WINTER GARDENS - BLACKPOOL
FRIDAY 23 SEPTEMBER 2022
To mark the 10th Anniversary of the Enterprise Vision Awards we are highlighting ten of our EVA Winners - our EVA Stars! Women who have made an impact on us as well as the EVAS over the years. Click on the Stars and find out how winning an Enterprise Vision Award made a difference to them and their business.
Denise Armer and Jane Halpin
Unique Kidz and Co
Unique Kidz and Co
Jane Halpin and Denise Armer, two local mums, founded Unique Kidz and Co in 2009 when they couldn’t find any suitable childcare for their own disabled children.
Starting from a box in their kitchen, the charity has grown over the past 12 years beyond their wildest dreams and has helped hundreds of local families. The pair have often been referred too as “just two mums” but through meeting them you cannot help but be inspired. Their passion and commitment shines through and has meant that Unique Kidz and Co continually goes from strength to strength.
The duo first made their connection with Pink Link back in 2009, when both businesses first opened their doors and Unique Kidz and Co have been members ever since.
Jane and Denise won their first EVA in 2012 for New Business and can still remember to this day celebrating their win. Since then, they also went on to win the Inspirational Women Award in 2013 and Small Business of the Year in 2014.
"The New Business EVA award in 2012 was the first award we have ever won for Unique Kidz and Co and I will never forget hearing our name. To go on and win another 2 EVA awards in the years to follow was mind-blowing and the publicity from it has made a huge difference to Unique Kidz and Co! Through Pink Link we have made so many connections and relationships that in turn have created opportunities for the charity and raised a lot of income and awareness! Pink Link helped us to shout about who we were and what we did – it gave us the best platform and for that we will always be so grateful! It changed us from “just two mums” to two “inspirational business women” – all from one nomination!"
The charity started off with one summer holiday club in 2009 which had 65 children attending. It is now open 52 weeks of the year and runs multiple services including afterschool and holiday clubs for children aged 5-19, daytime support sessions for young adults aged 18-30, a siblings group, and weekly stay and play sessions for children under 5 and their parents.
In 2021, Unique Kidz and Co announced the purchase of it’s previously leased home on Woodhill Lane in Morecambe along with the large plot of land directly next to it securing its future making sure all young people with disabilities have a place to go to play, have fun, make friends and be unique! The announcement was by far the biggest in the charity’s history and marks the start of a new chapter.
Looking to the future seems a lot brighter following the purchase of the building and Jane and Denise are currently leading the Unique Kidz and Co team through lots of new and exciting plans that will make a huge difference to local families. The charity is now looking for lots of support from local businesses and the local community to help make even more of their dreams come true.
The Enterprise Vision Awards celebrate the achievements of women from all sectors.
In 2018, Helen Tonks, co-Founder of Hydraulics Online won the Internet Industry Award. Her entrepreneurial spirit and drive have built an award-winning, global business exporting hydraulic equipment and systems to customers in 130 countries across the world.
Whilst her husband is the hydraulics expert, Helen’s skills in finance services and strategic change have helped the business to capitalise on opportunities and make ideas happen. By investing in their branding and website, they have increased their online sales and market penetration. Whilst China is the world's largest exporter, Greater China is Hydraulic Online's largest export market.
Securing ISO 9001 accreditation from the British Standards Institute enabled them to gain valuable knowledge of their customers’ needs and has been an invaluable source for continuous improvement.
As a parent to six children, Helen is no stranger to juggling the work/life balance. As well as being the Operations Director for the business, she is also a parent governor and frequently gets involved in fundraising and showing her support for local businesses.
Being a successful businesswoman in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Helen had her moments of imposter-syndrome and a fear of not being taken seriously.
When we asked her about entering the EVAS she said:
“I would never have put myself forward for something like this, but once I was told that I’d been nominated I was thrilled! And flattered, of course. I’d like to thank whoever nominated me – these awards are a fantastic way to celebrate women in business.
To anyone entering the EVAS, my top tips would, quite simply, be to be your genuine, authentic self. Make sure that you can back up/evidence everything that you say but let your personality shine through to make sure that you really stand off the page. Write your application in good time ahead of the deadline too, but then step away from it for a while before you actually submit it: give yourself the opportunity to gently reflect on it and make edits in your own head to fine tune and add in additional details that you may forget first time around.”
Helen is determined to continue leading Hydraulics Online to achieve even more recognition with a further 10 awards won since she received her award at the EVAS. We’re sure that there will be many more to come!
Introducing Rachel Haslam, Founder of Team Academy and winner of the 2011 and 2015 Enterprise Vision Awards Training and Coaching Award.
