HOVIP - Heads of the Valleys Innovation Programme

Heads of the Valleys Innovation Programme

delivered by business people for business people


"I would recommend the Creativity and Innovation training to the whole of WMS as it is a fantastic learning experience and one not to be missed."

Kelly Hughes, Sales, Williams Medical Supplies plc

HoV Innovation Awards – 2009

Awards Winners 2009

In the awe-inspiring surroundings of the Dowlais Engine House, the winners of the 2009 Awards were announced in front of a capacity audience.

The 2009 winners are:

Most Innovative Social Enterprise sponsored by Capital Law:

New Pathways – providers of a range of counselling and support services for vulnerable people

New Pathways

Most Innovative Sole Trader sponsored by HSBC:

Shabby Chic Antiques blends old with new to produce innovative and unique custom tailored furniture.

Shabby Chic

Most Innovative Business with less than 20 employees sponsored by South Wales Chamber of Commerce:

SteriTouch Ltd Only company in the UK offering a complete antimicrobial solution and co-brand opportunities.

SteriTouch Ltd

Most Innovative Business with more than 20 employees sponsored by BT

DecTek Ltd Developed a unique global asset tracking solution with multiple applications from tracking luggage to livestock.

DecTek Ltd

Most Innovative Exhibitor at the Event sponsored by Flexible Support for Business (FS4B)

Royvon Dog Training School

Royvon Dog Training

Background to the 2009 Awards

Background to the 2009 Awards

The 2009 Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards honour and acknowledge the most innovative organisations in the Heads of the Valleys region.

  • Open to any business or social enterprise in Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Torfaen. Entrants had to show how creativity and innovation has made an impact on their business, workforce, customers, suppliers, communities or society
  • 4 Awards categories:
    • Most Innovative Sole Trader
      Sponsored by HSBC Bank plc
      Prize: £500 cash prize plus a package of preferential services for the winning company
    • Most Innovative Business with less than 20 employees
      Sponsored by South Wales Chamber of Commerce
      Prize: £500 cash prize
    • Most Innovative Business with more than 20 employees
      Sponsored by BT
      Prize: £500 cash prize and use of the prestigious Cardiff Bay BT Showcase venue for an event of your choice
    • Most Innovative Social Enterprise
      Sponsored by Capital Law
      Prize: £1000 of legal services for the winning organisation
  • Winners also each receive a trophy to celebrate their success, will be promoted through the HOVIP programme and published on this website and have automatic entry to the Wales Innovation Award 2009. Awards winners and all Awards entrants are automatically invited to be members of the Turning Heads Club
  • Short and simple entry process - all entries to be on an official Awards Entry Form
  • Closing date for the 2009 Innovation Awards was Saturday 6 June 2009.

2009 Awards Judges

Social Enterprise

  • Tom Kelleher (Sponsor), Capital Law
  • Mandy More, Welsh Assembly Government HoV Strategic Programme Manager for Voluntary Sector
  • Shannon Robinson, CEO Community Enterprise

Sole Trader

  • Alex Loxton (Sponsor), Commercial Manager, HSBC
  • Chris James, Partner, Ciotek Ltd
  • Jeff Harris, Commercial Manager, Merthyr Tydfil College Ltd

Less than 20 employees

  • David Russ (Sponsor), Managing Director, South Wales Chamber of Commerce
  • Arthur Davies, Crownford Training and Co-Founder Welsh Whisky
  • Richie Turner (Main Event Sponsor), Projects & Partnership Manager, University of Wales Global Academy

More than 20 employees

  • Ceri Fitzpatrick (Sponsor), Partnerships Manager, BT
  • Christine Bissex, Head of Enterprise, Merthyr Tydfil College
  • Meirion Thomas, CM International

2009 Award Entrants

Social Enterprise

Arts Factory

  • 'Factory Books': on-line first in Wales for recycled books

Bevan Foundation

  • Unconventional business which ‘trades’ ideas about social justice

Dylan’s Den

  • Creative child and parent centred out of school child care

Gurnos Ceramics

  • Hand-made ceramic artefacts that portray a rich local heritage

New Pathways

  • One agency providing support for victims of sexual abuse of all ages

Sole Trader

A Plus Training & Business Services Ltd.

  • New flexible training business model e.g. never cancel a booked course


  • Quality hand-made, wood turned & engraved pens and packaging

EAM Consulting

  • Professional maintenance services delivered with a personal touch

Form Contemporary Craft Gallery

  • Quality craft gallery with novel business model

The HR Partnership

  • Tailor-made client HR services that buck the trend

School of Life

  • Delivering serious messages in a humorous way – for money or food!

Shabby Chic Antiques

  • Recycled antique furniture with a French shabby chic look

Timto Ltd.

  • On-line birthday present organising service linked to charitable donations

Valley Education Services Ltd.

  • Personal & professional education recruitment service to schools

Less than 20 employees

Asbri Golf Ltd.

  • Innovative bespoke golfing accessories exported to 20 countries

Blue Stag Studio

  • ‘Airstream’ : content management system to assist on-line marketing +

Btp Associates

  • Innovative accountancy e.g. ‘Progress on A Page’ service

Cig Mynydd Cymru

  • 5 family farms co-operating to supply and run a butcher’s shop

Complete Background Screening Ltd.

  • Unique one-stop shop for screening & vetting for the CRB

Easy Group AP Ltd.

  • Innovative aerial photography system without the need for helicopters

Heavenly Day Nursery

  • Home from home environment for a first class childcare service

ITConnectsU Ltd.

  • Only company offering Blackberry training in Wales

Regan Construction Services

  • Innovative leaflet drops and novel customer feedback process

Rhymney Brewery

  • Set-up the London Welsh Beer Company Ltd to sell into the Metropolis

Solus Design

  • Novel website 01495info.com for residents of Blaenau Gwent

SteriTouch Ltd.

