Entrepreneurs from across Wales and the south west of England came together in Cardiff last night (Thursday) to celebrate their success at the penultimate regional gala final of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

Now in its sixth year, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards celebrates the hard work and inspiring stories of entrepreneurs in the UK.

The duo of Samantha Evans and Shauna Guinn, founders of Hang Fire Southern Kitchen, took the night’s top prize, being named Great British Entrepreneur of the Year for the region.

The pair launched their restaurant in Barry in South Wales in 2016 after finding inspiration during a trip through the ‘Deep South’ of the US where they met Aaron Franklin, a chef revered for his cooking of brisket. Just two years on, Hang Fire is regularly fully booked months in advance and recently won Best Restaurant at the OFM Awards, described as the BAFTAs of the food industry.

Francesca James, co-founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, said: “To have only launched in 2016, and already be one of Wales’ most popular restaurants, is a huge testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and dedication Sam and Shauna have shown.

“Their passion for what they do is easy for everyone to see, and it’s clear that passion has been a real driving force behind the business’ growth.”

Winners were crowned across 12 categories in total including Family Business, Entrepreneurs’ Champion and Entrepreneurial Spirit.

Francesca added: “2018 has been a record year for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards in the number of entries we received. But the quality of applications has been above and beyond what we’ve seen in previous years.

“Just getting to the gala final as a finalist is a huge achievement given the competition on show, so to walk away with a trophy in your hand deserves huge congratulations.”

Full list of winners:

Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the Year | Grant Mansfield, Plimsoll ProductionsEntrepreneur for Good Award | Stephanie Wheen, GympanzeesEntrepreneurial Spirit Award | Peter Kelly & Kieron Yeoman, ImployableEntrepreneurs’ Champion of the Year | Jamie McGowan, Welsh ICEEntrepreneurs’ Team of the Year | Lee Powell & Faith Olding, Apollo Teaching ServicesFamily Business Entrepreneur of the Year | Dom & Ali Beaven, PrezolaInnovation Entrepreneur of the Year | Leila Francis Coleman & Tom Whelan, AquaPhysicalScale-Up Entrepreneur of the Year | Alex Lovén, Net World SportsService Industries Entrepreneur of the Year | Mick Lindsay, MoceanSmall Business Entrepreneur of the Year | Daniel Manley & Heleen Lamm, Big Blue AdventuresStart-Up Entrepreneur of the Year | Ieuan Rosser, Freight Logistic SolutionsYoung Entrepreneur of the Year | Chris Rundle, GK Signs & ScreenprintGreat British Entrepreneur of the Year | Shauna Guinn & Samantha Evans, Hang Fire Southern Kitchen