Meet the Wales Start-Up Awards 2018 Judges

Meet the judges of the Wales Start-Up Awards 2018. Thank you to all of the judges for giving up their time to judge this year's entries.


Chair of Judges

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE, Co-founder of the Wales Start-Up Awards and Assistant Pro-Vice Chancellor (Enterprise), University of South Wales

Dylan has been championing entrepreneurship in Wales for over twenty years and is the creator of the Wales Fast Growth 50 Awards. He has honed an entrepreneurial mind-set and drives change by leading his own innovative projects and getting involved in various new businesses.

He is visiting professor of entrepreneurship at Turku University in Finland and has worked as consultant for the OECD, EU and other economic development bodies globally. He has published over 100 academic articles, is the co-author of the best-selling textbook "Enterprise and Small Business" and was responsible for the report that led to the establishment of the Development Bank for Wales. He also writes a weekly column on business in the Western Mail and Daily Post.



Liz Brookes, Co-founder of the Wales Start-Up Awards and Director of Grapevine Event Management

Liz founded Grapevine Event Management in March 2011. Now one of the most well recognised corporate events companies in Wales, Grapevine Event Management delivers high quality creative and innovative events for corporate clients throughout the UK and beyond.

On the motivation of setting up the Awards Liz said; "We know how hard it is to start your own business and the challenges you can face. We wanted the awards to recognise the best of new businesses in Wales in a relaxed atmosphere, and to be the inspiration for the next generation of start-ups in the welsh economy.

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Alys Carlton, Partner at Capital Law

This year Capital Law are the headline sponsors of the Wales Start-Up Awards.

Alys is a partner in the Corporate and Commercial team at Capital Law. She joined Capital in 2014 after 11 years working for a Magic Circle firm in London and Milan. Alys advises on the full range of corporate transactions including M&A, private equity and venture capital, corporate governance and restructurings. In terms of her private equity practice, she has a particular focus on providing strategic advice to management teams. She was recently shortlisted as Legal Adviser of the Year at the Women in Finance Awards 2018. Alys is delighted to be involved in the #WSUA18 - she is of the firm view that the awards give the businesses recognised a fantastic platform for growth.

Jamie McGowan, Campus Director of Welsh ICE

Welsh ICE are sponsors of the overall Wales Start-Up Award.

Jamie has been involved with Welsh ICE since 2016. Since opening in July 2012 ICE has become the largest community of co-working start-up and micro-businesses in Wales, currently housing over 200 early stage and growth companies with over 350 business being supported in this time. Their economic impact assessment reveals that ICE has created £53 million current net additional GVA benefits.

Jamie said; "I've been working with Start-ups in Wales for the last two years and continue to be blown away by the level of passion, drive and innovation behind these businesses. The Wales Start-Up Awards is the perfect way to celebrate these achievements; it's always a cracking knees-up!"

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Caroline Thompson, CEO of BeTheSpark

BeTheSpark is a movement designed to connect like-minded people and to bring together innovation and entrepreneurship. It aims to build a community that will help transform Wales, inspire the next generation and ultimately trigger more start-ups, more innovation & commercialisation, more opportunities and more jobs.

Prior to taking up her position with BeTheSpark, Caroline was the NatWest lead for the Entrepreneurial Spark accelerator hubs in both Bristol and Cardiff. Caroline is inspired by innovation & entrepreneurship. Experienced in supporting early stage entrepreneurs with a demonstrated history of working in the banking industry. 

The Wales Start-Up Awards are now one of the highlights of the calendar for her. Commenting on the awards Caroline said; "The unique way that the judging is structured means we get to meet the entrepreneurs and learn about their businesses. It's inspiring!"


Category Judges

The judges are also joined by representatives from the sponsor for each category.