  • Can make any product antimicrobial & unique business model

Supply Only Bedrooms

  • Unusually selling fitted bedrooms via the internet

Swan EMS Ltd.

  • Product to replace fluorescent tubes saving 1/3 energy

Tilon Composites Ltd.

  • Only business in the UK to manufacture composite polymer materials and in one seamless production covert these into finished extrusion profiles

More than 20 employees

Amgen Cymru

  • Versatile material (e.g. polystyrene & TetraPak) recycling services

DecTek Ltd.

  • Ruggedised high performance global asset tracking solution

Graft Ltd.

  • One-stop shop for civil engineering & construction services

Melloy Ltd.

  • Breaking new ground in supply chain carbon reduction

Royvon Dog Training Schools

  • London comes to Merthyr: innovative new ‘Country Retreat’ service

2009 Award Winners

Most Innovative Social Enterprise (sponsored by Capital Law LLP): New Pathways

New Pathways

  • One agency only providing support services to victims of domestic / other sexual abuse
  • All ages and genders catered for
  • Innovative ‘Outlook Project’ for prison inmates
  • Only organisation in Wales to provide range of services
  • Innovative volunteer training scheme (35 new recruits)

“A strong enterprise delivering a much needed service to a highly vulnerable client base. Whilst operating in a difficult and emotive area, New Pathways provides benefits for clients, volunteers and the community at large.” Judges' comments

Most Innovative Sole Trader (sponsored by HSBC: Shabby Chic Antiques

Shabby Chic

  • Recycled antique furniture with a French shabby chic look: started in 2007
  • Featured in June edition of Vogue
  • Will feature in ITV ’60 minute makeover’ programmes in the Autumn
  • Customers in London, China and the US!

“An innovative idea with opportunity to establish a sustainable business with a wide target market.” Judges' comments

Most Innovative Business with Less than 20 employees (sponsored by South Wales Chamber of Commerce: SteriTouch Ltd

SteriTouch Ltd

  • Any product can be made antimicrobial
  • Only company in Wales offering this service
  • Innovatively marketed as a co-brand and without an associated licensing fee
  • Customers include: world’s largest manufacturer of hand dryers, world’s largest remote control manufacturer and Mothercare

“When a great technology, a strong brand, a clever business model and sheer hard work are all combined, outstanding innovation is the result.” Judges' comments

Most Innovative Business with More than 20 employees (sponsored by BT: DecTek Ltd

DecTek Ltd

  • Employees and clients in HoV
  • Unique global asset tracking solution
  • Multiple applications from tracking luggage to livestock
  • Tech. Dev. Partner for PSION, Toshiba Tec etc.
  • Clients include: 3M, GE Healthcare etc.
  • Formed DecTek Espania & DecTek USA planned

“This is an excellent example of open innovation, where the company has built collaborations and partnerships in order to maximise the speed with which the product has been innovated and, now, the business will grow to achieve a potential global impact. The business is also creating jobs in a deprived area in a time of recession.” Judges' comments

Most Innovative Exhibition Stand (sponsored by Welsh Assembly Government’s Flexible Support for Business): Royvon Dog Training Schools Ltd

Royvon Dog Training

25 JUNE 2009: HoV Businesses Powering Forward

In the awe-inspiring surroundings of the Dowlais Engine House, the winners of the 2009 Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards were announced in front of a capacity audience mainly from South Wales.

The Innovation Awards, now in their third year, showcase and reward the most innovative businesses in the area.  Businesses gain recognition for doing things differently or imaginatively that has had a dramatic and beneficial impact on their development and / or the region or beyond.

BBC’s Jason Mohammad compered the event, which was opened by Alistair Neill, Chief Executive of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council. Please download the event presentation (pdf)

Richie Turner, from the University of Wales Global Academy, who manages the Prince of Wales Innovation Scholarship programme  said, “The Innovation Awards are a fantastic opportunity to hear about and be inspired by the businesses in the region and we are delighted to be the main sponsor of the Awards and Marketplace exhibition, which in itself is an innovative event.”

“These businesses demonstrate the power of innovation to drive the Welsh economy forward and they play an important role in putting the Heads of the Valleys back on the innovation map. The winners show that innovation really does make a difference – to the business, to the people in that business, to customers, to the local community and to the region.  Many congratulations to all of the winners.”

Phil Burkhard, Manager of the Heads of the Valleys Innovation Programme (HOVIP) said, “We were delighted to have received so many entries for this year’s Awards. The Engine House once powered the largest ironworks in the world in a region that was, and is once again becoming, a hotbed of innovation. The calibre of entries was very high and the winners will act as a beacon for others.”

Nick Corlett of SteriTouch Ltd summed up the excitement shared by all the winners when he said, “We were thrilled to win the award and extremely flattered that our efforts have been recognised. The Award means a great deal to us and will give us exposure to a much wider audience than we usually reach. We are proud to be winners.”

The HOVIP team were delighted with the success of the event and are grateful for the support of the sponsors, venue, contractors, Heads of the Valleys Councils and the HoV Regeneration Programme. Thank you.

Global Academy
  • SWCC
  • BT
  • Equinox
  • HSBC Bank plc
  • Capital Law
WAG logo

Heads of the Valleys Innovation Programme (HOVIP) aims to increase the capacity for innovation in businesses in the region. Phase 1 was KEF ESF Funded and hosted by Merthyr Tydfil College. HOVIP2 and HOVIP3 is supported by the Welsh Assembly Government HoV Regeneration initiative with the 5 HoV local authorities and is hosted by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council.

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