Gwent-based Watkins and Gunn Solicitors is celebrating after scooping an award at the Wales Business Awards 2022.

The company, which has offices in Pontypool, Newport and Cardiff, took home the Diversity and Inclusion Award at the ceremony, hosted by Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, held at St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff.

Judges hailed Watkins and Gunn’s diversity and inclusion strategy as ‘very impressive’ and said that ‘this is a business that walks the talk on equality, diversity and inclusion engagement. They've clearly spent a lot of time thinking through what they need to do and implementing processes so they can really make a difference.’

Judges also wanted to give a special mention to the passion of the individuals they spoke to across all the shortlisted businesses: The British Bird of Prey Centre, CatSci Lts and Enbarr Foundation CIC, who ‘harness the passion to drive a more inclusive culture in business and the wider community.’

Clive Thomas, managing director at Watkins and Gunn Solicitors, said: “We are delighted to have won this very auspicious cross sector award in such an important category. It serves to validate all the work we have done around promoting, educating and engaging with our staff and clients on a range of diversity and inclusion matters. Our work does not stop here; being inclusive is one of our core values which we seek to live as a firm.”

Now in its 19th year, the awards provide SME businesses across the country with the opportunity to compete for Wales’ most prestigious accolades.

More than 180 entries from businesses from across Wales were whittled down to 10 winners across the 10 categories, plus an over all Wales Business of the Year, which went to Rhondda Cynon Taff based Penderyn Distillery.

Other winners on the night included Wales Interactive, Makefast Ltd, Drop Bear Beer Co, Purolite, Catsci Ltd, EverTrek, Aspen Waite in Wales Limited, City Hospice, and Joelle Drummond of Drop Bear Beer Co, who took home the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Paul Slevin, president of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said: “What a night for Welsh business. There was such a buzz in the room, and it was great to see so many businesses celebrating their success and all they have done to support the Welsh economy.

“The judges had an incredibly tough time deciding on the winners for each of the categories, which just goes to show the quality of the entrants this year.

“We wanted to do things a bit differently this year, and to crown our very worthy winners at St Fagans, Wales’ most popular heritage attraction, was truly special. The event wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the support of our sponsors, to whom we’re extremely grateful.”