THE CEO of a Pembrokeshire company has been named as an entrepreneur of the year.

Darren Briggs, CEO and founder of Ascona Group was given the Wales Scale-Up Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2023.

The award was given for Darren’s leadership at Ascona during the group’s redevelopment programme across the portfolio of sites. Darren’s team made significant investments in Wales over the last 12 months, keeping with Ascona’s strategy to evolve unlove forecourts and transform them into vibrant, world class roadside retail destinations.

The Pembroke Dock-based group has 62 sites across the UK which they have added to their portfolio since their 2011 founding.

The judges at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2023 were thoroughly impressed with Ascona Group and the hard work Darren and his team have put in over the years, noting their ‘remarkable ability to transform neglected assets into thriving retail destinations’ which left a lasting impression on the panel. Ascona was also commended for its growth trajectory and forward-looking vision for the future.

Darren said: “I am thrilled to be awarded the Scale-Up Entrepreneur of the Year Award for our work in transforming unloved forecourts in Wales into some of the best retail destinations in the country.

“As always, my thanks must go to everyone at Ascona. This is not an individual achievement but a reflection of the whole team’s unwavering commitment to delivering excellence in everything that we do.

“This is a proud moment for all of us at Ascona and the award reflects the success of our transformative redevelopment programme and we look forward to delivering on some exciting projects in 2024 and beyond.”

This year, Ascona Group’s annual run rate revenues were in excess of £300m and operational EBITDA of £25m.

The Allica Bank Great British Entrepreneur Awards received over 5,000 applications this year alone and is recognised annually as one of the most prestigious accolades in the entrepreneurial world.

Francesca James, founder of the awards, said: “I am thrilled to witness the extraordinary achievements of this year’s winners. Their success stories are a testament to the dynamic and innovative spirit that thrives within UK entrepreneurship. These inspiring entrepreneurs embody the creativity, determination, and passion that are at the heart of our nation’s business success. Their accomplishments not only celebrate their own journeys but also light the way for future generations of innovators and business leaders.”

Richard Davies, CEO of Allica Bank, said: “It has been a real honour to sponsor this year’s GBEA awards. Hearing the inspiring stories from this year’s winners really brings to life the important contribution British entrepreneurs make to our economy.

“At Allica, we couldn’t be more excited to see such a talented group of individuals making their mark in the business world and we’ll be keeping a close eye on what they do next.”