It's that time of year again when we host the South Wales Argus Business Awards in association with our lead sponsor Newport Now Business Improvement District.

This year there are a total of 17 categories, including two specifically for BID levy payers, Business of the Year and Lifetime Achiement.

Here we meet some of the awards sponsors:

Small Business of the Year Award

Kymin Financial Planners

Award-winning Newport-based financial planning and advice firm Kymin Financial Services is continuing its support for the awards by renewing its sponsorship of the Small Business of the Year category.

Founded in 1993 in Monmouth and based in Bridge Street, Newport since 2002, Kymin employs a team of eight financial planners along with six para planners and support staff.

Kymin managing director Robin Hall said: “We are proud to be a sponsor in this year’s awards. It is extremely important to encourage and help small businesses to thrive as they are the backbone of the UK economy.

“Being a small business ourselves we recognise the hard work, commitment and determination it takes to build a business into a successful enterprise.

“We have more than 25 years of experience dealing with small business owners and entrepreneurs and over this time we have seen many of these companies grow with us.

“It is important for businesses and individuals to enter awards such as this. Obviously, it can be seen as a celebration of what you and your business has achieved but not only that it can raise your profile and provide great publicity for the firm.

“This can help set your business against your competitors. Every type of business is extremely competitive these days and in order to thrive it is important to try and differentiate yourself against the competition.

“Kymin constantly strives to support the local economy by employing local people and using as many local suppliers as we can in the day to day running of the company. We get involved in the local community and charitable events as often as we can. We felt by supporting these awards we are again putting something back into the city of Newport.

“We look forward to seeing and judging all the entrants. We wish everyone who has entered the very best of luck and to meeting all of those involved at the awards ceremony.”

Start Up Business of the Year


Admiral offers car, van, household and travel insurance in the UK and the group includes, a leading price comparison website.

Outside the UK, Admiral owns four insurance and several price comparison businesses.

The business has offices in Newport, Cardiff and Swansea. The Newport office opened in 2008 and in 2014 it moved to a new building in the city centre which is the base for more than 1,100 members of staff.

Admiral has a presence in nine countries but is proud to still have its headquarters in south Wales.

Admiral is one of the largest employers in the region, employing more than 11,000 worldwide, with almost 7,500 based across South Wales.

A spokesperson for the company said: "Sponsoring the Start Up Business of the Year award is a great way to recognise and celebrate the success of a flourishing business in Gwent.

"Celebrating the amazing achievements of local businesses and rewarding their success ensures that leading local businesses get the recognition they deserve for both themselves and their staff.

"Recognition is a great way for businesses and individuals to celebrate their achievements while at the same time raising their profile in the community.

"The local communities that surround our offices are really important to us and we hope to have a positive impact on them. It’s fantastic to have an opportunity to sponsor a category at these awards and celebrate the achievements of truly remarkable people and businesses who help make our community a better place."

Admiral works hard to be a great workplace for its employees. It has won several awards over the years for being a great employer, and in 2019 was particularly proud to have been named the Sunday Times Best Big Company to Work For in the UK.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Cintec International

Newport-based Cintec International is a globally recognised leader in engineering research and development.

It merges creative thinking with solid engineering principles and has solved thousands of client problems all over the world.

The business, which has its head quarters in Gold Tops has between 25 to 50 people on its team across the world.

Peter James, of Cintec, said: "Having started a business on my own I understand the many challenges you face when building a company in order to achieve success.

"This award honours the contributions over the whole of a person’s career and I am proud to show my support to the winner of the award who will undoubtedly have made some outstanding achievements to their own business, as well as our local community.

"Awards are so important for businesses as they help promote budding businesses and give them the recognition for their hard work that they deserve. Starting up your own company successfully is a massive accomplishment and it deserves to be celebrated.

"Being recognised at such a prestigious awards ceremony is a great achievement. It shows businesses how they are taking a step in the right direction. It also provides a perfect environment to network with like-minded people.

"We’ve won a lot of awards which mean an awful lot to us. For example, we have won an international award for the repair work we have done on the Egyptian pyramids. We are proud to raise the flag for not only Cintec, but Newport too – it puts us on the map and shows everybody we’re here and what we are achieving."

Innovative Business of the Year Award

Western Power Distribution

WESTERN Power Distribution strongly believes awards are an excellent way to celebrate success, innovation and talent in business.

WPD is the electricity distribution network operator for South Wales, the South West of England and the Midlands.

The power distribution firm has several offices and depots across its regions. In Wales WPD is located in Cwmbran, Brecon, Cardiff, Church Village, Swansea, Haverfordwest and Carmarthen.

WPD employs a total of some 6,500 people across all its regions. Around 1,000 staff are based in Wales.

Karen Welch, of WPD, said: “We believe the awards are a fitting way to recognise businesses and to celebrate their success, innovation and talent.

