A dentail practice in Abergavenny has been name as a finalist in the Social Business Wales Awards.

Gateway Dental Practice in Abergavenny is shortlisted for the Employee Owned Business of the Year category.

The awards aim to recognise excellence within the social business sector in Wales. Entrants come from a range of social businesses but all demonstrate a dynamic, entrepreneurial and ambitious attitude and are driving the sector forward.

This year there are three headline categories – Wales Social Enterprise of the Year, Wales One to Watch, and, new to 2017, the Wales Employee Owned Business of the Year.

The Gateway Dental Practice became the first employee-owned NHS dental practice in Wales earlier this year, thanks to help it has received from the ERDF and Welsh Government funded, Social Business Wales project. Using a structure similar to the John Lewis Partnership, 100d per cent of the company’s shares are now owned by a trust on behalf of the employees.

All 17 staff members have an equal stake in the business, with the trust overseeing the practice to ensure that it’s run in their best interest.

Dr Hannah Hutchison, dentist and co-operative shareholder at the practice, said: “We have already felt an immediate impact within the practice, with all of us feeling much closer as a team. Having a real stake in the business allows us to put our clients and communities first – to go that extra mile for them and be able to shape services to meet their health and well-being needs. The reason we all came into dentistry in the first place.”

Derek Walker, chief executive at the Wales Co-operative Centre, the national body for social businesses and co-operatives, said: “Every year it seems to get more difficult to short list for these awards, the quality of the applications are a testament to all the good work that these businesses are doing. We know the social business sector is growing, our recent mapping exercise showed that the sector now employs approximately 40,800 people and is worth an estimated £2.37bn to the Welsh economy.

“These businesses are delivering vital services and creating jobs and economic opportunities across Wales. Looking at the applications there are some really inspirational businesses out there with real growth potential. We wish all our finalists the best of luck and look forward to seeing them at the awards”

Social Enterprises also had the opportunity to enter five other categories which are split by business types. The Tech for Good award is a new category for 2017 and recognises social businesses that use technology to improve the lives of people in Wales. Finalists in this category are: Promo Cymru and Book of You CIC.