Advisers to business professionals from the West Midlands have been rewarded for their successes at an awards ceremony.
The competition, which was sponsored by Advantage West Midlands’ Enterprise Board and organised by Business Enterprise Support (BES), celebrated the achievement of seven leading professionals, who between them had helped 10,000 companies get off the ground and played a role in creating more than 15,000 jobs.
Star of the show was Women’s Business Development Agency’s Michelle Grindley, who held off strong competition to secure the Business Professional Adviser of the Year title to add to an earlier accolade for her work with minority ethnic companies.
It marks what has been an impressive eight year career, which has seen the coach play a pivotal role in engaging more women from minority backgrounds, including refugees, to look at enterprise as a means of developing their careers.
She has also been responsible for delivering a number of flagship projects for the DTI and Home Office, not to mention launching specialist training sessions for WBDA on ‘Being your own Boss’.
Michelle said: “This is a major surprise, but a very welcome one.
“I’m extremely honoured to be recognised by my peers and the people I’ve tried to assist over the last decade.
“Business advisers play an important role in giving expert advice and guidance and the ‘good ones’, which we have many of in the West Midlands, always go that extra mile to make sure the client is supported in realising their dreams, whether it be starting up, growing or surviving.”
She continued: “I’m deeply passionate about boosting women’s enterprise and I look forward to the next ten years of making a difference to budding entrepreneurs and dynamic business leaders.”
More than 100 delegates attended the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham for the first ever Business Support Professional Awards held in the region.
The competition was designed to promote the excellent work of advisers from the public and private sector and highlight their growing impact on increasing productivity, boosting the enterprise culture and creating jobs.
In addition to WBDA’s Michelle Grindley, there were six other winners:
n Tony Clabby (UnLtd) – Social Enterprise Support Professional.
n Minal Sodha (WBDA) – Women’s Business Support Professional.
n Dave Lewis (Progressive Educational Tools) – Young People’s Business Support Professional.
n Kulwant Chahal (Black Country Enterprise) – Business Consulting Professional.
n Jean Williams (Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council) – Business Information Professional.
n Karen Kirby (Greenshoot Coaching and Training) – Business and Skills Brokerage Professional.
Angela Maxwell, Advantage West Midlands Enterprise board member, said: “We all want the West Midlands to be the most enterprising region in the UK and Europe so it is imperative that we have the right people in place to help support individuals as they try to turn ideas into commercial reality.
“The awards, which are long overdue, celebrate the excellence we currently have in the region for delivering tailored business support to all manner of client groups be it minority ethnic, young people, women and social enterprises,” she added.
Ian Carlier, of Business Enterprise Support, concluded: “With the downturn affecting business confidence more than ever before, the demands placed on our business support professionals are growing by the day and their ability to mentor and provide quality advice and guidance is crucial.
“The awards give them something back and we’re already planning for a bigger and better event next year,” he added.