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Celebrations as the region’s top female WINners are announced

North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year AwardsThe achievements of the region’s most inspirational women in business have been recognised at a glittering awards ceremony.

The winners of the 13th Annual North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards were announced during the ceremony at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead Hotel.

The hotel was among a number of key sponsors for the awards, including UKTI, Barbour, NETPark NET, Darlington Building Society, Spacecraft Events Ltd, North East Social Enterprise Partnership (NESEP) and the Susan Dobson Memorial Fund.

The much-coveted Susan Dobson Award for Entrepreneurship was picked up by Kari Owers, chief executive of PR agency OPR.

This year’s newly-introduced Key Woman of the Year Award, sponsored by Darlington Building Society, went to Paula Gascoigne for her Smile for Life Children’s Charity, and Liz Prudhoe came out on top in the NESEP-sponsored Best Social Enterprise category with her company, Adapt (North East).

The Best Small Business category was picked up by Sarah Pittendrigh, managing director of Simply Bows & Chair Covers, while Best New Business was awarded to Kay Gould, founder of Curtains Made For Free Ltd.

Meanwhile, Jules Quinn, hard-working owner of design-led tea company The TeaShed, picked up the award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

The other winners included Nicola Cook of Aurora Training, who won Best Home Based Business, and Danielle Dunn of Danielle Dunn Creative Agency, who was presented with the NETPark Net-sponsored Best Use of Technology Award for her employment of technology in developing her business.

Nickie Gott, Women into the Network (WIN) chair and founder of events management company She’s Gott It!, which organises the annual awards, said: “It was extremely difficult to select this year’s winners as once again the standard was extremely high.

“I would like to congratulate all of the winners and the shortlisted companies for overcoming the recession and showing incredible entrepreneurship and leadership skills in this difficult economic climate.”

This year the designs for the awards ceremony took inspiration from 2012’s great British summer of sport and were created by Northumberland-based creative design firm Indigo Crow to celebrate the spirit of competition.

For more information on WIN, please visit: www.womenintothenetwork.co.uk.

Here is the full list of winners from this year’s North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards:


The Susan Dobson Award for Entrepreneurship, sponsored by The Susan Dobson Memorial Fund

WINNER: Kari Owers – OPR


The Key Woman of the Year Award, sponsored by Darlington Building Society

WINNER: Paula Gascoigne – Smile for Life Children’s Charity

Runner Up: Rachel Young – TEMP-TEAM


Best New Business, sponsored by Women Into the Network

WINNER: Kay Gould – Curtains Made For Free Ltd.

Runner Up: Caroline Stewart – Bari Tea


Young Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by Women Into the Network

 WINNER: Jules Quinn – The TeaShed

Runner Up: Charlotte Nichols – Harvey & Hugo


Best Small Business, sponsored by Women Into the Network

WINNER: Sarah Pittendrigh – Simply Bows & Chair Covers

Runner Up: Kanchan Chadda – KC Mode


Best Retail Business, sponsored by Barbour

WINNER: Kanchan Chadda – KC Mode

Runner Up: Jessica McLean – Garbeau and Baggers Originals Ltd.


Best Creative Business, sponsored by Spacecraft Events Ltd.

WINNER: Judith Mathias – Home Scents Ltd.

Runner Up: Jude Heron – Jude Heron Interiors


Best Home Based Business, sponsored by Women into the Network

WINNER: Nicola Cook – Aurora Training

Runner Up: Jude Heron – Jude Heron Interiors


Best Use of Technology, sponsored by NETPark NET

WINNER: Danielle Dunn – Danielle Dunn Creative Agency

Runner Up: Linda Day and Tessa Padden – Signworld


Best Woman in International Business, sponsored by UKTI

WINNER: Gill Southern – Wessington Cryogenics Ltd.

Runner Up: Helen Preen – Breastvest Ltd


Best Social Enterprise, sponsored by North East Social Enterprise Partnership (NESEP)

WINNER: Liz Prudhoe – Adapt (North East)

Runner Up: Susan Bickerton – Norcare

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