“The awards are an ideal way for businesses and individuals to promote themselves, raising their profiles by showcasing their talents. The awards also provide an opportunity for entrants to measure themselves against similar businesses.

“Winning an award or being nominated enhances reputation and raises profile. It may encourage others to want to use an award winner’s service which in turn could have a positive effect on future profitability and stability.

“We believe it is the responsibility of large organisations like ours to play a full and active role in the communities served by us. The awards are a positive showcase for businesses who aspire to be the best at what they do by highlighting their achievements.”

WPD is no stranger to winning awards itself.

“WPD is Ofgem’s leading performer in its annual customer satisfaction measurement – a position it has held for the last seven years.

“WPD is regulated by Ofgem (the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets) and has held the Government’s Charter Mark, now known as the Customer Service Excellence award since 1992 – the only utility to have done so. Our success is intrinsically linked with our customer service ethos of getting it right, ‘first time, every time’.

“WPD also holds the national Action on Hearing Loss (AOHL) Louder than Words Charter Mark. WPD was also awarded an Ambassador Award at the AOHL Excellence awards and in addition was awarded Business of the Year award at the Arts Business Cymru Awards

Family Business of the Year Award


Baldwins is one of the fastest growing accountancy practices in the UK, employing 160 staff and based in Newport, Cardiff, Swansea, Monmouth and Aberdare.

A spokesperson for the firm said: "We are proud to be sponsoring the family business award because we understand the important role they play in our economy.

"Each family business is unique, whether run by siblings, husband and wife teams or by multi-generations, and we understand the challenges and pressures they face.

"We have vast experience with family businesses and help our clients manage current issues and build a successful framework for the future, providing them with advice and information specific to their needs.

"There are clear benefits to be had by entering yourself or your business into an awards category. Aside from it being a celebration of achievement and ensuring staff receive recognition for a job well done, it’s a great way of helping you to benchmark yourself or your business against competitors.

"Awards also provide a great opportunity to network with peers and, in cases where they are judged by leaders in the industry, there can be the additional bonus of being able to discuss ideas with them.

"Recognition at an awards ceremony is an amplification of all of the above and, for staff morale, is the icing on the cake. It can help attract new talent to a business and helps to increase a sense of trust and credibility, both among clients and the wider industry.

"Baldwins believes passionately in not only recognising and celebrating excellence, but in supporting local businesses to be the best they can.

"Who doesn’t like a pat on the back and independent confirmation that you are a leader in your industry? It doesn’t matter how old or how successful we or our businesses become, recognition of a special achievement is always welcome."

Young Entrepreneur Award

Icon Creative Design

LEADING Wales branding and marketing guru Androulla Webb is celebrating more than 20 years of personal success by supporting a South Wales Argus Business Awards 2019 that is close to her heart.

Androulla, owner and creative director of Icon Creative Design an illustrious past winner of the Gwent Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, has seen her business grow over the past twenty years. From being based on Stow Hill in the centre of Newport Androulla now employs a team of eight designers and project managers in a restored chapel in Bassaleg, on the outskirts of Newport.

The full-service branding and marketing agency works with clients in the arts, education, sports and regeneration sectors. In 2019 the business backed The Westfield Health British Transplant Games, becoming the creative partner for the UK wide charity.

Icon Creative Design is Young Entrepreneurs category sponsor of the South Wales Argus Business Awards 2019.

Androulla said: “We are proud to be based in Newport and have worked on some great projects - creating many of the iconic images for the city including the city dressing for the 2010 Ryder Cup, marketing to support Newport Unlimited’s regeneration master plan, branding of the first Newport Food Festival plus brand creation and marketing campaigns for Friars Walk retail and leisure development in the city.

"2019 has been very productive; we are proud to be the ongoing partner for The British Transplant Games as well as extending a new client base with Newcastle University, Kings College London as well as ONS among others."

Creative Director, Androulla who maintains a hands on role within the company, said: "When Icon was first established my focus was purely on delivering exceptional graphic design; as the nature of the business has grown and customer’s expectations have evolved so too has the company’s repertoire of skills.

"I initially started out on my own working freelance with agencies in Cardiff and progressed to developing my own clients including the WDA, CADW and the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

“Many of our clients are now looking for a company to be a one stop shop, managing their portfolio of marketing requirements from shaping initial research ideas and creatives, organising photo shoots, digital campaigns, event delivery and evaluative feedback to name but a few.’

“Starting your own business can be challenging but very rewarding. The South Wales Business Awards are a great way to raise your profile and get your story heard. It is also a fantastic marketing opportunity as the Business Argus reaches a wide audience across south east Wales

"Taking control of my destiny has definitely worked for me and I wanted to encourage other entrepreneurs to do the same. I work in a fantastic office surrounded by my best friends, creating amazing work, for inspiring clients, need I say more!"

