IT'S been a tough year for business in Wales and across the UK - with multiple lockdowns meaning many have had to close their doors - some for good.

But that hasn't stopped some entrepreneurs from opening up new businesses in Gwent this year.

Here we highlight some of the exciting new ventures in Gwent which have started up in 2020.

Woky Ko, Newport

South Wales Argus:

Top Welsh chef Larkin Cen brought his signature Woky Ko dishes to Newport, Queensway Meadows, with the launch of a new delivery service.

Mr Cen was a Masterchef finalist in 2013 and since then his career has taken off – he ran a restaurant in the Celtic Manor Resort and has opened a series of restaurants in Bristol.

Woky Ko specialises in vibrant Asian cuisine, and Mr Cen's latest venture sees him bring those flavours to Newport.

The Green Kitchen, Newport

South Wales Argus:

An all-vegan bakery opened in Newport back in July

At the Green Kitchen, located on Cromwell Road, everything served is plant-based – where the food served is derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruits, with no animal products.

Some of the food on offer is toasties, pancakes, porridge bowls, salad bowls, bean burgers, stews, curries, pies, and cakes.

The Village Cakery, Griffithstown

South Wales Argus:

Lesley Balmer, 53, previously ran Country Cottage Cupcakes, baking treats for corporate clients and events, but found demand dried up after the pandemic hit, while Russell Watkins, 40, lost his job as a chef ahead of the initial lockdown.

The duo launched The Village Cakery, on Windsor Road in October.

Lily’s Cheesecakes, Newport

South Wales Argus:

Lily's Cheesecakes, in Newport's Chepstow Road, opened in August to no little fanfare – Ms Watkins had already built a loyal following on social media in her previous work, baking celebration cakes at home for delivery.

The business is a family affair, with Ms Watkins doing the baking and her mum, Gaynor, taking up the front-of-house responsibilities. Ms Watkins' niece, Macie Channing, is also part of the team.

Molly’s Cupcakery, Pontllanfraith

South Wales Argus:

Molly’s Cupcakery has been running for five years from owner Molly Curtis' home. But now the 24-year-old business owner has decided the time is right to move into a new building and open a shop.

The store opened in Bryn Lane, Pontllanfraith on Saturday, November 28.

Molly’s Cupcakery was previously voted as one of the Top 5 in our ‘Best Cakes in Gwent’ by our readers.

Bears Grill, Blackwood

South Wales Argus:

Bears Grill, located in the car park of The Majors pub in Blackwood, It is owned by Lee Thomas, 37, from Cefn Fforest and Rebecca Huxton helps with the running the business.

On offer at the van is dirty fries, burgers, a homemade cheese sauce, tandoori chicken, steak and much more.


Top Knosh Catering, Newport

South Wales Argus:

Ben Mathias, 36, of Ringland, has set up a private catering company – Top Knosh Catering – after the pandemic put his job at risk, forcing him to take action.

Top Knosh Catering involves a team of private chefs and offers hot and cold buffets, grazing platters, bespoke services and more, catering to events large or small.

Chef Read, Newport

South Wales Argus:

Vivienne Read, a former chef at the Celtic Manor Resort and head chef at the Golden Lion in Magor, used the time to begin selling cookies and other baked goods from home - and used the money to launch her own business, Chef Read.

The 26-year-old has started up with a bright pink catering van - which opened for business at the Market Site on Usk Way in Newport on September 1.

Dolce Vita, Cwmbran

South Wales Argus:

Dolce Vita Restaurant opened on Glyndwr Road on October 7 at the former site of Frankie and Benny's.

Owner Claudio Senestro said they hoped it would help "make Cwmbran a better place" by giving locals further options on where to eat out.

Anatolian, Monmouthshire

South Wales Argus:

A new Turkish restaurant five years in the making offering traditional Turkish cuisine - the food is prepared on a charcoal grill and diners can watch as the chefs cook.

Owner Hassan Saritaj bought the premises which is now named Anatolian, on Cross Street in Abergavenny, in 2015.

NP10 Boutique, Newport

South Wales Argus:

NP10 Boutique is a clothing and accessories store that has opened on Gaer Road, in Newport.

Owner, Clare O’Keeffe, has been able to expand her business since starting her shop online last year and soon realised that women wanted somewhere to shop for items that were different at a good price point.

Steak on the Square, Magor

South Wales Argus:

Steak on the Square, which is on The Square in Magor, is owned by Gareth Lee who also owns The Gate in Llanfrechfa and The Gate Deli, also on The Square in Magor.

The new venue is at the building formerly home to Magor Chinese Takeaway.

Pollinate Zero Waste, Risca

South Wales Argus:

Owner Clare Read, who, seeing a gap in the market for zero-waste and plastic-free products in the area, opened the Pollinate Zero Waste Store in Risca on Saturday, March 14 - but just a week later had to close the doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Mrs Read took this in stride, and continued trading online, allowing customers to get hold of zero-waste and plastic-free products either by delivery, or during dedicated collection hours.