When Ms Wilson went to work as a book-keeper at tool reclamation business Numill, she was so impressed that she decided to buy the company and help it grow into overseas markets.
Yesterday, Ms Wilson, from Sheffield, was crowned as business woman of the year at the Forward Ladies Women in Business Awards 2014, which acted as a showcase for the North of England’s finest female business leaders.
Ms Wilson, who is now the managing director of Numill, returned to the classroom to gain qualifications in accounting, before attaining a management degree and post-graduate qualifications.
For her dissertation, she analysed the theory of a management buy-out, which she went on to make a reality.
Ms Wilson also triumphed in the SME business woman of the year category.
The awards, which attracted an audience of 360 people to the Queens Hotel in Leeds, aimed to provide inspiration to other women who seek to emulate the winners’ successes.
Speaking after receiving the award, Ms Wilson said: “It’s absolutely fantastic, I’m really shocked, honoured and proud.”
Etta Cohen, the founder of Forward Ladies, received a standing ovation as she urged more women to go into business. Founded by Ms Cohen in 2000, Forward Ladies began as a small group of Yorkshire professional women meeting and sharing experiences. It now supports more than 13,500 women across Yorkshire, the Isle of Man, Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside.
Ms Cohen, who received a special award in recognition for her work establishing Forward Ladies as a major brand, said: “The UK is a great country and it needs men and women to make it even greater. I’ve always believed that women can overcome anything. We can be whatever we want to be, and together the UK can be great. When you leave here, let this be the start of your next journey. I’ve spoken to ladies here today who have found themselves on their own and their business is struggling.
“Well, that’s today and tomorrow’s a new day. Ladies,.be true to yourselves and you can achieve anything.”
Griselda Togobo, the current managing director of Forward Ladies, said the awards honoured trail blazing women.
The other winners included Amy Wray of Applegate Properties, based in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, who triumphed in the property business woman of the year category. She received her award from Greg Wright, The Yorkshire Post’s deputy business editor
Here is a full list of the winners:
Corporate Business Leader of the Year sponsored by Finance Yorkshire and presented by Julian Viggars:
Joanna Robinson, MD of Bradford-based Mansfield Pollard.
Home Based Business Woman of the Year sponsored by Amplitude and presented by Chris Conderson:
Faye Smith of Keep Your Fork from Sheffield.
International Business Woman of the Year, sponsored by UKTI and presented by Mark Robson:
Sara Davies of Crafter’s Companion, Bishop Auckland.
The Not For Profit Award sponsored by East Coast and presented by Heidi Rowan:
Alison Lowe, chief executive of Leeds-based Touchstone.
PA of the Year sponsored by Q Hotels and presented by Paul Priest:
Hollie Lawson of Leeds-based Premier Farnell.
Professional Services Business Woman of the Year sponsored by Forward Ladies and presented by Griselda Togobo:
Emilda Eaton, a partner and head of private clients at Wosskow Brown Solicitors, Sheffield.
Property Business Woman of the Year sponsored by The Yorkshire Post and presented by Greg Wright:
Amy Wray of Applegate Properties, Holmfirth
Retail Business Woman of the Year sponsored by Asda:
Adele Carnell, the MD of Filmore and Union healthy eating restaurants.
Start up Business Woman of the Year sponsored by Microsoft and presented by Sharon Jandu:
Rashmi Dubé the founder of Leeds and London-based Legatus Law,
Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing Business Woman of the Year sponsored by Yorkshire Water:
Kate Krachai, director of Quality Context of Sheffield,
Young Business Woman of the Year sponsored by O2 and presented by Donna Howden:
Jules Quinn MD of the TeaShed, based in Gateshead.