A top UK banker with a responsibility for nurturing entrepreneurial talent has been named as the guest speaker at this year's South Wales Argus Business Awards dinner.

Gordon Merrylees is managing director, entrepreneurship, for Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest & Ulster bank. His role sees him also act as an advisor to SME initiatives to support entrepreneurs.

NatWest is sponsoring the guest speaker at the awards, which are being held in association with Newport Now Business Improvement District.

Mr Merrylees said: “I’m delighted to be attending this year’s South Wales Argus Business Awards in Newport. The awards are an important opportunity to recognise the outstanding contributions and achievements of businesses in Gwent across multiple sectors.

"The region is home to a strong entrepreneurial spirit, which is why it plays such an important role in the success of the Welsh economy, contributing more than £10bn to Wales’ GDP.

“NatWest is proud to support more than 5,000 businesses throughout Newport and the surrounding region. We are passionate about ensuring SMEs and entrepreneurs get the tailored support, access to networks and funding they need to start, scale and succeed.

"That is why we are delighted to also be working with the South Wales Argus in launching a satellite version of our successful Pre-Accelerator programme for local entrepreneurs to help them get their ideas off the ground. We wish all of the entries in this year’s awards the very best of luck and I look forward to meeting you all on the night.”

The 2019 South Wales Argus Business Awards is open for entries.


New for this year are categories including Hospitality Business of the Year, Digital Tech Business of the Year and Best Place to Work.

There is also a new website dedicated to the awards with all the details for each of the 17 categories and how to enter online at


A number of new sponsors have stepped up this year to take a category.

These include power firm Johnson and Phillips, Admiral Group, RDP Law and Cintec International, which last year took home the prize for Innovative Business of the Year.

South Wales Argus business editor Jo Barnes said: “Last year’s inaugural awards were a huge success and we were very pleased with the amount of businesses, both large and small, from across our region which entered.

“It is amazing to see the different businesses we have in south east Wales and we are keen to blow the trumpet for the business sector in the area.

“We couldn’t run the awards without the support of our sponsors and we are pleased that most the of the categories have already been snapped up for this year’s awards.”

Sponsors also include Western Power Distribution, Icon Creative Design, Baldwins, Kymin, Newport City Council, Monmouthshire Building Society, Friars Walk and the Kingsway Centre.

The other categories are: Business of the Year; Innovative Business of the Year; Environmental Business of the Year; Young Entrepreneur of the Year; Lifetime Achievement; Family Business of the Year; Large Business of the Year; Small Business of the Year; Start Up Business of the Year; Contribution to the Community; Customer Service; Training and Enterprise Business of the Year; Best BID Independent Business of the Year; and Best BID National Business of the Year.

Anyone interested in tickets or sponsoring a category, the programme, drinks reception or table centres should contact Matthew Wall on 01633 777043.

Entries close on Friday, September 13, 2019, with the awards ceremony taking place at the Newport Centre on Thursday, November 14, 2019.