WIB 2017 Pullout


Tuesday 3 October 2107

Photo- Matt Short Photography

Photo- Matt Short Photography

Sponsored by:



❙ 3

Celebrating the success of


Deputy Business Editor



region’s business women

The third annual Women in

Business Awards was the

biggest and best yet as we

celebrated the achievements

of our region’s outstanding

business women.

The awards, held in partnership

with BHIB Insurance

Brokers, took place at Leicester

Tigers’ stadium in Welford

Road and were hosted by

Emma Jesson, the popular and

glamorous face of ITV weather.

With 12 award categories and

32 finalists,the sponsors had a

difficult job of picking the winners

from the shortlists.

Given the quality of our region’s

business women, it was

not even straightforward deciding

who should take the

Lifetime Achievement Award,

a leading light in the business

community, who is suggested






SPEECH: Mercury editor George Oliver



GREAT LINE-UP: The winners proudly show off their trophies at the Women in Business Awards ceremony. Below, left, Emma Jesson was the host on the night

by the sponsors and the Mercury’s

business team.

In the end, Julie Deane, the

founder of Cambridge Satchel

Company, stood out from the

other contestants because of

her unassailable entrepreneurial

spirit and her dedication

to keeping the manufacture of

her iconic bags in Leicestershire.

She employs more than 60

staff at her Syston factory

where production recently increased

from 11,000 bags a

month to around 15,000 bags a

month, with further plans to

expand over the next 12


The Syston factory opened in

2013 after Cambridge Satchel

outgrew its original facility in


One of Leicester’smost prominent

lawyers was named Business

Woman of the Year.

Mehmooda Duke, founder

and a senior partner of Moosa-

Duke Solicitors, who specialises

in medical clinical negligence,

won the accolade.

Ms Duke said her role at

Moosa-Duke enables her to

make a difference to people’s


She said: “Tome the lawisall

about looking after people.

“My USP is that I have worked

for the NHS on the other side

and I pride myself on being

genuine, straight-talking, being

a Northern girl from Blackburn.”

Mehmooda now heads a team

of 15 people. Her firm is a niche

practice dealing exclusively

with claims for medical negligence

and is ranked by Chambers

and Partners, anational

independent publication listing

the best Practices and best

lawyers, as a “band 1” firm.

In 2015, she became the first female

Asian president in

Leicestershire Law Society’s

155-year history, and only the

seventh woman to hold the position.

In the non-legal world,

Mehmooda is one of only two

Asian females on the governing

council of the University of

Leicester. She was recentlyappointed

to the advisory board

of Leicestershire County

Cricket Club –the first female

to have achieved this.

The Contribution to the Community

Award was won by sisters

Rama Bhalla and Sujata

Sabharwall, of Giving World

Online. Their charity redistributes

new business end of

line and discontinued stock to

the most deprived communities

in the UK.

The surplus goods are

sourced from national retailers

and manufacturers, government

agencies, local government

bodies, and smaller local

organisations of every kind.

A recent study showed the

charity’s work not only improves

people’s welfare, it also

builds their life chances, emotional

health and overall wellbeing.

The judges noted that the

charity’s programmes “have

proved to be both highly regarded

and highly effective in

improving these individuals’

essential life and work skills,

and in building their confidence,

dignity and self-esteem”.

Mercury editor George Oliver

said: “Previous winners have

come from industries as diverse

as transportation, IT,

fashion and banking; the common

thread is that they have all

excelled in their field.

“Thank you to BHIB and all

our other sponsors forhelping

recognise this year’s achievers.”

Entrepreneur of the Year

Sole Trader of the Year

Business Innovation Award

Contribution to the Community Award


Rising Star Award




Female Apprentice of the Year

New Business of the Year

Small Business of the Year

Inspirational Woman of the Year

Woman in the Public Sector

Business Woman of the Year

Lifetime Achievement



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❙ 5

Apprentice of the Year: Elona Jetullahu


WINNER: Elona Jetullahu, right, with Alexandra Kowalczuk, of sponsors Smallman and Son

Smallman &Son are experts

in undertaking all types of

refurbishments and from their

in-house joinery workshop

manufacture bespoke furniture.

• Offices

• Sport&LeisureFacilities

• Restaurants &Bars

• Universities,Schools &Colleges

• Hospitals &Medical Centres

• Factories &Warehouses

• Churches

• Retail Outlets

• Shop Fitting

Contact us on:0116 2764288

Email us at: info@smallmanandson.co.uk

Elona joined Soft Touch Arts in

January as an events and

exhibitions apprentice.

Her one-year apprenticeship

is funded through the Rank

Foundation, a philanthropic

trust that aims to give young

people the opportunity to develop

their skills in charities.

The skills they develop during

the apprenticeship can then be

used to continue to make adifference

through making a career

in the charity sector,or advocating

for businesses to supportcharity

as partoftheir corporate

social responsibility.

Elona’s familycame to the UK

to flee the war in Bosnia before

she was born but their experience

have led her to want to

work and supportyoung people

who face challenges in their


Since joining Soft Touch, she

has been helping to organise

and run fund-raising and business

engagement events to

raise the profile of the charity

and to help young people showcase

their creative work

through organising and publicising

exhibitions and events.

She has also been able to use

her own music and creative talents

as a role model to young

people and has, in her own

2017 2017

time, volunteered to work extra

hours to help on creative sessions

to support young girls

learn how to play and produce

music to develop their confidence,

self-esteem and musical


Elona has gone above and beyond

expectations in her job

role. She has learned awide

range of business development

and event organisation skills

in a short space of time.

