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Powys Business of the Year emphasises importance of developing employees

Powys Business Awards 2023 Launch Event at Themes Restaurant, Newtown College. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography. PB96-2023

THE MANAGING director of a Welshpool manufacturing company has underlined the value of winning last year’s Powys Business of the Year award and emphasised the importance of continuing to develop the workforce.

Andrew Newbold, from Wipak UK, was speaking following the launch of this year’s Powys Business Awards, which has new categories for sole traders excellence in sustainability. Wipak UK will be sponsoring the Small Business Award this year.

Closing date for entries is July 30 and the awards presentation ceremony will be held on Friday, October 20 at The Hafren, Newtown. Entry forms may be completed online or downloaded at https://www.powysbusinessawards.co.uk .

In addition to the overall 2022 Powys Business of the Year title, sponsored by Powys County Council, Wipak also won the People Development Award, sponsored by NPTC Group of Colleges, for the company’s commitment to its workforce.

“Winning the People Development Award and the overall Business of the Year prize not only recognised our employees and their ongoing hard work and dedication, but it also showcased our priorities to our customers,” said Mr Newbold.

“It also demonstrated that we are doing what we have set out to achieve in our strategy. Developing people is more important today than ever to ensure business sustainability. By being proactive and transparent, we foster trust and cement lasting relationships with all of our stakeholders.

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“We are close to realising our ambition of achieving Investors in People Gold accreditation, with our current Silver rating a testament to the ongoing commitment by all employees to ensure effective approaches to leading, managing and developing people.”

Referring the sponsorship of the Small Business Award this year, he added: “When Wipak UK relocated to Welshpool over 26 years ago, we were a small business with a workforce of 15 people.

“Since then – thanks to continued investment in manufacturing capability, new product development, design and the creation of an unprecedented service culture – we have evolved into a market-leading supplier of flexible packaging.

“We now employ more than 110 employees and supply packaging to blue chip food customers with our products seen in every major supermarket throughout the UK.

“During this time, we have witnessed Powys develop into a hub of manufacturing activity with many other businesses growing alongside us. Following our success at the 2022 Powys Business Awards, we are delighted to be sponsoring the Small Business Award where we celebrate the continued success of small businesses in the region.”

Wipak UK’s workforce is playing a key role in its mission to become the most sustainable flexible packaging supplier in the world and achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.

The company makes sophisticated, high barrier packaging films for preserving and protecting food products. Following £5 million investment in state-of-the-art machinery in 2021, the business increased its turnover by more than 40% and employed 15 more employees, with plans to create another 35 jobs in the coming years.

Following a comprehensive training programme for operators on the new machines, several exciting new products have been developed, including an advanced, low carbon footprint, recyclable paper butter wrap for a new market.

Showcasing the diverse range of successful enterprises in the county, Powys Business Awards are organised by Mid Wales Manufacturing Group (MWMG) with support from sponsors.

Ceri Stephens, MWMG’s group manager, said: “I am delighted that Wipak UK Ltd is reaping the benefits of being a winner at the Powys Business Awards. Hopefully, their success story will encourage other businesses, charities and social enterprises across Powys to enter this year.

“The awards provide a fantastic platform for profile raising and highlighting the excellent standards being achieved by businesses.”

In addition to the awards already mentioned, this year’s categories are: Start up Business Award sponsored by EvaBuild, Entrepreneurship Award sponsored by MWMG, Micro Business Award (fewer than 10 employees) sponsored by Welshpool Printing Group, Growth Award sponsored by EDF Renewables, Social Enterprise/ Charity Award sponsored by Myrick Training Services, Small Business Growth Award sponsored by W. R. Partners, Technology and Innovation Award sponsored by CellPath and People Development Award sponsored by NPTC Group of Colleges.