Customer Service Award

Kingsway Centre (joint sponsor)

Kingsway Centre, right in the heart of Newport, directly employs more than 15 staff from cleaners, security, administration and management.

The centre supports the employment of more than 300 people in the local area via its tenants such as Wilco’s, Peacocks, Pure Gym and Boswells as well as contractual partners from marketing, print, entertainers, builders, electricians to name but a few!

Colin Rees, operations manager for Kingsway Centre, said: "Face to face interaction, smooth and prompt service, an offer to go that extra mile, all create a positive impact on visitors to Kingsway Centre while building upon the reputation of Newport as a welcoming place to visit.

"Sponsoring the customer service award acknowledges the value and importance that this element of care has while at the same time crediting the hard work that staff put in day in day out.

"Sharing good news is positive; although we consider excellent service as the norm, sometimes there are occasions when staff go above and beyond. An award is a great acknowledgement, a nod to a particular person or people who have real impact on how we perceive customer service.

"Building up a reputation can take a lot of time and effort; these awards can help profile both a given organisation as well as an individual. It’s also an opportunity for managers to praise and recognise the value of an employee or even a team of staff in an official capacity

"Newport is a dynamic city and most importantly the city centre is the hub of this. Local businesses are the backbone to a vibrant economy and it’s important that we recognise and support positive news stories. Without great people, without kind people our Newport high streets and commercial centres would decline.

"We are excited to be collecting an award in London in November, the details of which we can’t reveal yet. Needless to say, our staff are really pleased and it’s confirmation that as an organisation we’re leading the way in delivering top notch services for our tenants at Kingsway."

Digital Tech Business of the Year

Newport City Council

Newport City Council is demonstrating its long-standing support for business in the city by sponsoring a key award.

The council, which employs some 6,500 people in the city, is sponsoring the Digital Tech Business of the Year category.

The council sponsored the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018

Councillor Debbie Wilcox has been the leader of the city council for more than three years and will soon be taking a seat in the House of Lords as a working peer.

She said: "I’m delighted that the council is again able to sponsor one of the awards and I would like to thank the South Wales Argus for providing this wonderful opportunity to highlight our great local businesses.

“We chose this award because Newport is rapidly establishing itself as a digital hub.

"As well as existing businesses such as SPTS and Next Generation Data, the city is also home to emerging and developing companies such as compound semi-conductor foundry IQE – co-located with the CSC Catapult and acting as the core of the regional CSC cluster - and SME start-ups.

“We also proud to have Cardiff University’s National Software Academy and USW’s National Cyber Security Academy right here in Newport. Our regeneration efforts also include a focus on supporting tech businesses.

“Technology is about breaking barriers and embracing change in a fast-moving world. It is exciting to be at the heart of such a modern industry so it seemed fitting to back this award.

“It is important to recognise all local businesses, both large and small, as they are vital to the continued growth and success of the city – providing employment, training opportunities and boosting the economy.

"We provide a range of support for businesses, both practical and financial, through our business support team and backing these awards is another way of showing that support.

“Why should businesses/individuals enter these awards? It will help to raise awareness of who they are and what they do. In Newport, for example, the breadth and depth of our businesses – from individual independent traders to global companies employing thousands of people – is astonishing and it is great to have that spotlighted.

“It means we can show our appreciation to the employers and their fantastic workforces. While not all can take home a South Wales Argus business award, they are all winners to me.”

Large Business of the Year


RDP is a leading Legal 500 listed law firm, employing 28 people at its base in Langstone, Newport.

Its team of specialist solicitors provides expert advice within a broad range of both commercial and private legal practice areas including real estate, corporate, general commercial, data, intellectual property, family, wealth management agriculture and dispute resolution.

Its client base is wide and varied but has one thing in common; each client expects us to always be on hand, to offer comprehensive, pragmatic legal advice and to help them and their business interests to grow and to prosper.

We are RDP. Big enough to trust. Small enough to care.

A spokesperson said: "We are delighted to contribute to an event, and in particular to the category of Large Business of the Year, that does so much to showcase the fantastic businesses and individuals that are helping to drive forward business within south east Wales.

"Showcasing and celebrating local businesses and their work is paramount to the development of the local economy.

"Business awards are an incredible way of highlighting the hard work a team or an individual has invested throughout the year and really helps to celebrate success – internally and externally. It’s also great promotion!

"There are many great businesses in Newport and south east Wales, and we are thrilled to be celebrating the best of the best. Newport is on the up and we want to be shouting about that.

"One of the most significant accolades we’ve had in recent years was being granted entry into The Legal 500, which lists the leading 500 law firms in the UK (of which there are 10,726). It was a great moment for the firm, which had worked for years to win that accolade and a real vindication and boost for the team, who could see all that hard work being rewarded by recognition from the wider industry."