Runner-up: Phoebe Tranter

PHOEBE, 23, is a trainee solicitor

in Lawson-West’s wills and

probate department.

She meets clients who are

planning what should be done

with their assets and estate

when they are no longer


Not only does Phoebe see clients

at the Lawson-West offices,

she also visits them at

home or in hospital if they are

unwell or are not very mobile.

She has also seen clients at


On one occasion, she visited a

client twice on one Saturdayat

his hospice due to how unwell

he was and how quickly he

needed his will to be prepared.

Phoebe went out of her way to

go above and beyond for this

client because he needed her to.

She is already in the position to

bill the same amount as the

other members of the Wills and

Runner-up: Zainab Quareshy

ZAINAB joined the Zinthiya

Trust, a charity which supports

women and families

from disadvantaged backgrounds.

just over a year ago.

When she first arrived, she

was very quiet young girl.

But she has grown in confidence

and matured to such

an extent that she is now in

charge of running the café,

and despite her quiet personality

she is a wonderful team


She now guides other staff

members on delivering an excellent

customer service and

always has a smile on her face

that all our customers comment


Probate team, all of which have

many more years’ experience

than her.

Due to her daily contact with

elderly clients, Phoebe wanted

Sponsored by

Elona takes on any new task

with enthusiasm and enjoyment

and really is a breath of

fresh air within the organisation.

For someone so young, in her

first paid role, her confidence

and engaging manner show

huge potential for afuture career

in marketing, social media

and event planning with transferrableskills

within the charity

or private sector.

to raise funds foracharity they

would directly benefit from.

So she knitted tiny woolly

hats as part of last year’s Age

UK campaign.

Sponsored by

Contribution to Community: Rama Bhalla and Sujata Sabharwall


WINNERS: Rama Bhalla and Sujata Sabharwal are presented with their trophies by Professor

Zoe Radnor, left, from the University of Leicester School of Business

Runner-up: Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan

ZINTHIYA launched The

Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan Trust

in 2009 to help disadvantaged

members of the community

achieve their full potential by

up-skilling them, providing

work opportunities and breaking

down barriers to their freedom,

independence and inclusion

in society.

The charity is constantly

evolving to meet the needs of

the community and its mission

has broadened to include the

alleviation of poverty and abuse.

In the past year, the charity

helped more people than ever

with advice on money, debt,

housing, benefits, energy, water,

welfare and practical support.

Over 1,500 people in

Runner-up: Femida Latif

FEMIDA is the owner of Femi

Health & Beauty Centre, in

Highcross Street, Leicester,

which strives to offer the best

treatments for men and women.

The salon is dedicated to giving

excellent customer service

and offering the best in new

and revolutionary treatments.

In 2015, the salon was chosen

by Artist of Make-up founder

and YouTube sensation

Zukreat Nazar as the first UK

retailer to offer her cosmetic

range in store.

Two years earlier, the salon

beat 900 salons nationwide to

pick up the Decléor Aroma Excellence

Award formost inspirational

salon of the year.

Leicester were given assistance

to transform their lives.

The charity also widened its

support into Leicestershire.

An innovative project to

tackle poverty was launched in

Hinckley & Bosworth called the

“£20 plus” project with the goal

of helping households in

poverty or struggling to make

ends meet improve their

household budget by £20 per


This was achieved by tackling

debt, reducing household

bills, claiming all eligible grants

and benefits and designing

sustainable budgets.

The trust responded to a

huge demand to tackle women’s

mental health issues by

opening a counselling centre in

Leicester city centre.

Sisters Rama and Sujata are

the founders and driving forces

behind the charity Giving World


Their charity redistributes

new business end of line and

discontinued stock to the most

deprived communities in the


The surplus goods are

sourced from national retailers

and manufacturers, government

agencies, local government

bodies, and smaller local

organisations of every kind.

The operation has grown

steadily over the past 16 years

and more than 70 tonnes of surplus

goods are distributed each


Last year, this helped more

than 250,000 vulnerable people.

A recent study showed the

charity’s work not only improves

people’s welfare, it also

builds their life chances, emotional

health and overall wellbeing.

Giving Worldalso offers

an employability skills programmes

for vulnerableadults

with learning and mental

health difficulties, which are

referred by the local social care

and adult learning services.

These programmes have

proved to be highly regarded

and highlyeffective in both improving

these individuals’ essential

life and work skills, and

in building up their confidence,

dignity and self-esteem.


Congratulations to all Women in Business category nominees and

winners from all at the University of Leicester School of Business.

Professor Zoe Radnor

Dean, University ofLeicester School ofBusiness

Or visit us at: www.smallmanandson.co.uk The team at the city centre

salon travelled to London to receive

the award at the famous

Ivy restaurant. The trophy is

awarded to the salon whichhas

achieved excellence in a number

of fields relating to the overall

performance of the business,

including best practice in

customer service, marketing

and training and development


Find outmore: e: ulsb@le.ac.uk www.le.ac.uk/ulsb




❙ 7

Entrepreneur of the Year: Elizabeth Robson


WINNER: Elizabeth Robson with Rob Bunting, of sponsors Pole Arnold









0116 2043428


Elizabeth Robson is the owner

of Rothley Wine Estate, a multiaward-winning

vineyard in the

Leicestershire village of the

same name.