Rachel has been in business for over 12 years with a amazing team of awesome trainers! She has people development at the heart of everything she does. With over 20 years of training experience she has reached over 56,000 people to date.
She is a powerful, engaging, and entertaining speaker on change management, team dynamics, mindset and leadership. Her on-stage energy lights up the room and as such audience members find her hugely relatable and likeable.
Rachel is in demand as someone who can help increase turnover, boost morale, reduce absenteeism and improve customer service figures. The Team Academy ethos is to create a shift, for leaders and managers, in their attitude, approach and ability to lead teams.
The results across the board are astounding and have been enjoyed by a diverse range of organisations, in both private and public sectors. Her clients include Hilton, Aldi, NHS and Virgin.
When we asked Rachel about the impact winning at the EVAS had on her business, she said
"We have gone from strength to strength. We saw an immediate ripple as we started to win more contracts and my team grew from 5 trainers to 10 trainers. We won the Customer service programme for a Aldi. We designed and created the largest customer experience programme to any retailer in the UK. We trained over 29,000 people in 6 months, and we reduced their customer complaints by 28% and increased customer spend by 10%. Aldi won 6 awards off the back of our training!
Ruth Doyle - MD, Aldi said "This is the best delegate feedback that I've read in 19 years!
We also won local programmes too, and contracts with smaller companies too.
Over the last 12 months we have won Best HR and L&D Supplier at the CIPD awards, Hero award at the BIBAs and was also a finalist in the people magazine for outstanding programmes.
I would encourage anyone to shout about what you’ve achieve. It important to celebrate your successes. Success breeds success. Get in front of a panel, challenge yourself!"
Team Academy has gone on to design some of the most challenging and engaging programmes in the UK. We're not stopping there though - our goal is to be the most engaging training provider in the UK by 2023!
Introducing Jane Hugo of Streetlife Blackpool - Outstanding Achievement Award Winner, 2018 Enterprise Vision Awards.
This is Jane's journey:
Winning the EVA's "Outstanding Achievement Award" in 2018 is one of my proudest achievements. It did wonders for my confidence, it raised the profile of Streetlife and led to a £10,000 grant from the NatWest.
My connection with Coral, Pink Link and the EVAs began in Autumn 2016 when I gave a presentation about Streetlife at a Business Leader's breakfast. I was a trembling bag of nerves and was really disappointed with myself but little did I know that was to be my turning point. Coral introduced herself and invited me to be a guest at the next Pink Link meeting. I loved it.
One year later, I was a finalist in the Inspirational Woman category and the year after that I won the "Outstanding Achievement Award". I stood up in front of hundreds of people to celebrate the win and promote the charity Streetlife. I loved every minute of it and got a standing ovation. My fear of public speaking was overcome.
I was able to promote Streetlife in the build up to the event, at the event itself and at the celebrations afterwards. I am a bit of a Facebook fanatic and was thrilled with the "nominee" and "finalist" frames that we were able to use. During my winner's speech, I invited everyone at the EVAS awards ceremony to participate in our annual Big Sleepout in the following March 2019. We raised a phenomenal £47,000 from this event.
My award was sponsored by NatWest. Heather Waters from the NatWest came to visit Streetlife to find out more about our work and suggested we apply for a £10,000 grant. I applied and we were were successful! We were able to use the money to help vulnerable young people develop their independent living skills through cook and eat training sessions.
All in all, the EVAs have been an amazing experience. A great opportunity to celebrate our achievements, to network, connect with other women in business and the charity sector, share good practice, develop skills and make friendships.
The Outstanding Achievement Award is sponsored by NatWest. The winner is chosen out of all the Finalists in the Enterprise Vision Awards.
Introducing Susanna Lawson of OneFile - Outstanding Achievement Award Winner, 2019 Enterprise Vision Awards.
We asked Susanna to share her EVAS journey to help women who may be thinking of entering or who may have been nominated. Have a read - just think, this could be you!
When I realised someone had nominated me for an EVAs I was completely shocked and humbled that someone had taken the time to put my name forward.
It was a fantastic process and I loved the interview panel. It was really nerve wracking but I did my best to be honest about my journey. Business is not always about the successes and there are a lot of lows too which I shared. It was a great experience and I met some brilliant other finalists there too.
A friend of mine's wife was also a finalist, so we were on the same table for the awards. It was great to speak to the other finalists on our table, to hear about their businesses and to share the excitement of the evening.
During the awards I had researched the others shortlisted in my category and they were amazing, inspirational women so I was not surprised when I did not win. I just thought oh well - I'm having a great night out with my husband and friends.
