Ellie Daniel, owner of the The Escape Rooms, Newport, was winner of the Start Up Business of the Year award in the inaugural South Wales Argus Business Awards last year.

Here Ellie tells of her bursting with pride at not only winning the one award but also at being nominated for another and being able to network, build new contacts and boost her bookings at the awards evening gala dinner in Newport city centre

Q: What did winning a South Wales Argus Business Award mean to you and/or your business?

Ellie Daniel: Winning the award as well as being among the nominees for Family Business of the Year meant the world to us. It showed recognition for all the hard work that had gone into getting us off the ground. It was a tough task to launch on a crowd-funded, shoe-string budget and to not only have the approval of our customer base but to be recognised by the business community was a real boost to us to feel like we really are taking off and going from strength to strength.

Q: Why would you encourage local businesses and individuals to enter the South Wales Argus Business Awards this year?

ED: Winning the award really put us on the map as the first business of our kind in Newport and certainly puts us in league with our competitors further afield in Bristol and Cardiff. We're lucky in that we are Newport's first and currently, only Escape Room business but for other businesses, winning an award like this can really help you stand out from your competitors. Not only that but the awards night itself was a fantastic opportunity to meet with other local business people and make new connections which, for us, lead to a boost in corporate bookings.

Q: How and why are awards such as these important in helping to raise the profile of Newport and Gwent businesses and individuals?

ED: I think it's very important for people, not just in business but in the wider community to see that there are many, innovative businesses working from Newport and that there's a thriving entrepreneurial scene. For other people, who are in a similar situation as we were, just a few years ago, thinking of setting up their own company, it’s great to see that you really can set up a business, from scratch, and succeed with the support and backing from the wider business scene, Newport City Council and the local community as a whole.

Entries are open for the 2019 South Wales Argus Business Awards, which are being held in association with Newport Now Business Improvement District, until September 13. To see the full list of categories and sponsors, and to enter go to newsquestevents.co.uk/business-awards/.