Woman who leads rural field sought

ENTREPRENEURS who have created sustainable businesses in rural communities are being asked to enter the region’s top business awards for women.

ENTREPRENEURS who have created sustainable businesses in rural communities are being asked to enter the region’s top business awards for women.

Sponsors of the best rural woman entrepreneur category of the North-East Women Entrepreneur of the Year awards are seeking nominations for women who have demonstrated thorough planning and a strong commitment to innovative products in sustainable businesses.

Northumberland County Council is sponsoring this award to emphasise the importance of business to the economy and to encourage the start-ups, expansion and diversification which are so important to the rural economy.

The council’s head of regeneration Alan Wann said: “Women are creating more than a stir in Northumberland, notably the Duchess of Northumberland with the successful development of The Alnwick Garden.

“An enterprising person is hard to define, but we probably recognise one when we see one, in that they are resourceful in making the most of what is available.

“They spot opportunities and threats and respond by thinking creatively and developing new ideas. They have enterprising capabilities, such as generating, identifying and assessing opportunities, channelling and using creative ideas and being flexible in dealing with change.”

The awards, hosted by Durham Business School’s Women Into The Network and now in their eighth year, are seeking nominations from women in all areas of the business community, including The Journal-sponsored best newcomer category.

The North-East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, sponsored by development agency One NorthEast, are aimed at small and medium-sized businesses and designed to raise the profile of businesswomen in the region.

Last year’s winner, Jane Nolan, of north Northumberland’s Shark Group, entered as she was keen to get recognition for the company.

She said: “The awards recognise the strong contribution to enterprise made by women throughout the region and so it is important the awards are well supported and that women enter them to publicise their achievements.

“I was keen to have the recognition for my company as at the end of the day, everything is a team effort.

“So much effort has gone into Shark Group, keeping the company sustainable through a strong commitment to innovation and excellence in design and production, and winning this award was a recognition of that achievement.

“The award has helped us increase our profile and been helpful in our marketing. High profile awards like this help winning companies to present themselves even more positively.”

The full list of categories is: Young Woman Entrepreneur, Best Newcomer, Woman Social Entrepreneur, Best Cultural and Creative Business, Rural Woman Entrepreneur, Woman in Technology or Innovation and Woman in the Service Sector.

The awards will be presented at a gala dinner for up to 700 guests at The Sage Gateshead on Friday, November 16.

Log on to l.d.vickers@durham.ac.uk

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