In 2015, herKing Richard dry

white was awarded a silver

medal by the United Kingdom

Vineyards Association, while

the bronze went to Spirit of

Freedom, her first pink sparkling


Elizabeth’s two-acre vineyard,

formerly known as Kingfishers’

Pool, lies on asouth facing

slope overlooking the

brook which connects with the

River Soar.

All of the still wine is made at

the Rothley vineyard, while

her sparkling wines, such as

Spirit of Freedom, are created

at Halfpenny Green Vineyard,

in Staffordshire.

Before devoting most of her

time to Rothley Wine Estate,

Elizabeth was principal lecturer

in midwifery at De MontfortUniversity.

She said the deciding moment

to retire came about seven

years ago when she won the

best wine for the East Midlands.

She said: “I wanted to dedicate

more time towards the vineyard,

it’s a passion of mine.”

2017 2017

Sponsored by

Sponsored by

Runner-up: Verity Saul

VERITY bought Witham Villa

Equestrian Centre, in Cosby

Road, Broughton Astley, in October


Over nearly 25 years,she’s developed

the centre’s facilities

by extending the indoor school,

building a new outdoor school

with the help of a Defra 50/50

funding grant and extended

the car park. The centre also

has a thriving café.

The facilities for the horses

have also been transformed.

When Verity arrived there

were nine ponies housed in disused

railway carriages.

She rebuilt the stables and

now has 40 horses and ponies

and the centre is open six days

a week with lessons available

Tuesday to Fridaydaytime and

evening, and daytime at the


Verity is passionate about

keeping her horses in top con-

Runner-up: Naomi Morgan

NAOMI, owner of The Rutland

Cake Company, has loved

whipping up cakes since she

was a child.

But it took a new turn about

10 years ago when, suffering

from depression, she read that

baking could help.

She started by making bespoke

celebration cakes for

friends and after baking a wedding

cake for a friend people

advised her to bake professionally.

With two young children and

the business rapidly outgrowing

her kitchen at home in

Oakham, Naomi moved into

Enterprise Business Park, in

Ashwell, in April last year.

dition, a fact that has been recognised

by the British Horse

Society (BHS).

In its 2014 BHS Where to Train

inspection, it noted: “All the

horses were in very good condition,

the centre is very neat and

Seven months ago, she

opened a café which she designed,

project managed and

built herself and now employs

eight staff, including young

people and mums who could

not otherwise find work.

Naomi seeks to use local

products and supports other

food producers at Enterprise

Business Park including a coffee

roasters and chutney producer.

The bakery side of the business

offers bespoke cakes

made to order and is seeking

to push into the tourism market

for Rutland, looking to create

new products that highlight

Rutland’s produce and history.

tidy which helps give a very

good impression of the high

level of horse care and teaching”.

Witham Villa employs 17 staff

who are a mixtureof full, parttime

and freelancers.

Business Innovation Award: Ali Hackett


WINNER: Ali Hackett is handed her trophy by Tim Emmony, of sponsors MNE Accounting

Runner-up: Sophie Hainsworth

SOPHIE is the co-founder of LoyalFree,

amobile phone apployalty

scheme which is used to

collect rewards at local independent

and national businesses,

allowing businesses to

gain from customer analytics

and brand exposure.

The app already has more

than 2,000 users and provides

businesses with important customer


Sophie graduated in 2011 and

has worked across various industries

and for companies of

all sizes –from KPMG in London

to her current start-up.

Whatisconsistent is her ability

to turn any obstacle or challengeinto

apositive and profitable


Sophie’s understanding of

what business owners need led

to an early product redesign so

they onlyneed a lanyard and do

not have to use any technology

Runner-up: Alicia Porter and Lucy Sinclair

ALICIA and Lucy are the

founders of Fruity Beauties, a

healthy and natural form of

ice pop similar to Calypso


As avid festival-goers,

Alicia and Lucy noticed that

among the stalls of food and

drink on offer there wasn’t

much that was healthy and


Fruity Beauties ice pops

are naturally sweetened by

grape juice, vegan-friendly

and free from gluten and


They also provide 100 per

cent of your daily vitamin C


In May 2014, after much reto

makeuse of the app. Her understanding

of the market has

led to other innovations within

the app, suchasthe addition of

an Instagram feed into the profiles.

Her ideas often go beyond

product design and user experience.

She has been reshaping the

search and preparation, they

took their fruity wares out for

sale for the first time at a

festival in Essex.

business model into a more efficient

process by making connections

with organisations

and associations which

already have an established

presence, such as the British

BIDs and Everards Brewery.

Sophie is a true entrepreneur,

constantly challenging the

status quo.

They then sold them at other

festivals such as Simon

Says, where they sold out


Ali Hackett is co-founder of

recruitment technology

business Meet & Engage.

It offers real-time chat technology

used by organisations to

run group chats, one-to-one

private chats, to share relevant

content and to keep candidates

connected with the business as

they move through the recruitment


Before starting M&E, Ali

worked for many years as an

independent consultant managing

projects spanning employer

brand, recruitment, employability

and retention

across a variety of sectors.

Ali’s experiences as an inhouse

recruitment leader, covering

both volume and experienced

hires, has given her a

depth of understanding around

the challenges organisations

face and apassion for putting

candidate experience firmly

on the agenda.

She says starting a business is

challenging as you have to

quickly become an expert in all

sorts of things. This includes

managing employees, finances,

a newbusiness pipeline,

product development and marketing.

The most challenging thing so

far has been remaining focused

on the most important things

to drive the business forward.

