HOVIP - Heads of the Valleys Innovation Programme

Heads of the Valleys Innovation Programme

delivered by business people for business people


"Excellent. I have gained an alternative approach for my future marketing strategy."

Suman Ghose, Operations Director, Golden Dragon Ltd.

Inaugural Innovation Awards 28 June 2007

The Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards honour and acknowledge the most innovative businesses in the Heads of the Valleys area.

The winners of the inaugural Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards for businesses, pictured at the Big Pit, (from left to right): Damian Gant, Penn Pharmaceutical Services Ltd.; Sassy Hicks, Garnsychan Partnership; Steve Murray, ITDA (UK) Ltd.; Sarah Draper, Royvon Dog Training Schools and Kerys Sheppard, Purple Prose.

More than 120 people attended the first ever Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards and Marketplace at the Parkway Hotel, Cwmbran on June 28 2007.

The 2007 winners were:

Most Innovative Social Enterprise sponsored by NESTA:
Garnsychan Partnership
Most Innovative Sole Trader sponsored by HSBC:
Purple Prose
Most Innovative Business with less than 20 employees sponsored by KTS Owens Thomas:
Royvon Dog Training Schools
International Technical Diving Agency Ltd.
Most Innovative Business with more than 20 employees sponsored by BT:
Penn Pharmaceutical Services Ltd.

"Visitors, Award entrants, exhibitors and sponsors all commented that the evening was a great success. We managed to combine a formal event with an informal and friendly atmosphere. I am delighted that there is a groundswell of support to make this an annual feature in the business calendar."

said Phil Burkhard, HOVIP Programme Manager.

Background to the 2007 Awards

Let's recognise and celebrate success!

The inaugural Heads of the Valleys Innovation Awards 2007 honour and acknowledge the most innovative businesses in the Heads of the Valleys area.

Any business in the Heads of the Valleys area can enter. Closing date: The Awards 2007 are now closed. Awards 2007 Presentation: 28 June 2007 at the Innovation Marketplace event at the Parkway Hotel, Cwmbran.

4 Awards categories

  1. Most Innovative Sole Trader

    Sponsored by HSBC Bank plcPrize: £500 cash prize

    • Preferential Business Banking (including a period of free banking)
    • A banking service tailored to the needs of the winning business
    • and A full business review
  2. Most Innovative Business with less than 20 employees

    Sponsored by KTS Owens ThomasPrize: £500 cash prize prize plus a package of preferential services for the winning company

  3. Most Innovative Business with more than 20 employees

    Sponsored by BTPrize: £500 cash prize

  4. Most Innovative Social Enterprise Business

    Sponsored by NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the ArtsPrize: £1000 cash prize plus related marketing support from NESTA for the winning organisation.

Winners will each receive a trophy to celebrate their success and will also be promoted through the HOVIP programme with the winning entries publicised on this website.

The judges for the 2007 Awards are

Most Innovative Sole Trader category:

  • Gavin Wiltshire, Manager, HSBC
  • Chris James, MD, Ciotek Ltd.
  • Jeff Harris, Commercial Manager, UGCS Ltd. Merthyr Tydfil College

Most Innovative Business with less than 20 employees:

  • Craig Blackmore, Sales Director, KTS Owens Thomas
  • David Phillips, Chief Executive, Wales Quality Centre
  • Phil Burkhard, BDM and HOVIP Manager

Most Innovative Business with more than 20 employees:

  • Ceri Fitzpatrick, BT Partnership Director for Wales
  • Meirion Thomas, Director, CM International Ltd.
  • Christine Bissex, Head of Enterprise, University of Glamorgan Merthyr Tydfil College

Most Innovative Social Enterprise Business:

  • Richie Turner, Wales Partnerships Manager, NESTA
  • Shannon Robinson, Chief Executive, Community Enterprise Wales
  • Matt Jenkins, Head of Director's Corporate Business, DELLS

Awards 2007 entry is now closed.

Download the Awards Information document.

2007 Award Entrants

  1. Nominations for the Most Innovative Social Enterprise:

    • Garnsychan Partnership – Wood Wise recycling project
    • Integrated Children's Centre – Childcare, learning and family support
    • Kidz R Us – Performing Arts plus in former Chapel
    • Less Talk Ltd. – Cross county venture company re: housing and up-skilling
    • Penderyn Community Centre – Community Hall
  2. Nominations for the Most Innovative Sole Trader:

    • Alexandra Smith Therapies – Fridge magnet business card
    • Nocardsthanks.com – On-line greetings and charity donation
    • Purple Prose – 'Leading Ladies' calendar
    • Regan Construction Services – Hand written leaflet drops & customer feedback
  3. Nominations for the Most Innovative Business (less than 20 employees):

    • AJ Print / Harlan Properties – turned an eyesore into business units
    • Celtic Collectives – College students' virtual business
    • International Technical Diving Agency – new world diver training standard
    • Royvon Dog Training Schools – CRM system linked to customer reporting
  4. Nominations for the Most Innovative Business (more than 20 employees):

    • Design and Manufacture Ltd. – 'Blacksmiths of the 21st Century'
    • Dragon Truck and Van – state of the art employee focused repair centre
    • Engine Training and Consultancy – Turning around Welsh International Climbing Centre e.g. via Flow Programme for disaffected youth
    • Penn Pharmaceutical Services Ltd. – cross functional Fast Track Team

2007 Award Winners

  1. Most Innovative Social Enterprise (sponsored by NESTA): Garnsychan Partnership

    Garnsychan Partnership's Wood Wise is a wood recycling project that started two years ago when the Partnership was offered 25 headboards from the Parkway Hotel in Cwmbran. These were made into bird boxes, play houses and garden furniture – recycling that is worth it rather than worthy!

