Outstanding business women across the Midlands have been recognised at the prestigious Forward Ladies Midlands Women in Business Awards (WIBA) regional final.
Hosted by ITV News presenter Charlene White, the glittering awards for the Midlands heat took place at The Nottingham Belfry hotel today (9 October), where 45 entrepreneurial female business leaders from across the region competed in 11 categories to be crowned the winner.
The regional winners from each category, including ‘Inspiring Leader of the Year’, ‘Start-up Business of the Year’ and ‘Rising Star of the Year’, will now compete in the national final taking place on 20 November in Leeds at the Queens Hotel. But first each of today’s winners will be put through their paces at a live session with the judges on November 4, held at headline sponsor of the awards HSBC’s offices in Leeds.
This year, for the first time, a special lifetime achievement award was also presented to former Dragon and inspirational founder of the Pall-Ex Group, Hilary Devey.
The WIBAs, now in its sixth year, has become one of the most high profile and respected accolades for women recognising their enormous contribution to the economy and acknowledges start-ups to multi-million pound companies. This year’s guest speaker for the Midlands was Molly Harvey, inspirational speaker, leadership expert and business owner.
Griselda Togobo, Managing Director at Forward Ladies said: “This year we received a number of outstanding entries from right across the Midlands and the awards really did showcase some of the best talent and businesses from across the region.
“The awards have attracted women of all ages, all professions and all walks of life and we are delighted to welcome the winners from today’s event to the eagerly anticipated finals in Leeds in November.”
The full list of winners in the 11 categories from the Midlands heat is as follows:
Digital/Online Business of the Year – Susan Hallam – Hallam Internet, Nottingham
Inspiring Leader of the Year – Deborah Leary – Forensic Pathways, Birmingham
International Business of the Year – Leanne Bonner-Cooke – Evolve Consultants, Ratby
Not for Profit / Social Enterprise of the Year – Toni Esberger – Click Nottingham, Nottingham
Retail Business of the Year – Amita Sawhney – Memsaab, Nottingham
Rising Star of the Year – Laura Grant – Maggie’s Centres, Nottingham
SME Business of the Year (Emerging – less than 10 employees) – Becky Valentine & Victoria Green – Spenbeck Ltd, Nottingham
SME Business of the Year (Growth – 10 or more employees) – Jyoti Jaspal – Little Folks
Start-up Business of the Year – Jennifer Cross – Cross Productions, Leicester
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Business of the Year – Deborah Leary – Forensic Pathways, Birmingham
Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Lizze Leary – Kindred Sole, Coalville
- Special Lifetime Achievement Award – Hilary Devey
This year the award finalists and winners will be offered support from two of the most influential names in business for the first time in the awards history – HSBC, who are the headline sponsor of the awards, and Microsoft, the awards technology partner.
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.
Debra White, HSBC Regional Director of Small Businesses in the North of England, said: “We are proud to support the Forward Ladies National Women in Business Awards programme and entrepreneurial women working and innovating across the UK. As part of our commitment to supporting Britain, we welcome the opportunity to provide help and guidance to this year’s winners of the Forward Ladies in Business Awards to expand their business in the future.”
Microsoft will offer finalists a full review of their ICT set up. The review will explore how their organisation can utilise technology across a range of business functions to drive business results.
Sharon Jandu, Strategic Partnerships, Small and Medium Business, at Microsoft, said: “Our mission and values are all about helping businesses unlock their full potential and we are excited about the prospect of working with the UK’s leading women in business in their companies to support them to achieve this aim.”
Other regional sponsors of the awards were:
ASDA, Yorkshire Water, Xero, Microsoft, Lucas Media, The Corporative Insurance, Qhotels, LCF, Faith PR, Elland Road Financial Services, Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Life, Finance Yorkshire, WGN, Saville AV, Sorted PR, and George F White.
More information on the Women in Business Awards can be found at: www.forwardladies.com.