Ali is excited about the possibilities

technology can offer

businesses who want to create

engaging candidate experiences

and increase advocacy.



❙ 9

Inspirational Woman of the Year: Joanna Sutton

2017 2017

Sponsored by

Sponsored by

New Business of the Year: Dawn Louise Holt


WINNER: Joanna Sutton, right, with Eileen Richards of sponsors Eileen Richards Recruitment

JO Sutton epitomises the

word 'inspirational'.

Aged 35, she was given the

news every woman dreads –

she had terminal breast cancer.

To make matters worse, Jo

lost her mother to the disease

six years ago.

She began chemotherapy in

February last year and had 13

brutal cycles, the most any

person has undergone at the

Leicester Royal Infirmary involving

the particular treatment

that was used on Jo.

In October 2016, Jo received

the best possible news

–there was no evidence of the

disease in her body.

Although there is no cure for

Stage 4 Metastatic Breast

Cancer, this was the best

scenario for Jo.

She was given chemotherapy

at the Hope Against Cancer

Ward at the Royal Infirmary

LRI and continues to visit

every three weeks for ongoing


The care given by the

nurses at Hope is absolutely

amazing and completely personable.

For this reason, Jo and her

husband, Jonny, decided to

give something back and

began fund-raising for Hope.

They have collected more

than £5,000 for the charity

since January and their aim is

to get to £50,000.


WINNER: Dawn Louise Holt, right, with Diana Esho, from sponsors Easy Internet Services

Dawn decided she would give

up her job as a recruitment

director at a large multinational

organisation to set up

her own business.

She spotted agap in the cat

boarding industry foranestablishment

offering high end

care for felines, while their

owners were away from home.

Dawn spent a year researching

the cat boarding market in

the Leicestershire area, understanding

the facilities available,

pricing structures and

locations of existing facilities.

She also found out which

firms could supply and construct

suitable facilities and

opted for the UK’s leading supplier

and manufacturer of animal

carefacilities to build the

Haven Luxury Cat Hotel.

Dawn developed an extensive

marketing plan, designed a

logo and distributed 10,000 leaflets.

She then worked extensively

with a webdesigner to develop

her website and Facebook


Dawn opened for business on

December 5last year and the

hotel in Countesthorpe was full

for Christmas. By January, the

summer season was also fully


Dawn is already taking bookings

for the coming Christmas

and next year’s peak times.

Her business plan is based on

quality of care rather than

quantity of boarders and, with

this in mind, she deliberately

built nine luxury suites so the

care she wished to provide

could be delivered.

Since opening, Dawn has

boarded over 200 cats with

many more booked for the following


Runner-up: Sue Crooks

Runner-up: Suk Basra

Sue set up the Love Ladies

Business Group in 2012.

She has now established seven

groups in the Midlands, including

Loughborough and

Leicester, with more than 200


Sue is a single mother and

also runs a marketing company,

yet manages these seven

groups as non-profit networking


Each event is organised and

coordinated with great precision,

so the women attending

have the best possible outcome.

Sue personally arranges and

hosts every event, ensuring

everyone is well looked after,

and that everyone has the opportunity

to promote their

business in a business-like but

warm and safe environment.

She is an incredible leader

and inspirational as a business

woman, making the world of

business inclusive and all-encompassing.

Sue also offers

support on aone to one basis,

along with training sessions

and her Facebook page and

website offer tools and information

to assist further.

Sue is also agreat advocate for

the women who runor have positions

in charities, raising

many thousands of pounds for

them each year.

This is a great deal of extra

work, with events, raffles and

auctions and the women in the

groups are led by her example

to help those less fortunate.

Sue is a tireless, selfless woman

who inspires hundreds of

women on a daily basis with

her enthusiasm, dedication

and wish for women to be the

best version of themselves.

AFTER officially opening in

February this year, The Cake

Club Leicester has proved to

be a great addition to the


Owner Suk Basra set up a

Facebook page after high

demand from friends and

family for her sweet treats.

Working full-time and making

cakes on the side was a

hobby she enjoyed. But, after

a lot of thought, Suk finally

decided to take the leap and

open an independent cake

shop in Newark Street.

She immediately set about

marketing her business

through social networks

such as Facebook, Twitter

and Instagram.

Suk believes any cake is

possible and she is constantly

developing new flavours.

Family and friends regularly

visit to enjoy tea and cake

and some networking groups

in Leicester are now using

her shop as a meeting venue.

Next year will see a new

website built for the company

and the launch of a delivery

service. Suk’s ranges

include vegan and glutenfree


Runner-up: Caroline Stillman

Runner-up: Lena Patel

0116 254 9710 Eileenrichardsrecruitment.co.uk Twitter: @ERRECRUITMENT1

DUE to a condition called Marfan

Syndrome,24-year-old Caroline

Stillman stands 6ft 4in

and wears size 10-11 shoes.

Spurred on by the fact she

struggled to find fashionable

footwear, and inspired by the

similar experiences of other

women, she launched her own

luxury footwear brand,

Carobella, in 2016.

She studied footwear design

at The London College of Fashion

and De Montfort University

and her endless love for

fashion, combined with the

skills and knowledge she

learned, are “just the beginning”

of her pursuit towards a

career in the industry.

Caroline was recently diagnosed

with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

cancer and has endured

many complications, but she

has not complained or given up


She is still running her business

and even on her worse

days she gets to the post office

to post her orders and does

everything she can to keep her

business thriving.

Her strength has been an inspiration

to all of us and hopefully

to many others out there


LENA founded her business

from a standing start after 23

years working in a bank.

