Published November 22, 2021

Resilience and Innovation – How an In-Person Engagement Business Survived and Thrived in the Pandemic.


Last week saw the winners of the South Wales Argus Business Awards revealed. Inspired Business Media, a B2B media and engagement business based in Newport, were delighted to be awarded the accolade of “Most innovative Business”, as well as being crowned the overall “Business of the Year” at the South Wales Argus Business Awards 2020/21.

Businesses, organisations and individuals representing the best of the business sector in Gwent were shortlisted for 14 categories, which ranged from Best Place to Work to Young Entrepreneur of the Year. The virtual ceremony was hosted by educationalist and leading business figure Professor Jonathon Deacon, of the University of South Wales, who was joined by South Wales Argus managing director Hussain Bayoomi and editor Gavin Thompson.

For the team at Inspired Business Media, both of these awards represented nearly 2 years of risk, perseverance and dedication. For an in-person event organiser, the news of the pandemic was devastating. Founder and CEO Leigh Khan Hussain said:

“We were scared- of course, we were. Our entire business model was based on bringing people together, and suddenly we couldn’t do that anymore. We knew we had to adapt quickly to survive, so that’s what we did”.

The business quickly pivoted to a virtual platform, utilising digital technologies that also enabled them to develop and grow networks in new geographies and markets across Europe and North America. The expertise of the leadership team, Pramel Shah, Rhys Hussain and Richard Blackwell, offer a combined industry experience of almost 50 years and were essential to the successful development of this new revenue stream.

It was this experience, coupled with the sheer determination from the entire team, that resulted in a truly remarkable achievement of £1.5m in new sales revenue.

“Resilience and innovation- that’s how we did it” said co-founder and company chairman Jason Awatar, who is not a stranger to facing adversity due to his disabilities after suffering a major stroke in 2017. Being awarded “Innovative Business of the year” is also particularly poignant as Awatar goes on to say “our business is built upon creating engagement and networking opportunities for some of the most innovative companies in the world, and being recognised as a company who is also innovating to deliver a great product is truly humbling”.

So, what’s next on the agenda for Inspired Business Media?

“As we move into 2022, we look to offer a further 10-20 local jobs, however, the competition for talent is high at present so we’re hoping that this positive news can make the difference for our business.” Says Jason Awatar.

Leigh Khan Hussain continues “We are over the moon that we can now bring people back together in person and do what we do best. We are also in the final stages of developing our own immersive events platform which is incredibly exciting for us and the industry- watch this space!”.

With the 2022 calendar already offering a range of platforms, geographies and verticals from Inspired Business Media, the sky’s the limit for this team, and there are very exciting times ahead indeed.

Abi Labaton

Head of Content and Engagement

Inspired Business Media