West Midlands PR director Ranbir Sahota has picked up a prestigious award for women’s enterprise at a ceremony held in Birmingham.
Ms Sahota, director of Vitis Public Relations in Solihull, scooped the regional Ethnic Minority Business Woman of the year title in the 2008 Prowess Awards held at the Hyatt Regency.
"Winning this award is a fantastic accolade," said Ms Sahota. "I am very proud to be amongst the fabulous business women who were nominated for this award and who are making a real difference to the UK today."
The Prowess awards, now in their fourth year, celebrate people who contribute to the growth of women’s enterprise throughout the UK.
Winners include inspirational businesswomen who support and motivate others, the business support advisers and mentors who provide exemplary advice and encouragement and the researchers and journalists who support the sector through compelling and progressive ideas.
Ms Sahota started her company, a virtual PR company for the technology sector, after moving from London to the West Midlands in 2006. She noticed a gap in the market for PR services for the growing number of technology companies based in the West Midlands.
Prowess executive director Erika Watson said: "We received over 300 nominations, many of which were of an exceptionally high standard. Ranbir is to be strongly congratulated for her achievement."
Jackie Brierton, director of the Birmingham-based Women’s Enterprise Centre of Expertise (WECOE) who sponsored the award category said: “Ranbir is a great role model for West Midlands women. She has drawn on the strengths of our regional economy to create and grow a dynamic cutting-edge business."
Judges at the awards included leading women entrepreneurs Penny Newman of Café Direct, chief executive of Nichols Employment Agency Joy Nichols and founder of the SEED Women’s Enterprise Network Lynne Franks.
Ms Franks said: "The sense of empowerment that is achieved by becoming an entrepreneur is life changing and these awards celebrate all those who are inspiring and supporting women to achieve that goal.
"Encouraging women to reach their full potential in business and life is an on-going passion of mine"
Other winners were:
Business Support Professional of the Year: Ellen Kerr, Co-Director of the Women in Business for Merseyside Project;
Business Mentor of the Year: Elain Owen, Managing Director, Designated Associates ;
Outstanding Contribution to Women’s Enterprise Development: Sally Goodsell, Chief Executive, Finance South East Ltd (Sponsored by HSBC);
Inspirational Business Mum: Karen Mattison, Director, Women Like Us (Sponsored by Yell.com);
Women in SET Enterprise: Jeanette Forbes, Managing Director, PCL Group (Sponsored by the UK Resource Centre for Women in SET)
Female Social Entrepreneur: Karen Mattison, Director, Women Like Us (Sponsored by the Office of the Third Sector)
Inspirational Woman: Suzanne Liversidge, Managing Partner of Sheffield Office, Halliwells LLP (Sponsored by WEConnect)
Ethnic Minority Business Woman (National): Lisa Tse, Director, Sweet Mandarin (Sponsored by the WECOE, which is supported by Advantage West Midlands);
Ethnic Minority Business Woman (West Midlands): Ranbir Sahota, Director, Vitis Public Relations (Sponsored by the West Midlands Women’s Enterprise Centre which is supported by Advantage West Midlands)
Women’s Enterprise Researcher of the Year: Dr Rebecca Harding, Managing Director of Delta Economics
Press Award: Margaret Heffernan, for ‘Changing the rules? BBC Radio 4