Then came the announcement for the winner of the outstanding achievement award - I love hearing about why people have been chosen as a winner. As I listened at first the feedback was quite generic and you would not be able to identify who it was but as it started to become more specific about the sector and achievements I started to tick off they all applied to me! I was absolutely blown away to have won! Finalists also got to choose the music they got to walk to the stage with - I had chosen Elbow - Magnificent which just gave me goose bumps to walk to the stage too.
The whole experience was fantastic and I would definitely recommend nominating yourself or others for an award!
If you've been nominated but haven't completed your form - what are you waiting for? Who knows where it might lead!
Winner of the Business Woman of the Year award at the 2014 Enterprise Vision Awards, Melissa Snover is an entrepreneur, visionary, and a trendsetter in the world of food technology and 3D printing.
Since winning the award with her brand Goody Good Stuff - the world’s first vegan, natural and allergen-free fruit gum, Melissa has gone on to new heights with her new businesses. She is the founder and CEO of Rem3dy Group which produces personalised health solutions across nutrition and medicine under the brands Nourished and Scripted. Nourished is the world’s first truly customised nutrition product which uses patented 3D printing technology and a vegan encapsulation formula to combine 7 different active ingredients into one personalised nutrition gummy stack. Scripted is set to be the first 3D printed personalised medicine dispensary and combination solution to the market. Melissa has also partnered with the successful German Katjes family corporation to create a pioneering concept which allows the consumer to 3D print delicious vegan gummy candy in anything from Sweet Selfies and logos to 3D messages and shapes in just 5 minutes.
Since winning her EVA, Melissa has been recognised as Innovator Award Winner 2019 at the Women in Tech Awards, Start Up Entrepreneur of the Year at the Nat-West GBEA in 2017 and Insider Magazine 100 Most influential Women 2014, to name a few. Nourished has also won multiple awards since launching late last year including Best Food Tech Innovation 2019 at the Food Matters Awards, Start-up Company of the Year 2019 at the Silicon Canal Awards and Supreme Champion at the Future Food Awards.
Melissa said “I was delighted to win at the Enterprise Vision Awards back in 2014, and it is wonderful to see that the awards ceremony has gone from strength to strength since then. Winning such a prestigious award for my first consumer brand amongst such impressive peers gave me the confidence and encouragement to continue along my entrepreneurial journey and disrupt new markets with innovative solutions.
I am a huge advocator of women in business and am honoured to be asked by EVAS to help them celebrate their 10th anniversary, and the achievements of female entrepreneurships from across the UK. I believe it is extremely important that we continue to recognise the efforts of women in business, to encourage networking and collaborations between female business leaders and to inspire a new generation of female entrepreneurship.”
Holly Moore of Make Events won Business Woman of the Year at the 2015 Enterprise Vision Awards!
Holly Moore founded Make Events with zero investment. In seven years, her turnover has grown to £4m without resorting to borrowing from the banks. Her clients include Puma, Vimto, Twitter, Autotrader, Booking.com, ITV, BetFred and Kellogg’s. During lockdown, Holly realised that she couldn't wait for events to recommence - so she pivoted to adapt to the new normal by creating stunning virtual events using a fully customisable events studio with the latest technology. She also launched a new business! HM Events providing private parties - you can guarantee they will be the ultimate experience!
We asked Holly to tell us about her EVAS experience. She said:
"I was nominated for an Eva in 2015. I found the interview process nerve wracking as it was really done properly with a presentation that you could interpret in anyway you saw fit. It was a great experience but I had stiff competition.
I was so sure that I wasn’t going to win that I just went with a friend who had been nominated for another award in a different category. We thought "Oh well we will enjoy it and have a night out!".
The night itself did not disappoint with all the magic touches – a great band on arrival, light up letters, pink chocolates and a pink cheese board.
When I heard my name called I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited and it just built my self-esteem that year.
I loved attending the winners event and have kept in touch with the team since."
Since winning her EVA, Holly has gone on to win a number of awards and is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines. If you would like to see how Holly has adapted to the covid-19 restrictions, click this link to watch her video.
Founded in 2009 by Jen Blackwell who has Down's syndrome and driven by her passion for dance, DanceSyndrome is an inclusive charity that has learning disabilities at the forefront of its leadership and delivery.
DanceSyndrome provides a holistic programme of dance activity that is designed specifically to meet the needs of learning disabled people. Offering flexibility and choice whilst promoting leadership, independence, creativity and individuality.