She setup ISJ Financial Planning

in April last year.

Lena says it has been a tough

journey so far.

But she is driven by her desire

to provide a more rounded and

complete level of service and

advice to clients and felt the

bank was not the place to do


So, through a combination of

relentless networking, hosting

and attending events and working

with a select group of clients,Lena

has grownher client

and referrer base exponentially.

She said: “It’s been the best

year of my career and I am extremely

proud of my achievements.

“Financial advice has become

a male-dominated profession

with the average age of an adviser

being 55 and less than 18

per cent being female. I am passionate

about encouraging

more females into the profession.

“I am presently working with

local schools to encourage girls

to consider financial planning

as a career.”



❙ 11


Rising Star Award: Nicol Nightingale


WINNER: Nicol Nightingale, right, with Sarah Lydon, from sponsors Search Consultancy

Celebrating 30 years of

exceptional recruitment

For the third year running, Search Consultancy isproud to sponsor the

‘Rising Star’ Award at the Leicester MercuryWomen in Business Awards.

Whether you’re an employer looking for staff, or you’re looking for

your next career opportunity, Search can help.With anexpert team

of consultants placing candidates across more than 25 industry

specialisms, no recruitment consultancy isbetter placed to meet

your needs.

Accountancy &Finance •Financial Services •HR&Development

Insurance •Legal •Marketing •Sales •Office Services •Doctors

Call &Contact Centre •Hospitality •Medical •Healthcare •Rail

Nursing •Social Care •Aviation •Driving •Industrial •Logistics

Supply Chain •IT, Digital &Change •Energy •Engineering

Oil &Gas •Scientific •Construction •Facilities Management

We’d love to meet and discuss how wecan use our experience to

create atailored solution for your organisation. Please feel free to

contact Sarah at sarah.lydon@search.co.uk or on 0116 247 3338.

Nicol joined Fothergill Wyatt in

April 2016, returning to

mainstream lettings after sixand-a-half

years in the student


As acondition of her employment,

she asked to be put

through the Level 3Technical

Award in Residential Letting

and Property Management

through Propertymark Qualifications

as she knew it would

enhance her industry knowledge

and help her progress in

her career.

Last summer, she studied for

this qualification in her own

time, while working six days a

week and caring for her then

one-year-old daughter.

She passed all four exams,

achieving marks between 90

per cent and 100 per cent.

She was soon promoted to Associate

Director, aged just 32,

and after only 12 months with

the company.

Most recently Nicol applied

for a part-time, voluntary role

with ARLA Propertymark, the

professional body for letting


She beat strong competition

to become a Regional Rep,

which will see her offering

guidance and support to other

letting agents in the region.

2017 Recruiting




In addition, Nicol is focusing

on establishing herself as an industry

expert and, at the same

time, raising the profile of the

business across the city by

partnering up with other

reputable companies, such as

Mazars accountancy firm, to

Runner-up: Abigail Dakin

ABI is the brains behind babywear

and accessories brand

Claude & Co.

She left a comfortable wellpaid

job in May last year to

start her own online children’s

wear business –with the aim of

offering more beautiful and

unique products to stylish parents.

Abi focuses on putting together

an eclectic collection of

considered brands of clothing,

interior décor, toys and books

especially for mums and the

little ones they are buying for.

She looks for timeless pieces

that she hopes will make a

child’s world a creative and

more unique place.

Abi recently launched an

own-brand range of unisex

clothing for infants up to three

years old.

The collection is built on the

design philosophy that unisex

clothing can be unexpected,

defined by style and not be

gender specific in terms of colours

and shapes.

Abi says she is passionate

about small independent

Runner-up: Pamela Sharpe

PAM is the director of small social

enterprise retailer Miss

Pandora, a womenswear


Her company’s mission is to

improve quality through values.

Miss Pandora is a company

that promotes the ’real’female

form, with body positivity.

Its slogans are ‘Own Your

Body’and ‘Every body’s beautiful‘,

with a pledge to only use

real women of different sizes as

models and to always advertise

with open and honest photography

and marketing the best

of ’real life’ with no unrealistic


Miss Pandora produces high

quality garments designed and

manufactured in Leicester to

help boost the local and UK economy.

Pam is keen to contribute to

her community and does this

by fund-raising for Rainbows

Hospice in Loughborough.

She got into retail not because

Sponsored by

hold joint property seminars

for existing and potential new


To achieve so much in such a

short space of time demonstrates

the drive and passion

Nicol has forboth the property

industry and her career.

brands. She said: “Selling our

own clothing brand up against

mighty brands that we know

and love, makes us very


Abi started selling her ranges

wholesale in June as she seeks

to grow the business.

she wanted to make her fortune,

but because she wanted

to try to raise the standards

and values of the industry and

give women a better experience

based on honesty and


Sponsored by

Small Business of the Year: Rosie Harrison


WINNER: Rosie Harrison, right, receives her trophy from Jennifer Thomas, of sponsors FSB

Runner-up: Amanda Daly

AMANDA has ensured that

Dalycom successfully moves

with industry changes while

growing steadily.

One of its biggest achievements

was celebrating its 30th

birthday last year.

The company started in 1986

with no more than one telephone

and has since evolved as

one of the early adopters of

cloud-based services, a move

which helped the company stay

ahead of competition as well as

growing its monthlyrecurring

revenue model to secure the

business for the future.

