Businesses from across the Gwent region and from all different sectors were honoured at the inaugural South Wales Argus Business Awards event held at the Newport Centre.

The awards were held in partnership with Newport Now Business Improvement District.

Matt Southall, founder and group managing director of Newport-based Acorn Group, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. And Industrial Automation and Control Ltd, which is based at Queensway Meadows, Newport, took home the Business of the Year award (sponsored by Newport Now) and the Training and Development Award, which was sponsored by Coleg Gwent.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns attended the awards ceremony and told the audience of business people that he would soon be announcing the date for the removal of the tolls over the Severn bridges.

He also said he would do 'anything and everything' he could to make the M4 Relief Road happen but said it was a matter for the Welsh Government to make the decision.

Guest speaker for the evening was Paralympic gold medal winning cyclist Mark Colbourne MBE, who is from Tredegar.

He gave a motivational and inspiring talk which culminated with a video of his gold medal winning ride at the London Paralympics in 2012, much to the delight of the audience.

The Monmouthshire Building Society, which is based in John Frost Square, Newport, took home the Large Business of the Year award, which was sponsored by Thomas Carrol Group.

The Family Business of the Year award, sponsored by MHA Broomfield Alexander, went to Tovey Bros Funeral Directors, which next year will be celebrating its 160th anniversary.

The title of Small Business of the Year went to The Pod, Newport. The award was sponsored by Kymin Financial Services.

The Escape Rooms Newport was presented with the award for Start Up Business of the Year, sponsored by St Joseph's Hospital.

Newport Now sponsored two awards purely for BID levy payers. The Best BID Independent was Kymin Financial Services, of Bridge Street, Newport, and the Best BID National was Specsavers, of Austin Friars, Newport.

Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by Johnsey Estate, went to Kelli Aspland and Laura Griffin, of Solar Buddies.

And Jonathan Hill, of Hi Coffee, was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year. This award was sponsored by Icon Creative Design.

Western Power Distribution sponsored the Innovative Business of the Year award, which was presented to Cintec International Ltd, based at Gold Tops, Newport.

The Customer Service Award went to Liverton Opticians, of Charles Street, Newport. The category sponsors were The Kingsway Centre and Friars Walk Shopping Centre.

Abersychan-based Purely Disposables won the Environmental Business of the Year Award, sponsored by the University of South Wales.

And the Contribution to the Community Award, sponsored by Monmouthshire Building Society, went to St David’s Hospice Care, which is based in Malpas, Newport.

South Wales Argus managing director Hussain Bayoomi thanked all the finalists and praised the judges, who he said had a very difficult task whittled down all the entries to just three in each category.

He said: "These awards are a great showcase for the great businesses we have in south east Wales. We are sure they will become the highlight of the local business calendar."