Awards celebrate successful women in business

Centre stage: From left, Charlene White, with Anne Wilson, last year's winner of Business Woman of the Year, and Debra White, regional director of small businesses at HSBC.
Centre stage: From left, Charlene White, with Anne Wilson, last year's winner of Business Woman of the Year, and Debra White, regional director of small businesses at HSBC.
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The shortlist for the Forward Ladies Women in Business Awards has been unveiled, with 62 entrepreneurial female business leaders competing across 11 categories.

This years awards will be different as they have been opened up for entries from across the country, with regional heats.

Griselda Togobo, managing director at Forward Ladies, told The Yorkshire Post: “In the past it has been an entirely Yorkshire based awards and we’ve only nominated and recognised women from the region.

“But this year we have a regional heat in Yorkshire and the North East, in the Isle of Man, the Midlands, London and the South.”

Ms Togobo added: “The awards are hugely important because we want to showcase the work that women are doing in business, because sometimes these women are known for not shouting about the work that they are doing.”

Categories include Inspiring Leader, Rising Star, Start Up Business of the Year and Young Entrepreneur. One winner will be chosen by the panel of independent judges, and the outstanding business woman for the region will be chosen from all category winners, with the announcement made at an awards luncheon hosted by ITV News presenter Charlene White at the Crowne Plaza in Newcastle on September 29.

This year’s judging panel is made up of leading business personalities and entrepreneurs including Karen Boswell, the managing director of Hitachi Rail Europe and former managing director of East Coast Trains, Ajaz Ahmed, the founder of Freeserve, and Debra White, the regional director of small businesses at HSBC.

Ms Boswell said: “The standard of entries for this year’s Women in Business Awards was outstanding which made selecting the shortlist extremely difficult.”

Ms Togobo said that there needs to be a change in attitude towards women in business in the business world and the media.

She said: “The media and business sometimes discredits businesses run by women and they presume that awards like ours and any gender focussed initiative is just unnecessary because we’ve moved on from that.

“But the reality is that we could all be doing so much more to support young girls coming up so that they can actually see themselves working in certain industries and running certain businesses.”

Winners from Yorkshire and the North East will meet the judges live on November 4 and the national winners will be announced at an awards luncheon final on November 20 in Leeds at the Queens Hotel. Ms Togobo said: “We’ve chosen to have the grand final in Leeds instead of London because we should be having a lot of things outside of London, everything doesn’t need to happen in London.”

Ms Togobo praised the region’s business women and the strength of their entries.

She said: “We have seen that the women in Yorkshire obviously are very tough, go-getting women.

“We’ve had the most nominations in the Yorkshire region especially because of the background of Forward Ladies.

“But we can see from the nominations that businesses in Yorkshire are comparable to businesses down in London and that the women in Yorkshire are just as much a powerhouse as the women in London.”

HSBC will offer regional nominees and finalists local expert business advisers who will work with them on a one-to-one basis to identify growth areas and work out the best ways in which this can be achieved.

Microsoft will offer finalists a full review of their ICT set up.

The Yorkshire Post is a media partner for the awards, which are sponsored by HSBC.

The full shortlist for Yorkshire and the North East:

Digital / Online Business of the Year: Julia Braime (Brides Up North), Christina Gabbitas (Poems and Pictures Ltd) and Lucy Scott Paul (Bah Humbugs)

Inspiring Leader of the Year: Mary Butler (Bell & Buxton Solicitors), Diane Cheesbrough (thebigword), Susan Clark (LCF Law), Andrea Eli (Ventura Office Supplies Ltd), Maria Florou (The Grand Hotel & Spa, York), Jo Haigh (fds Director Services Limited), Kate Hardcastle (Insight with Passion), Elizabeth Lister (Willis), Justine Osmotherley (Clarion Solicitors), Joanna Robinson (Mansfield Pollard & Co LTD), Claire Young (School Speakers) and Sarah Young (Ridley and Hall Legal Ltd)

International Business of the Year: Angela Fan (Study Links), Julia Gash (Bag It Don’t Bin It Ltd), Debbie Heald (Heald Ltd) and Sukhvinder Javeed (Milkysnugz)

Not for Profit / Social Enterprise of the Year: Janette Benaddi (NAMSA and Yorkshire Rows), Claire Bennett (Common Purpose UK), Julie Tweedale (Freedom Personal Safety) and Claire Young (School Speakers)

Retail Business of the Year: Sandra Corcoran (Pennine Cycles), Liz Devine-Wright (Simply Devine), Kristy Giblin (The Pudding Parlour), Rachel Hainsworth (Avon Cosmetics), Sukhvinder Javeed (Milkysnugz), Claire O’Connor (babyballet), Lucy Scott Paul (Bah Humbugs) and Rosemary Thompson (Rosemary & Co Artists Brushes)

Rising Star of the Year: Amy Archer (Swift Group Ltd), Bernie Byrne (thebigword), Debbie Capell (thebigword), Poonam Kaur (Fds Director Services Limited), Kayley Smith (Sweet Tooth Delivery) and Libby Wheelhouse (Bob’s Business)

SME Business of the Year (Emerging – less than 10 employees): Jane Ellison-Bates (Manifest Marketing Ltd), Tracy Fletcher (Campbell & Fletcher Ltd), Kate Hardcastle (Insight with Passion), Michelle Headen (Elland Rd Financial Solutions Ltd), Jane Mcleod (Cirrus Beauty Rooms), Nicola Mellor (Pepamint), Sophie Milliken (Smart Resourcing Solutions Ltd), Georgie Oldfield (SIRPA Ltd), Sam Pearce (The Potting Shed Spa & Eastthorpe Hall), Liz Preston (Craven Safety Services Ltd), Jillian Thomas (Future Life Wealth Management Limited), Jane Vincent (Candelisa People), Marion Lowrence (The PA Hub Ltd) and Amy Wray (Applegate Properties)

SME Business of the Year (Growth – 10 or more employees): Lisa Bolger (LMB Hillcrest Home LTD and Little Rascals Nursery Ltd), Andrea Eli (Ventura Office Supplies Ltd), Julia Gash (Bag It Don’t Bin It Ltd), Alexa Greaves (AAG Systems Ltd), Jo Haigh (fds Director Services Limited), Debbie Heald (Heald Ltd), Erica Kemp (Ecus Ltd), Kate Krachai (Quality Context), Claire O’Connor (babyballet), Dr Maxine Stead (Alexandra House health and wellbeing spa), Rosemary Thompson (Rosemary & Co Artists Brushes) and Allison Whitmarsh (ProperMaid Ltd)

Start Up Business of the Year: Charlotte Armitage (Yorkshire Academy of Film & Television Acting), Katrina Cliffe (KC Communications), June Parsons (June Parsons Designs), Rachel Salway (Roseannah) and Claire Turner (Turner Lister & Co)

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Business of the Year: Alexa Greaves (AAG Systems Ltd), Debbie Heald (Heald Ltd), Kate Krachai (Quality Context) and Anne Wilson (Numill Ltd)

Young Enterpreneur of the Year: Erene Hadjiioannou & Abra Wynn (Pastille Beauty Bar), Chloe Hall (Bumble and Bloom Media), Ashley Hyde (Baba Ganoush Private Dining), Nicola Mellor (Pepamint), Jules Quinn (The TeaShed) and Robyn Wilson (Wilson Barbershop)