Driven by a model of co-production, DS’s team of dance leaders with learning disabilities and professionally trained dance artists work one to one to create and deliver inclusive community dance workshops, dance technique classes, dance leadership training, inclusion training and astounding dance performances, all tailored to the needs of individuals, families, communities and professionals.
The Dance Leader Team inspires everyone to believe that possibilities are endless for people with disabilities and challenge the perceptions held by Society that learning-disabled adults have barriers to achieving a life worth living.
Jen and DanceSyndrome unlock the potential and possibility for people who have barriers to following their dreams. Winning the Enterprise Vision Awards Inspirational Woman of the Year in 2015 made Jen's dream come true.
From then on she and her charity have gone from strength to strength gaining many awards, substantial funding and growing from a small Lancashire-based company to working across the UK reaching thousands of people. All stemming from one woman's dream to get the world dancing.
The National Lottery wanted to recognise Jen with a fabulous secret surprise and feature her on National television.
For Jen’s Big Surprise, The National Lottery arranged for her to meet her heroine, the singer Alexandra Burke, at the world-famous Pineapple Dance Studios in London and perform her own specially choreographed dance to the singer’s hit record, Hallelujah! The National Lottery filmed the heart-warming results.
Jen said: “I just can’t put into words how I felt. It was just amazing, I was totally lost for words. It was most definitely big hugs all around.
“I love Alexandra and have always admired her. She is such a fantastic inspiration. It was incredible to be able to perform for her at Pineapple Dance Studios – something which was totally beyond my wildest dreams.
Jen has gone on to win many personal awards including being listed as a leader on The Disability Power 100 list and The Shaw Trust Leaders List and last year DanceSyndrome won The Queens Awards for Voluntary Services, the MBE for groups. Jen said, "It is the most amazing thing ever. I could never have thought DanceSyndrome could have won this award when we started out 10 years ago when it was just me with no one, nowhere to go, no other dancers”.
Jen was invited to Buckingham Palace to celebrate and has since been invited to the House of Lords to talk about her incredible achievements.
DanceSyndrome Managing Director Dawn Vickers said "For charities like DanceSyndrome the Queens Award for Voluntary Services is the highest honour that we can achieve, and we are thrilled to have been chosen to receive the award this year. DanceSyndrome wouldn't exist without the hard work and dedication of Jen and our incredible team of Dance Leaders. We are delighted that their effort has been recognised at such a high level. It's all inspired by the wonderful Jen Blackwell".
DanceSyndrome - dancer led, disability inspired.
Introducing the 2015 Enterprise Vision Awards Financial Services winner, Jackie Hyde, Managing Director of Stanmore Insurance.
We asked Jackie to share her thoughts and experiences on being involved with the EVAS. Here is what she wrote:
My nomination was really important in 2015 as my personal and business life had been particularly challenging. I had been diagnosed for breast cancer and the day of judging was only a few after reconstructive surgery. At this time I had lost confidence and just being nominated gave me a boost. To then go on to be a finalist then win was so uplifting.
I have come to learn that many women do not recognise their own skills and abilities. Nomination, finalist and/or winner provides you with recognition and a sense of thanks for doing a good job.
The judging process makes you consider carefully what you are doing and what you have achieved and where you are planning to go which is so important for all businesses.
Opportunities that immediately came from winning:
Interviewed on our local radio and BBC Radio Lancashire when I was invited to go along to discuss the impact of winning an EVA. This helped to promote me and my business.
Interviewed by Working Mums, Talented Ladies Club and 2Inspire.
Featured in Lancashire Life Leading Ladies article twice and in the coverage for the EVAS winners in 2015.
I have subsequently decided to give my time and financial resources to promote women who are often not recognised, or more importantly, do not realise how good they are.
My work to date:
Sponsored EVAs as wanted to give something back
Sponsored Inspire Women’s Awards in 2019 and Stanmore is the Headline Sponsor in 2020
Ambassador for Social Enterprise Girls Out Loud
Ambassador for Insuring Women’s Futures
Ambassador for Inspire Awards and a Lead Judge for Business Woman of the Year Category
Winning the EVA has proven the importance of awards for my business and since 2015 we have won the following:
2016 Patron of the Year Bolton Lads and Girls Club
2017 Scheme Broker of the Year Insurance Times Award
2018 Inspire Women’s Awards Business Woman of the Year
2019 Seed Bomb for work completed as an Ambassador for Girls Out Loud
2020 Scheme Broker of the Year National Insurance Award
The most important aspect of the EVA award is that it helped to boost my confidence. Since winning, I will not miss opportunities that comes my way and I have grown as a person and female leader of a business. My business continues to grow and be successful.
My top tip: I regularly nominate others for awards as I want people to have the same buzz I did.
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