The best in female business talent in awards contention

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A screenwriter and a leading lawyer are among the inspirational Yorkshire women who are in contention for a string of major awards.

The Leeds-based networking group Forward Ladies has attracted a bumper crop of entries for its annual Women in Business Awards.

The awards ceremony will take place at the Queens Hotel in Leeds on November 16 in front of an audience of senior businesswomen and their guests.

The managing director of Forward Ladies, Etta Cohen, said she had been overwhelmed by the response to this year’s awards.

She added: “We have some amazing female talent in the region, and although economic times are challenging, women are forging ahead with their businesses and looking for new and creative opportunities to take their careers and businesses forward.”

Awards will be presented in 12 categories, which reflect the breadth of talent in our county’s business community. The winners in each category will then be considered for the title of Yorkshire and Humber businesswoman of the year.

The finalists include Deborah Robinson, from Harrogate, who produced the film, Last Will and Embezzlement, which documents the financial exploitation of the elderly. She runs her own production and entertainment company, Starjack Entertainment.

The titles up for grabs include corporate businesswoman of the year, which is sponsored by Hays.

The shortlist for this category comprises Joanne Roney, the chief executive of Wakefield Council, Jacqui Hall the managing director of Harrogate-based independent gas supplier, CNG, and Helen Thewlis, the head of family law and a partner at Ramsden’s Solicitors, the largest law firm in Kirklees and Calderdale.

The start-up businesswoman of the year category, which is sponsored by the Yorkshire Post, attracted a strong list of contend-ers.

The shortlist includes Fiona Wood, from Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, who launched her business, Naturally Cool Kids, which sells natural skincare products for babies and children.

Also on the shortlist is Gemma Blagborough of Huddersfield, who has founded Jigsaw Enterprise Training, and Claire Maguire, who runs a retreat at Split Farthing Hall, near Thirsk, which focuses on health and well-being.

The other award sponsors include Sterling Insurance, JM Glendinning, O2, East Coast, Yorkshire and Humber Manufacturing Advisory Service, Amplitude AV, UK Trade & Investment, The Co-operative, Q Hotels, Jeff Banks and Irwin Mitchell.

The judging panel included Greg Wright, the Yorkshire Post’s deputy business editor.

For more information about Forward Ladies, visit the website