Re­gion’s fe­male en­trepreneurs shine at awards

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS - LIZZIE MUR­PHY BUSI­NESS RE­PORTER Email: lizzie.mur­ Twit­ter: @lizziec­mur­phy

TWO YORK­SHIRE busi­ness lead­ers were awarded En­tre­pre­neur of the Year ti­tles last night after com­pet­ing with some of the UK’s lead­ing companies.

Di Walker, of Karro Food Group, claimed the UK Trans­for­ma­tional Leader ti­tle while Deb­bie Best­wick MBE, of Team17 Dig­i­tal, was a win­ner in the Dis­rup­tor cat­e­gory of the EY awards.

Mal­ton-based Karro Food Group is one of the UK’s lead­ing sup­pli­ers of pork prod­ucts into the re­tail, food­ser­vice and ex­port mar­kets. Walker played a piv­otal role in the trans­for­ma­tion of the busi­ness through a dif­fi­cult pe­riod, tran­si­tion­ing the busi­ness from loss to profit and res­cu­ing over 1,000 jobs in the process.

Founded in 1990, Wake­field­based Team17 Dig­i­tal is an award­win­ning in­ter­na­tional games la­bel that hosts the Worms fran­chise, Yooka-Laylee, The Es­capists, and oth­ers. Best­wick is dis­rupt­ing tra­di­tional pub­lish­ing, help­ing in­de­pen­dent de­vel­op­ers to set them­selves up as sus­tain­able busi­nesses and bringing through the next gen­er­a­tion of games cre­ators.

Alas­tair Nut­tall, EY part­ner and En­tre­pre­neur Of The Year leader in York­shire, said: “It is fan­tas­tic to see York­shire rep­re­sented in our list of national win­ners, by such im­pres­sive fe­male busi­ness lead­ers.

“Di is a re­mark­able en­tre­pre­neur who has been recog­nised for the piv­otal role she played in the trans­for­ma­tion of Karro Food Group through a dif­fi­cult pe­riod, which saw the busi­ness turn­around from loss to profit while sav­ing 1,000 jobs in the process.

“The judges were also im­pressed by her con­tin­u­ous fo­cus on im­prov­ing com­pany cul­ture by lead­ing from the front.

“Deb­bie’s lead­er­ship has turned Team17 into a suc­cess­ful and sus­tain­able busi­ness model, with sig­nif­i­cant growth over the last three years and in­ter­na­tional ex­pan­sion. The panel also ap­plauded Deb­bie for the pas­sion and drive she demon­strates for her in­dus­try and sup­port­ing young peo­ple within it, in par­tic­u­lar women in the gam­ing in­dus­try.”

Chris Hu­latt and Si­mon Roger­son, co-founders of Lon­don­based Oc­to­pus Group, were named EY En­tre­pre­neur Of The Year UK 2017 over­all win­ner.

The pair set up Oc­to­pus in 2000 with, in their words, “no money and no ex­pe­ri­ence”. They de­scribe how al­most ev­ery­one be­lieved they would fail, but their pas­sion and “ter­mi­na­tor gene” saw them through. They raised funds for the com­pany when they had no prod­ucts, no cus­tomers and no of­fice.

In the last few years Oc­to­pus has en­tered a num­ber of new in­dus­tries – most no­tably en­ergy and health­care. It has be­come the UK’s fastest grow­ing and high­est rated en­ergy sup­plier, now with more than 100,000 cus­tomers.

The com­pany has in­vested more than £1bn in build­ing care homes, GP surg­eries, re­tire­ment vil­lages, hos­pi­tals and spe­cial needs schools through­out the UK.

It is fan­tas­tic to see York­shire rep­re­sented in our list of win­ners. Alas­tair Nut­tall, EY part­ner and En­tre­pre­neur Of The Year leader in York­shire

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