Amanda’s forward-thinking

and assertive nature has

played a key role in the transformation

of the business, resulting

in a major drive to make

changes both internally and


Runner-up: Gemma Orton

GEMMA established Mocha

Marketing in 2013 because

she wanted to challenge stereotypical

marketing and

communications agencies.

Unlike traditional agencies,

Mocha strives to put their clients

first by working as an extension

of their team, rather

than an external arm.

Where communication is

concerned, Mocha prides itself

on its highly communicative

nature with clients which

sets them aside from the traditional


With a recent office move to

an aspiring business location,

Mocha’s vision for growth is


Their clients work in a vast

range of industries, and vary

from start-ups to million

pound turnover businesses.

Throughout the past three

years, the company has

reached a £170,000 turnover,

achieving an impressive

£100,000 turnover in its first


In recent months, Mocha

A range of cloud-based telephonyand

IT services were added

to the product portfolio to

ensure the company was moving

with the times and keeping

up with changes in technology,

as well as meeting the needs of


A new senior management

team has been put in place to

look after the day-to-dayoperations

of the business,to give the

directors more time to work

strategically on the business,

rather than within it day-today.

In addition to this, a customer

account manager was brought

in to serve the firm’s existing

customer base and provide a

more dedicated service.

The manager is also a single

point of contact for existing

customers to speak to.

Marketing has teamed up with

a digital media partner so it

can offer website, PPC and

SEO solutions.

The team have a united vision

of striving for excellence

and are passionate about

achieving exceptional results

for their clients.

Three years ago, Rosie, a stay

at home mother-of-three,

designed six humorous

greetings cards which she

printed and hoped to sell in a

shop in Kibworth.

They proved to be very popular

and, encouraged by their

initial success, Rosie decided to

expand the rangeand try to sell

them to a wider audience.

Her company Rosie Made a

Thing was launched at the

start of 2015.

Following an initial exhibition

at the NEC which generated

much interest, the company

has gone from strength to


Her cards are designed and

printed in Leicester and are

now distributed to more than

600 retailers in the UK including

John Lewis, Scribbler and


She also exports them to

America, Australia, Hong

Kong, Ireland and Finland.

Turnover in the first year was

£52,000, rising to £270,000 in

year twoand the business is on

track to generate more than

£500,000 in revenue this year.

Rosie employs two people –

her mum, who handles the

website orders, and an office

manager. The rest of the distribution

is carried out by a company

in Gloucester.

In 2016, Rosie Made a Thing

won a prestigious award at the

Henries (the industry greeting

card awards) for her “Gin &

Frolics” range, which won best

Humorous Range.



Get ateam of experts for your business



in the first


As abusiness owner you have to wear many hats. Tax, HR and legal issues can all test your

knowledge and take valuable time out of your company.

Join the Federation of Small Businesses and you will have unlimited access to specialist advice,

exclusive products and services, and anetwork of support to help solve your challenges so you

can achieve your business ambitions.

Join the thousands of FSB member businesses across Leicestershire and take advantage of:


• Taxadvice

• Employment advice

• 24 hour legal



• Business banking

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Contact Development Manager Jennifer Thomas

Call 0116 279 3181, tweet @FSB_L_N_R,

email Jennifer.thomas@fsb.org.uk

• Local networking events

• Government lobbying

for business

• Cyber protection

*FSB Business Essentials membership starts from 142.50 per annum with a£30 registration fee in the first year.This rate is applicable to businesses with no employees.

Rates increase depending on your number of employees. Please see the website for full details of subscription rate bands. †Calls are normally free of charge from UK

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and Small Businesses Limited, Sir Frank Whittle Way, Blackpool Business Park, Blackpool, FY4 2FE. Registered in England No. 1263540



❙ 13


Sole Trader of the Year: Sarah Humphreys


WINNER: Sarah Humphreys, right, with Sue Hull from sponsors Berkeley Insurance

In 2015, Sarah decided she

wanted to create bespoke

wedding fairs, so she launched

Inspired Brides, for creative

wedding specialists and

stylish brides.

After a lot of networking within

the wedding industry, she arranged

her first wedding fairs

at small venues and now works

alongside prestigious wedding

venues across the Midlands

proving her specialist style is a

key to success.

Next came the launch of her

own magazine, created to run

alongside the wedding fairs.

Despite having no formal

training in the publishing

world, Sarah now produces a

quarterly journal for brides-tobe

called Inspired Brides


The concept behind the

magazine is to feature and

showcase wedding venues and

wedding suppliers in a unique

and stylish way, by creating

styled shoots, articles and adverts

for the exhibiting suppliers.

It helps brides to find their

ideal wedding venue and wedding

suppliers to help them create

their dream wedding.

Inspired Brides Magazine is

available in print and online,

2017 2017

Sponsored by

Sponsored by

making it ideal to promote

across social media.

Sarah is exceptionally driven.

She works closely with small

business and wedding venues

discovering how best to promote

their business.

To enable her to do this to the

Runner-up: Estelle Keeber

ESTELLE is a single mum to two

young boys whohas gone from

benefits to profit in a year by

building a successful wedding

photography and online coaching


She says wedding photography

truly is an investment,

being one of the most important

elements of a wedding.

Her ethos is to create images

that tell alove story; images

that will be passed down

through the generations and

treasured forever.

She said: “Astime goes on and

memories fade, your investment

in beautiful photography

will grow in value.

