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 more of the awards sponsors:

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.

Charlotte Turner, marketing manager, 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.”

Contribution to the Community Award

Monmouthshire Building Society

Monmouthshire Building Society is a financial services provider with more than 150 years of history, supporting many people throughout Gwent and beyond.

The society, which has its head office in Friars Walk, Newport, provides savings and mortgages for both personal and businesses, plus a host of extra products, including, home insurance and funeral planning.

The business employs 198 people across its network of branches.

Laura Harvey, of Monmouthshire Building Society, said: “The society feels strongly about supporting local initiatives, and is pleased to be involved with the community award this year.

“Supporting the communities around our heartlands is so important for us, and we are looking forward to congratulating the winner.

“These kinds of awards are important for businesses and individuals as everyone is so busy day to day that we often forget to take time to celebrate the great work being done.

“These awards are a fantastic way to celebrate everything that is great about the businesses and individuals working in and around Gwent.

“Recognition helps businesses attract and retain talent as well as raising brand awareness. For an individual to win, it is a great confidence boost and fantastic recognition amongst peers.

“We believe it’s important for businesses and organisations, such as ourselves, to sponsor and support local businesses in this way. It can often be tough in the business world so it’s great to be able to show our support in this way. All businesses need to help each other to get on in this ever increasingly competitive world.

“Winning an award, if nothing else, gives the feel-good factor to be recognised. It is also a great opportunity to network at these types of events.

"Being the winner of the Large Business of the Year at the 2018 business awards was a fantastic achievement for the society. It was great to be recognised by the judging panel, made up of other businesses based in and around Gwent. Both our colleagues and members were delighted with the win. It gave the society a good news story to promote which is always a bonus to raise further brand awareness."

Customer Service Award

Friars Walk (joint sponsor)

Who are you and what do you do?

Simon Pullen, centre director at Friars Walk, Newport, said: "We employ a team of 25 to manage Friars Walk, five in the management team and the rest is made up of cleaning staff, security staff, maintenance operatives and environmental operatives.

"From my perspective, with how the market is and with there being so many different avenues for people to purchase their products, it is a real privilege to reward and recognise those that go above and beyond.

"One of the things I will be looking out for is how seriously businesses and individuals take good customer service. Beyond that, I want to see how a business or employee is going above to deliver not just good, but excellent customer service. When we did the awards judging last year, I was seeing businesses and employees doing far more than was being expected and I came away incredibly impressed.

"More than anything, these awards should be a motivating factor for any individual that works in customer service.

"It gives each and every one of us something to strive towards in our daily working life and with how important customer service is in business, being in a position to point to awards is a great commodity.

"We should all endeavour to be best in class and to achieve that in front of your fellow colleagues and peers is a very special feeling.

"For any business, strong, positive, recognition is important and is often the point of difference when it comes to selling its product to a deciding customer.

"If a business is recognised for its service and its quality, it naturally gives it an advantage in the market over its competitors.

"Being able to say that your customer service has been recognised as best in class is a big thing. Away from the customer, as I mentioned in my last answer, people always need something to strive towards and work for and it can be a real motivation factor.

"I’m a firm believer in the local community and we should all want the best for each other, no matter what facet that falls under.

For me personally, I want to see each and every business thrive and achieve success, regardless of size, type, profile or prominence. What’s great, particularly about this award, is that everyone has an equal chance of winning it and showcasing how they are going above and beyond to deliver the best customer service. It’s a pleasure to be part of that process.

"Every business wants to shout about the great things they are achieving, both internally and externally, and this is no different. Being shortlisted in these categories is a fantastic achievement and is something to be proud of. For businesses and colleagues, it generates a sense of pride and when you are working so hard and putting in so many hours, that recognition is important. In terms of the PR and awareness, there is a huge amount of long-term benefits that come with these awards too.

"A number of companies I have worked for over the years have won a number of local, regional and national awards and they all mean a great deal. They give everyone a boost and a feel-good factor that you have ‘beaten’ sometimes friends and competitors to the prize. It also allows you to promote this and is a differentiator when people are choosing a company to use."

Best Business to Work For Award

Johnson & Phillips

Johnson & Phillips is one of the UK’s fastest growing power engineering companies specialsing in both power quality and traditional electrical engineering to 33kV. HV/LV maintenance and servicing.

It is a manufacturer of LV panels and bespoke transformers, our expertise power factor and harmonics is second to none.

Originally established in London late 19th century Johnson & Phillips has changed hands several times moving from the capital to Midlands and finally South Wales.

Most recently we have moved to a 40,000 sq ft manufacturing facility on the outskirts of Newport city centre.

A spokesman said: "Our location choice was strategic, allowing M4/M5 access we can reach 97 per cent of our UK customers within two hours.

"At our Newport branch we are team of 20 including skilled engineers, technical support, business development, H&S and a rock solid administration department.

"Johnson & Phillips have chosen this award as we recognise it takes a lot of hard work and energy to create a great place to work. It starts at the top with a vision, then you build a culture and everyone buys in. We are lucky to have charismatic owners of our own who are so passionate about the business its infectious.

"It’s important that recognition is given to employers who are striving to go the extra mile for their employees. I believe it sends the right message to everyone, who wouldn’t want to work at great place where your efforts are both acknowledged and appreciated. The best places tend to attract the best workers.

"For some business I think it can really help put them on the map regarding their products and services. For others the acknowledgement that they’re doing the right thing, an endorsement if you like.

"Johnson & Philips have a fantastic relationship with the South Wales Argus, we’ve enjoyed working with them. J&P believe its good to give back and support other local companies and their endeavours. Business can be both rewarding and challenging, by hosting awards like these it helps raise the profile of everyone involved.

"We’re probably one of Wales best kept secrets, J&P works with the BBC, NHS, Canary Wharf, Kellogg’s, and BP. Who knows what the future holds for potential awards?"