    An innovative marketing campaign, aimed at school children, and on-going creative sessions additionally impressed the judges.

    "Clear evidence of creativity and innovation in both its product range and approach to business. A sustainable and exciting initiative that also promotes and assists corporate social responsibility. A hugely impressive enterprise."

    Judges' comments

  2. Most Innovative Sole Trader (sponsored by HSBC Bank plc): Purple Prose

    Purple Prose, now based in the GTi Incubator at Abercynon, launched in October 2006 with an eye-catching 'Leading Ladies' calendar. The calendar depicted local businesswomen photographed as movie and film icons – from Marilyn Monroe to Audrey Hepburn!

    In addition to promoting each business, proceeds from the calendar were donated to St. David's Hospice and Gwent Business Women's Network. A new theme is planned for the 2008 calendar!

    "The judges were unanimous in their decision. This application was supported with strong evidence. An excellent example of team working and involvement of professionals and community with great testimonials from leading figures!"

    Judges' comments

  3. Most Innovative Business with less than 20 employees (sponsored by KTS Owens Thomas):Royvon Dog Training Schools and International Technical Diving Agency Ltd.

    Royvon Dog Training Schools, who provide residential dog training services, impressed the judges with their CRM system and wealth of customer testimonials. The CRM system was unusually linked to customer reporting enabling owners as far away as the Scottish Highlands to monitor their dog's progress.

    "Royvon is excellently packaged and promoted through its website and the innovative use of CRM software enhances the customer experience. We were also impressed with the extent and nature of the customer testimonials for what is a quality service."

    Judges' comments

    ITDA (UK) Ltd.

    ITDA are joint winners of Award no 3

    ITDA impressed judges for entirely different reasons. They have rewritten the rule book for diving standards. This has been achieved by enabling their instructors to certify divers to a depth that they are comfortable diving and not issuing blanket certification. The business is trading in over 30 countries, promoting Brand Wales, at a time when we often hear about the adverse impact of globalisation on Welsh business.

    "ITDA impressed us with a unique and innovative approach in a specialist industry. Who would have thought that an international diving school, responsible for setting standards across the globe, could be found in New Tredegar!"

    Judges' comments

  4. Most Innovative Business with more than 20 employees (sponsored by BT):Penn Pharmaceutical Services Ltd.

    Penn Pharmaceutical Services are winners of Award no 4 – they provide outsourcing services for the international healthcare industry in a marketplace dominated by pressure to deliver successful clinical trials. The business responded to this challenge by creating a cross functional FAST TRACK team to see projects through from specification to dispatch.

    Reduced lead times, increased customer satisfaction and revenues and up-skilling have resulted. The Team is also being used as a unique selling point for the business.

    "A very strong entry, well presented and clearly setting out the achievements against the criteria. Excellent example of team work. This is a sustainable approach to ensure customer loyalty by giving employees autonomy and accountability for what they do."

    Judges' comments

June 28 2007 – a night to remember!

The sun definitely came out to shine on the visitors, exhibitors, Award entrants and sponsors who attended the event, please download our presentation (1.92 MB PowerPoint presentation).

Patrick Lewis, Director of the Heads of the Valleys Regeneration Programme, gave the welcome speech and remarked that he was amazed at how much progress HOVIP had been made in such short space of time.

Exhibitors ranged from Rhymney Brewery to the recently launched Jane Oliver Collection with their unique clasp and hand-made jewellery to more mature businesses such as 25-years-strong Design and Manufacture Ltd. and International Business Wales.

There was something for everyone, with exhibitors already reporting agreed contracts as a result of the leads generated. People also commented on the professional approach to the evening and the friendly and informal atmosphere.

The Awards ceremony represented the highlight of the evening with standing room only. The joy expressed by all the winners was aptly summed up by Sassy Hicks, Assistant Manager of the Garnsychan Partnership, who said: "I am still on cloud nine this morning! I can't even begin to tell you what this Award means to us at the Partnership. I honestly never expected to win and was in so much shock when we were named as winners! Thank you."

The evening represented a showcase for businesses in the region by recognising and celebrating their success and providing opportunities to trade – in direct contrast to the negative press about the region we sometimes see.

The HOVIP team are delighted that there is a groundswell of support to make this an annual event. We are grateful for the support of the sponsors, Heads of the Valleys Councils and the Knowledge Exploitation Fund. Thank you.

Sponsors 2007

  • BT
  • HSBC Bank plc
  • KTS Owens Thomas
  • Wales Quality Centre
Global Academy
  • SWCC
  • BT
  • Equinox
  • HSBC Bank plc
  • Capital Law
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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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