An ex-police officer who gave up her career to focus on her family has been named the overall winner of this year’s Caerphilly Business Forum Awards.
Alex Jones, 35, was crowned the Premier Award winner at the ceremony on Friday, November 17, at Llechwen Hall, and was also named Business Woman of the Year.
This year she is celebrating five years being in business since starting her first company Ty Coffee in Oakdale.
Her current company, Coffee 37 is based in Ystrad Mynach and is a coffee shop and caterers. Despite launching in 2014, the company now provides catering to around 40 firms in the Caerphilly, RCT and Cardiff areas and has just signed a deal to supply cupcakes to food wholesaler Castell Howell.
Thanking her 17 staff members, Alex said she was in a state of shock at winning.
The mother-of-two said: “I genuinely never thought I would win. I thought I was like Ann Widdecombe on Strictly Come Dancing – the joke contestant. I was expecting Anton du Beke to meet me.”
All of Alex’s 17 staff were unemployed before joining Coffee 37 and staff development is key for the business with several taking various qualifications to upskill.
In addition to her staff, Alex also thanked her husband Mike, who has also recently left the police force to become her business partner, her father Stuart and Brian Jones of Castell Howell for his business advice.
The 2017 Business Forum Awards, hosted by BBC presenter Jamie Owen, were the largest in its 16-year history and are now widely recognised as one of Wales’ most established and prestigious business accolades.
With a 44% increase in the number of entries this year versus those received in 2016, this year’s awards celebrated and recognised those businesses and individuals making the greatest contribution to the region – as well as the wider South Wales economy.
Denise Lovering, Chair of Caerphilly Business Forum, said: “The 2017 Caerphilly Business Forum Awards has highlighted just how essential businesses are to Caerphilly and wider regions.
“This year has proven to be a complex year in terms of international trade, politics, and even infrastructure. Despite this, business in Caerphilly has thrived – demonstrated by both the volume and calibre of entries received this year.
“The awards attracted the highest number of applications and attendants in the history of the event. The business community in Caerphilly is becoming increasingly vibrant – due in no small part to the herculean efforts of its business community. From businesses addressing more rural needs, to national and multinational organisations, Caerphilly is truly one of the best places in the UK to do business.”
The winners of the 2017 Caerphilly Business Forum Awards are:
• Premier Award – sponsored by Broomfield and Alexander: Alex Jones – Coffee 37.
• Apprentice of the Year – sponsored by City and Guilds: Brandon Griffiths – GE Aviation Wales.
• Business Woman of the Year – sponsored by Glenside Commercials: Alex Jones – Coffee 37.
• Creative and Digital Business of the Year: Big Lemon Creative.
• Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by Coleg y Cymoedd: Lewis Peach – Peak Performance Fitness Solutions.
• Large Business of the Year (over 50 employees) – sponsored by Educ8: Thomas Carroll Group.
• Contribution to the Rural Economy – sponsored by Cwm a Mynydd: The Living Room Yr Ystafell fyw.
• Small Business of the Year (under 49 employees) – sponsored by Caerphilly County Borough Council: J R Gilbert Engineering.
• Start-Up Business of the Year – sponsored by BBI Solutions : Volare Italian Restaurant.
• Welsh ICE Business of the Year Award – sponsored by Welsh ICE : Wize Virtual Admin.
• Highly Commended: Megan Hession of Montana Healthcare; WRI Group; Julie Waters of Thomas Carroll; and Mountain Celebrations.