From start ups to multi-million pound businesses, the 2015 Forward Ladies Women in Business Awards, sponsored by HSBC, promises to be one of the most closely run finals in its six-year history.
In announcing the four regional shortlists, Forward Ladies Managing Director Griselda Togobo unveiled the names of 142 entrepreneurial female business leaders who will compete across 11 categories.
The standard of entries this year was one of the highest ever. Griselda commented:
“The calibre of entries has been increasing year on year, but this year we have a number of outstanding entries, which have attracted women from all ages, all professions and all walks of life. We are also delighted to hosting regional heats in Newcastle, Manchester, London and Nottingham for the first time, which means we can showcase some of the best talent from across the whole of England.
“We also have categories to showcase the underrepresented women working in traditionally male dominated fields such as STEM, Digital and Online category, and have received some outstanding entries in this category. The judges have seriously had their work cut out for them this year.”
National categories include Inspiring Leader, Rising Star, Start Up Business of the Year and Young Entrepreneur. One winner per region 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 glittering awards luncheons in September and October.
This year’s judging panel was 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.
Karen Boswell, Managing Director of Hitachi Rail and Chair of the judging panel, said judging was a difficult process:
“The standard of entries for this year’s Women in Business Awards was outstanding which made selecting the shortlist extremely difficult. This is a testament to the high quality of our female business leaders across the regions who are helping the region’s economy grow.
“We look forward to bringing the best of these together for the regional awards ceremony where we will announce our winners.”
Winners from the four regions will meet the judges live on 4 November and the national winners will be announced at a glittering awards luncheon final on 20 November in Leeds at the Queens Hotel.
- Yorkshire & North East – 29 September at The Crowne Plaza, Newcastle
- Midlands – 9 October at The Nottingham Belfry, Nottingham
- London & South – 16 October at Thistle Marble Arch, London
- North West & Isle of Man – 23 October at Radisson Blu Edwardian, Manchester
- National Final – 20 November at Queens Hotel, Leeds
This year, for the first time, award finalists and winners will be offered support from two of the most influential names in business – HSBC, who are the headline sponsor of the Forward Ladies Women In Business 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 confirmed regional sponsors supporting this award are
ASDA, Yorkshire Water, Qhotels, LCF, Faith PR, Elland Road Financial Services, Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Life, Finance Yorkshire, WGN, Saville AV, Sorted PR, Oakridge Consulting, George F White.