Specialist telecoms company Motion Rail is the Blaenau Gwent Business of the Year for 2020.

The business won the title for its innovative work in virtual reality technology to show youngsters how to stay safe on the railways.

Ebbw Vale-based Motion Rail won the top award as well as the Small Business of the Year prize in a virtual event recognising the achievements of the entrepreneurial individuals and SMEs based in Blaenau Gwent, an area which is part of Welsh Government’s £100 million, ten-year Tech Valleys programme.

Motion Rail was recently recognised in Wales’ annual Fast Growth 50, and its use of virtual reality to spread a rail safety message and promote STEM to youngsters has wonit a raft of national awards.

Founder and CEO Emma Dymond also won the 2020 Women in Rail Inspirational Women of the Year award.

She said: “We developed Motion Reality, the first virtual reality railway using gamification as part of our employee training strategy in collaboration with the University of South Wales. I quickly recognised the positive impact it had and worked with Network Rail to develop Motion Reality further to be able to take it into schools to educate children about the dangers of the railway - we were the only company to bring the railway to communities, providing a safe and real-life educational experience with a difference.

Welsh Government sponsored the Business of the Year award.

Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, said: “The Blaenau Gwent Business Awards are a great way to celebrate the success of individuals and companies in the region. This past year has been incredibly difficult, but during these tough days we’ve seen the resilience and diversity of firms shine through.

“These businesses are crucial to the region, and not only do they provide important jobs, they are part of the character and the community. I wish each and every business continued success now and in the future.”

Other winners were: Entrepreneur of the Year, Matthew Burkitt, of Candour Talent; Micro Business of the Year (one to 10 employees), The Pure Option; Manufacturing Business of the Year, Swan EMS; Excellence in Innovation & Technology, Radical Materials; Retail or Service Business of the Year, Audiology Associates; Social Enterprise or Community Business of the Year, Market Hall Cinema; Tourism and Hospitality Business of the Year, Aneurin Leisure .