“Because of that, choosing a

photographer will be one of the

most important decisions you

makeduring the planning process.”

best of her ability, she regularly

takes marketing and social media


She is still working single

handily arranging eight wedding

fairs ayear as well as the

quarterly editions of the


Her signature package includes

morning preparations,

starting around two hours before

leaving for the ceremony

through to the end of the evening


Estelle said: “Once I’ve finished

shooting, the work to produce

breath-taking images

does not stop there. I work on

lovingly editing each image in

my dedicated editing suite.”

Woman in the Public Sector Award: Vicki Noble


WINNER: Vicki Nobel, right, is given her trophy by Catherine Bowen, of sponsors Weightmans

Runner-up: Helen Donnellan

AS inward investment director

for the city council, Helen has

been responsible for bringing

3,000 new jobs to the city in the

past three years.

These include Hastings Direct

insurance which has taken

on 900 staff, IBM which has created

100 jobs and PRS forMusic

which will recruit a further 100

local people.

Helen has achieved this

through sheer hard work and a

tenacious determination to

make Leicester the destination

of choice for national companies

seeking to relocate.

Apart from this, she is ableto

find the time to support the local

charity sector by acting as a

trustee for a charity that focuses

on getting young people

into jobs and also provides support

for local businesses that

Runner-up: Miranda Cannon

MIRANDA is an experienced

local government director

who has worked under differing

models of local authority

governance including

most recently an elected

mayor in one of the most diverse

cities in the UK.

She is currently responsible

for leading a complex portfolio

of governance and support

services spanning

people, performance, organisational

change, programme

management, communications

and governance.

She has a breadth of transformational

change, organisational

development and

leadership experience gained

from working in both the

public and private sectors.

This includes a proven

track record in driving major

organisational change and

are looking to grow. Helen is

known as an excellent collaborator,

team player and provides

valuable input into the welfare

of Leicester.

Helen spends a large amount

of time creating apositive feel

for the city with everybody’s

best interests at heart.

She also helps to support businesses

wishing to invest in

Leicester and puts all her effort

and time into integrating into

the business community.

Her hard work and diligence

to supportthe city is commendable

and her ability to work

with the business community

and support them helps to create

a very well rounded and

successful programme.

The marketing of the city

wouldn’t exist without Helen’s

amazing work!

multi-million pound cost reduction


Miranda has worked

across a range of complex

policy issues including community

cohesion, equalities,

and partnership working.

In addition to her many demanding

roles, she is the returning

officer for the elections.

Despite the knowledge that

any mistake could involve

personal consequences and

bad publicity for the council,

she carries out the role in an

organised and efficient fashion.

She does so by planning

well in advance and getting a

team of professional and

highly skilled employees.

Vicki started and has led the

Leicestershire Mental Health

triage car and liaison and

diversion teams since 2013.

The triage car and L&D service

in conjunction with

Leicestershire police has

Forfurther information,

please contactBelinda Moore,

Partner on 0116 242 8926 or email:


meant those with mental

health issues in Leicestershire

and Rutland arediverted away

from the criminal justice system

and into mental health services

when they are assessed as


From initial police interaction

to custody, court, probation,

the triage car and liaison

and diversion team offer mental

health assessments to anyone

with mental health issues.

Vicki deserves recognition for

four years of hard work in developing

the leading service.

Weightmans areproud to sponsor the Women in Business

Public SectorAward.

Weightmans’ public sector reputation speaks foritself.

Atop 45 lawfirm in eightlocations,employing more

than 1,300 people.Weoffer fullrangeoflegalservices

and astrong and fast-growing reputation in the

public sector markets.

We actfor local, police and fireauthorities and a

range of NHStrusts.

With clientsatisfaction scores higher than the

legalindustryaverage, we work hardtoget results

forour clients each and everyday.




❙ 15

Business Woman of the Year: Mehmooda Duke

2017 2017

Sponsored by

Sponsored by

Lifetime Achievement Award: Julie Deane


WINNER: Mehmooda Duke is handed her trophy by Mike Waterfield, of sponsors Torr Wakefield

Torr Waterfield

areproud to sponsor



of the Year

at the 2017 Leicester

Mercury Women in

Business Awards.

Congratulations to all

nominees and winners

on the night.

Park House 37 Clarence Street Leicester LE1 3RW

Telephone: 0116 242 3400 torrwaterfield.co.uk

Mehmooda is founder and a

senior partner of Moosa-Duke

Solicitors, specialising in

medical clinical negligence.

In 2015, she was the first female

Asian president in

Leicestershire Law Society's

155-year history.

Mehmooda defended the NHS

for 10 years. On arriving at

Leicester, she wanted to swap

sides and help people who felt

unfairly treated to win medical

claims against medical bodies.

She says she feels this enables

her to “make adifference to

people's lives. To me the law is

all about looking after people.

"My USP is thatIhave worked

forthe other side.Ipride myself

on being genuine, straighttalking,

being aNorthern girl

from Blackburn.”

Mehmooda nowheads ateam

of 15 people.

Her firm is a niche practice

dealing exclusively with

claims for medical negligence

and is ranked by Chambers

and Partners, a national independent

publication listing the

best Practices and best lawyers,

as a “band 1” firm.

Mehmooda herself is described

in the 2016 edition of Chambers

and Partners as being “in a

league of her own”.

Mehmooda has made a number

of appearances on television

in relation to her cases and

has recently worked with Radio

4to raise awareness of issues

affecting victims of medical


In the non-legal world,

Mehmooda is one of the only

two Asian females on the governing

council of the University

of Leicester.

She was recently appointed to

the advisory board of

Leicestershire County Cricket

Club –the first female to have

achieved this.

