Cream of the business crop honoured at North East Woman Entrepreneur Awards

Training and skills specialist Judith Moran, of Learning Curve Group, receives prestigious Susan Dobson Award for Entrepreneurship


The achievements of the region’s top female business leaders have been celebrated once again at the 15th annual North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Wading through a record number of entries this time round, judges were looking for candidates who excelled at providing focused and clear leadership abilities while either running or playing key roles in North East businesses.

High quality entries came forward from a variety of sectors, with training and skills specialist Judith Moran claiming the top honour at the awards night in the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead.

Mrs Moran, whose company Learning Curve Group is based in Bishop Auckland, was also recently named as the Durham and Wearside winner in The Journal’s North East Business Executive of the Year Awards.

On receiving the latest accolade, she said: “I was astounded to be shortlisted and just cannot believe I have won. It is a real testament to all those on the team who have made this happen; I am delighted.”

Event organiser Nickie Gott, who chairs the North East Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Advisory Board, WIN Ltd, and is the founder of events management company She’s Gott It!, said: “I’d like to congratulate all the winners who made judging this year’s event so difficult.

“It is a cliché to say it gets harder every year, but the caliber of entries this year was phenomenal.

“Judith Moran is the latest in a long line of incredibly impressive female entrepreneurs to scoop the Susan Dobson Memorial Award.

“Her business acumen, knowledge of her industry and standing in the local business community meant she really stood out as this year’s most impressive candidate.”

The North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards were this year combined with the If (Inspiring Females) Conference, held at Northumbria University.

NECC director of policy, Ross Smith, said: “I am proud that NECC is able to support such an important event that has established itself as a key date in the business calendar.

“We need more people in our region to start their own business.

“If anyone needs inspiration they only need look at the list of winners and runners up for these awards.”

The winners

Best Retail Business

Winner: Kirsty Giblin, The Pudding Parlour

Runner up: Jacqui Corney, Boudoir Lingerie

Best Creative Business (sponsored by The R&B Group)

Winner: Maccine Hall, Designs Unique

Runner up: Samantha Davidson, Horizonworks

The Key Woman Award (sponsored by AkzoNobel)

Winner: Kate Culverhouse, Groundworks NE and Cumbria

Runner up: Lynden cook, One Awards

Best Use of Technology (Business Durham)

Winner: Gillian Frary, Car 2 U Ltd

Runner up: Jill Rowe, Digitalab

Going Places Award (sponsored by UKTI)

Winner: Kay Gould, Curtains Made For Free Ltd

Best Small Business (sponsored by Tees Valley Business Compass

Winner: Kay Gould, Curtains Made For Free Ltd

Runner up: Sarah Pittendrigh, Simply Bows and Chair Covers

Best New Business (sponsored by NECC)

Winner: Jo York, Reframed TV

Runner up: Kirsty Giblin, The Pudding Parlour

Best Social Enterprise (sponsored by AkzoNobel)

Winner: Nora Taylor, Lamesley Childcare

Runner up: Bethany Ainsley, Nouveau Dance and Fitness

Young Entrepreneur of the Year (sponsored by Northumbria University)

Winner: Alice Blackie, Pink Boutique Ltd

Runner up: Laura Leigh Wayman, Childs Play Private Nursery

Best Home-based Business (sponsored by WIN Ltd)

Winner: Angela Sterling, Lingotot

Runner up: Maccine Hall, Designs Unique

The Susan Dobson Award for Entrepreneurship (sponsored by The Susan Dobson Memorial Fund)

Winner: Judith Moran, Learning Curve Group

Runner up: Kate Culverhouse, Groundwork NE and Cumbria


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer