gethin, (as you do). Following that we all ended up having a lovely natter with him. He was very down to earth and interested in talking about the University, what the USW Exchange does and what my role was within the University. I think I threw him a bit when I said I was a student!

This has been useful for my future career, building networks with other companies and getting my name out there.

Being a student at this event was a massive perk. I got to network with some fantastic  businesses, other staff from the University as well as some very interesting people from the South Wales Chamber of Commerce. This has been useful for my future career, building networks with other companies and getting my name out there.

The evening went very well; I chatted to Martyn Rowling (Head of USW Exchange's Business Clinic) regarding the focus of Exchange and how as students we can all get involved and benefit. We discussed some very interesting ongoing projects (which I am very much looking forward to being a part of) in between awards being handed out.

You could see from the off how important the awards were to everyone. There were very impassioned speeches from the Chamber's President; Liz Maher, on issues of business success, how the following year will look and the B word: Brexit. Alun Cairns Secretary of State for Wales was also at the event and talked about how the Welsh landscape is changing and how he wants Wales to be kept in the forefront with all business talks surrounding UK Government and the EU.


All of the winning companies have been offered the chance to receive support from USW Exchange in the next year to support and advance their plans. A support package also was awarded to each of the three runners up in each category, so there is real scope for USW Exchange and any of USW students to gain valuable experience in working alongside some industry leaders in Wales in the following year!

Siwan Rees, Director of USW Exchange also gave a very heartfelt speech at the awards stating that:

“We’re delighted to again support the awards, and congratulate all of those who have either been shortlisted or go on to become winners. By focusing on increasing the SME contribution to the economy, developing students with relevant skills, and enhancing the status of the university as an institution for business, USW is a centre for collaboration and interaction, which builds links between industry and graduate talent.”

Congratulations to the 2016 award winners: 

Customer Service

Guide Dogs Cymru

Skills & People Development

SPTS Technologies Ltd. 

Community Relations

Dragon LNG

Environmental Management 

Abergavenny Food Festival

Marketing & Communications

Tenovus Cancer Care

Growth Business of the Year

Pro Steel Engineering 


Thermal Compaction Company 

Overseas Trade

Welsh Hills Bakery

Young Entrepreneur

Wales Interactive

Start Up


ExchangeUSW Exchange is based on the ground floor of Brecon block (Treforest Campus, underneath B001 lecture room). Extra signage is going up, so that students and businesses can access it. They are also working on a lovely patio area which will be great for business networking in the summer!

So now you know where it is based, I guess you want to know what it does? Well to put it simply, it allows students and businesses to exchange details, information, and network. The South Wales Chamber of Commerce also has its own room there. Some businesses need some extra help when it comes to business/global trends/marketing/PR etc. and that is where us as students can help. We can get to work on live projects which gives us job experience (will look awesome on the CV) and also gives the company some help and understanding in an area which they may lack… who knows it could even lead to a nice graduate job at the end of your degree?

So, what’s stopping you? Pop down to the Exchange, get some valuable experience, get involved and get yourself ahead of the pack.