Our start up award win and what it means

Our start up award win. What it means.

In June 2022, our business won the Business-to-Business StartUp of the Year award at StartUp Awards Wales.

We haven’t made a huge public fuss about this since (post-award drinks aside!), so I hope you’ll indulge me. I wanted to reflect on what it says about Welsh business, and about us.

Our business

Our business is Hexa Finance, based in Newport, Wales. We’re a small team, providing financing for other businesses, with a particular focus on the Welsh SME space.

Stuart Mason and I launched Hexa in 2020. We had many years of experience in financial services, and decided it was time to do our own thing – slap bang in the middle of lockdown and a global pandemic.

We’ve seen both sides of building a business – supporting others, and doing it ourselves. This gives us a special interest in the state of Welsh business. Which brings me to my first point …

The resilience of Welsh business

Economic doom and gloom is front-page news. First there was the unprecedented disruption of Covid. Now, it’s soaring energy prices, high inflation across the board, and serious cost-of-living worries. Only time will tell whether the latest mini-budget will give businesses the chance to grow. But in the short term at least, the pound is falling against the dollar and euro.  

You could be forgiven for thinking it’s barely worth starting a business now. And yet, everything about these awards is reason for hope. This isn’t just about Hexa.

A quick glance at the other nominees and winners was enough to confirm something inspiring: the incredible range of Welsh start-ups. There were brewers, design agencies, rum makers, software developers – even a luxury mobile toilet producer!

You couldn’t help but be impressed by the diversity and dynamism of it all. And of course, behind every business there are people – creative, hard-working people with a dream. If that’s not cause for hope, I don’t know what is!

What the award means personally

There’s no getting away from this: starting a business in lockdown was a risk. We were confident in ourselves and each other. We had plenty of professional experience. But still, the personal challenges are real.

For one, we were working from our homes, and balancing that with our families. Childcare, home schooling and running a start-up – these are privileges, but they’re not always easy!

An award is a moment of affirmation, especially for a start-up. You have to believe in yourself – but when someone else believes in you, it’s a huge boost.

What it means professionally

For any business, I’d recommend taking the time to apply for awards. The main reason is simple – to customers, just being nominated is proof that you know what you’re doing!

But also, the process of applying is genuinely engaging. You’re always thinking about how you’re performing, but putting it into words can help clarify that. And in this instance, the awards evening itself was vibrant, diverse and great fun – with plenty of scope for meeting other businesses.

What it shows about us

I hope I can be forgiven for a little self-promotion here. But I’m proud of our business, so here goes! We understand the challenges that Welsh SMEs go through because we’ve gone through them ourselves. 

There’s an almost overwhelming choice of options when it comes to financing. Our approach is to cut through all that and make it relatable. There are so many funding options available, but it’s so important to use the right type for the right reasons. That’s what we want to help people achieve.  We want to be part of a Welsh business community that can thrive. 

Winning the award shows that our own business is in good stead. And that’s because we live up to our promises  – to provide excellent service to every client, every time.

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