Former First Minister Carwyn Jones has said that Wales is not lacking in entrepreneurial flair.
The awards were held virtually last Thursday.
Winners were selected from a list of diverse categories including graduate start-up of the year, North Wales based start-up of the year and green start-up of the year.
In total, 27 winners were selected across the range of categories, with pet accessories business, Project Blu, winning Wales Start-Up of the Year.
“We’ve got some fantastic business start-ups across the length and breadth of Wales,” he said.
Following the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Skates said the Welsh Government had stepped in to support start-ups with a bursary.
The start-up grant, which was announced in June, provides support for up to 2,000 businesses in Wales with £2,500 each. Mr Skates added that the grant had helped 1,500 businesses.
“Importantly though, the support that we’re offering those start-ups is tied to the support they’re going to acquire from Business Wales as they develop their goods and services and seek to grow and expand,” he continued.
Mr Skates said that Business Wales had been “instrumental” in supporting the growth of Wales’ business community in recent years.
He said that, prior to the pandemic, Wales had the third highest business birth rate in 2018 out of the 12 UK counties and regions. In 2019, Welsh employment rates also hit a record high.
“In terms of thinking about the current climate and whether it’s a good time to start a business, I think it absolutely is,” she said.
“I think it’s this necessity entrepreneurship that we’re seeing a lot of at the moment and I think that’s the thing we need to do more to encourage.
“City Deal is termed as a growth programme but we recognise that a majority of jobs in the economy are started by start-up businesses, so our focus on that is absolutely clear.”