She has also recentlybeen appointed

Deputy Lieutenant for

Runner-up: Vicky Jones

VICKY decided to become asolicitor

when she was just 14

years old.

When Vicky’s mum got a job

as alegal secretary at a newly

opened branch of Lawson-West

close to their house,Vicky was

employed to reorganise the

archived filing system thathad

got in to quite a mess.

It was abig project butshe got

it done.

Vickybegan her lawdegree at

Leicester University in 1993

and graduated in 1996.

She then completed her LPC

at De Montfort University in


Vicky was fortunate to be

offered a training contract

with Lawson-West and qualified

in 1999.

She originally wanted to become

a family solicitor but decided

against it after witnessing

the devastating impact divorce

and separation can have

on children.

The world of personal injury

then caught her attention.

This department provided

her with the opportunity to

help people.

Vicky was promoted to joint

Runner-up: Anne-Mari Niemela


Niemela took the helm as 100

per cent shareholder and managing

director of FoxPrint

(Shepshed) Limited two years


When she joined the company

in 2004, she knew nothing

about print. Over the years,

she has worked in every role

across the business so she

could learn the business from

the inside out.

Since taking over as MD, she

has increased annual turnover

to almost £500,000 and has a

growing list of corporate clients

and SMEs.

FoxPrint provides a total print

management solution from its

base in Shepshed to include

packaging and direct mail to

companies throughout the UK

and acts as an outsourced

print room for corporate clients.

Materials are designed, printed,

stored and delivered exactly

where and when clients

Leicestershire and Rutland,

and is only the second Asian female

to be recognised for this

prestigious honour.

Nationally, Mehmooda is the

only Asian female on the executive

board of the Society of

Clinical Injury Lawyers


Mehmooda has presented a

number of programmes on Radio

Ramadan through which

she has inspired young people

to consider pursuing legal careers.

Moreover, she works with local

schools giving talks and appearing

on panels and presenting

at career days.

head of personal injury alongside

her co-director Ashley

Hunt during a time when personal

Injury was a growing

area of work.

With her involvement in overseeing

the department, it grew

from strength to strength and

was the biggest department in

the firm.

Vicky’s progression through

the firmsaw her become a partner

in 2004 and when Lawson-

West became a limited company

in 2011 she became director.

In December 2016, she made

the decision to retrain in planning,

protection and probate in

order to grow,develop and progress

the department.

Vicky's other responsibilities

include overseeing HR and the

firms IT services.

need them. Anne-Mari attributes

FoxPrint’s success to her

team’s commitment to deliver

high quality services, their attention

to detail and the ability

to meet client deadlines every


Anne-Mari’s dedication and

commitment has seen the

team expand recently as new

clients come on board.

She is constantly innovating

within the business and recently

invested heavily in large

print format equipment to further

enhance the company’s

offering to its clients.

Her achievements this year

include gaining the much

coveted FSC accreditation and

she is now working towards

achieving ISO certification.

WINNER: Julie Deane,

founder of Cambridge

Satchel Company. Below,

its Syston factory

Ten years ago, Julie Deane was

at the end of her tether.

Her eight-year-old daughter

was being bullied at school and

she desperately wanted to

move her little girl toanew,

safe school.

This meant finding the money

to send her to a private school.

And if she was going to do this

for her daughter, she felt honour-bound

to do the same for

her son.

That decision made, it was

time to find a way to raise

money for the school fees.

But, in a light bulb moment,

the entrepreneurial Julie came

up with an idea to revive a favourite

item from her own

school days.

So,with just £600 and her kitchen

table to work from, she set

about designing a range of bags

with a distinctive retro style.

She says it took hard work and

determination to get the business

offthe ground, turning to

Google to find all the information

she needed.

Julie is the founder of Cambridge

Satchel Company.

The company may have its

headquarters in Cambridge,

but it makes all its iconic

satchels at its Syston factory,

where it employs morethan 60


What’s more, Julie has recently

employed additional

staff to increase production

from 11,000 bags a month to

around 15,000 bags a month,

with further plans to expand

over the next 12 months.

The Syston factory opened in

2013 after Cambridge Satchel

outgrew its original facility in


Julie regularly visits her

Leicestershire factory and

Mark Fitzpatrick, the factory’s

general manger is a member of

the company’s senior management


He speaks to her daily, in addition

to monthly meetings.

Julie said she is trulycommitted

to keeping the manufacturing

in Leicestershire.

Being made in Britain is an

important part of Cambridge

Satchel Company’s brand messaging.

It has by no means been an

easy journey for Julie and her

team, but she continues to

work to keep margins as low as

possible to enable her to sell the

company’s quality handmade

products at an affordable price.

Julie’s company has grown

from humble beginnings to become

a worldwide phenomenon

through collaborations with

esteemed international designers

including Comme des Garçons

and Vivienne Westwood

and appearances on global catwalks.

A-list stars including Taylor

Swift, Lady Gaga and Alexa

Chung have all been seen sporting

Cambridge Satchel Company’s

iconic ranges.

The company is committed to

preserving British manufacturing

with each bag lovingly

hand made in the UK.

Its products range from classic

satchels to backpacks,

handbags and small leather accessories.

Today, The Cambridge

Satchel Company collections

are sold in more than 120 countries,

in five UK stores and on


Having grown Cambridge

Satchel Company from zero

revenue to abusiness turning

over more than £11 million in

2016, Julie is a worthy winner

of our Lifetime Achievement



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