13 Jun 2024

Finalists for Enterprising Women Awards 2024 announced

Picture of Enterprising Women Summer Networking Event 2024

2024’s Enterprising Women Awards shortlist has been revealed at a Summer Networking event at Leicestershire’s Kilworth House Hotel.

Entrants of the 10 award categories for 2024 were treated to an afternoon tea accompanied by pianist Christopher Langdown on 13th June as the names of the finalists were unveiled.

The Enterprising Women Awards recognise outstanding achievements of women in the East Midlands business community and will be announced at a ceremony at Winstanley House in Leicestershire on 20th September.

Picture of Enterprising Women Summer Networking Event 2024

Enterprising Women Co-Chair Eileen Perry said: “On International Women’s Day the theme was ‘Inspire Inclusion’ and these awards are part of embracing and celebrating our differences.  The theme of promoting, growing and succeeding is something that we see year on year with the people that apply for the awards.  There are people who, for example, have applied for a category like Apprentice of the Year and then gone on to win Female Entrepreneur of the Year.  It’s not about the fall of men; it’s about the rise of women and believing in themselves more.”

Enterprising Women Co-Chair Jean Mountain said: “Year in, year out, over the years these awards have been phenomenal.  We’ve been doing these awards for around 15 years now and the standard of entries gets higher and higher each year.  We set the bar really high and you see it with the fabulous names of finalists that come through and the companies they represent.”


Michelle Williams from Meesh Consulting was revealed as a finalist in three categories – Female Entrepreneur of the Year, Small Business of the Year and Businesswoman of the Year. She said: “I feel a bit overwhelmed, I wasn’t expecting it and it’s a real privilege.  These awards really make a difference.  We should be celebrating women and female leaders are exceptional.”

Blu Hardy, Marketing Manager at Hardy Signs was shortlisted for the Social Commitment Award and said: “When I heard the other names in my category, I thought there would be no chance of being shortlisted, so I’m quite overwhelmed.  To win would reaffirm the hard work I’ve done over the last year, stand me in good stead for my career and give me a massive confidence boost.”

Sarah Higgins, owner of Sarah Higgins Corporate Coaching, sponsor of the Emerging Leader Award said: “What we’re looking at is probably someone who hasn’t necessarily risen to the top because there are leaders at all levels of an organisation.  Quite often they don’t get all the credit and are perhaps less visible then the most senior leaders.”

Bhavin Gandhi, Director and Co-owner of Paradigm Wills and Legal Services, sponsor of the Lifetime Achievement Award said: “We’ve seen the world has been dominated by male leaders and it’s great to see that’s now changing and these awards allow women to fulfil their potential.”

Lindsey Williams, Chief Executive of Futures Housing Group, sponsor of the Apprentice of the Year Award said: “You get a really good grounding in a business as a trainee so it’s great to judge young people new in their careers, to see them grow.  The standard was so high that we wanted to see that little bit extra from the entries, where they’d put themselves forward or perhaps overcome something.”

Nicki Robson, Managing Director of Breedon Consulting, sponsor of the Team of the Year Award said: “We’re a company of HR advisers, we work with businesses in how to make their teams the best they can be – and a strong team makes a good business. Sponsoring this award made good sense to us.”

Picture of Enterprising Women Summer Networking Event 2024


Full list of finalists for the Enterprising Women Awards 2024:

Businesswoman of the Year (sponsored by Michael Smith Switchgear)

Bhumika Parmar – BP Legal

Lai-Yee Cheung – Sanjay Foods

Andrea Grey – PPL PRS

Jo Jepson – Base 51

Michelle Williams – Meesh Consulting


Female Entrepreneur of the Year   (sponsored by Fraser Stretton Property Group)

Katy Upton – Fortitude Nicsa

Laura Holland – EcoTech Engineers

Jo Bekis – MediLink Midlands

Michelle Williams – Meesh Consulting

Poonam Sharma – Barclays 


Social Commitment Award (sponsored by Tomato Energy) 

Jessica Popplewell-Barker – Rykneld Homes

Emma Sharpe – Menphys

Sally-Anne Hurn – Duncan & Toplis

Natalie Dunbar – Consultus

Blu Hardy – Hardy Signs

Bodie Hodges Foundation – Bodie Hodges Foundation


Female Employee of the Year (sponsored by Nelsons)

Jay Dodson – Base 51

Sarah Spray – Menphys

Anne-Marie Hunt – NatWest

Charlotte Barker – The Maynard

Lai-Yee Cheung – Sanjay Foods

Hannah O’Brien – Colleague Box


Team of the Year (sponsored by Breedon Consulting)

Base 51 – Base 51

Family Law & Care Team – Timms Solicitors

Olivia Beesley, Jodie Pringle – Purpose Media

Summit Creative – Summit Creative

The Maynard – The Maynard

Bodie Hodges Foundation – Bodie Hodges Foundation


Apprentice of the Year Award (sponsored by Futures Housing Group)


Elena Richards – Rolls-Royce

Amber Whitby – Pentaxia

Sarah Illsley – Pentaxia

Lillie Jeffries- Williams – Rolls-Royce

Manhoor Akhter – Rolls-Royce


Emerging Leader Award (sponsored by Sarah Higgins Corporate Coaching)


Lai Yee Cheung – Sanjay Foods

Alice Houghton – The George Hathersage Longbow Venues

Bethany Grundy – PPL PRS

Ruby Birks – Purpose Media

Kamila Rozkowska – M&E Accident Repair Centre Ltd


Small Business Award (sponsored by Unique Window Systems)

Jo Bekis – Medlilink

Michelle Williams – Meesh Consulting

Sabrina Sudera – Design Studio Architects

Laura Holland – Ecotech Engineers

Rachel Biddles – Blueprint Interiors


She Who Innovates Award (sponsored by Pick Everard)


Kate Allan – ExpHand

Jo Bekis – Medilink Midlands

Preethi Kang – Qinesis

Deborah Chester – RimPro Tech

Elena Richards – Rolls-Royce PLC


Lifetime Achievement Award          (sponsored by Paradigm Wills)

To be announced at the ceremony


To attend the Enterprising Women Awards 2024 please click here.