Region’s female entrepreneurs shine at awards
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