A Midlands entrepreneur who set up a jewellery company after her life-changing experiences as a victim of the Asian tsunami has scooped an award.
Michelle Mills-Porter, of Bromsgrove, set up Cherish Jewels after returning from Sri Lanka with her husband, Stewart, where the couple had been caught up in the horrors of the disaster in December, 2004.
They had been holidaying in Hikkaduwa, celebrating a successful year for Michelle’s company, Fizz Bang Marketing, when the tsunami struck.
“We spent a week without a roof over our heads, wondering if we had enough water to survive, surrounded by people who had lost everything,” Michelle said.
“It made me re-evaluate everything that was important to me.”
Returning home, Michelle began making jewellery as a therapeutic hobby whilst she recovered from her injuries, which quickly developed into her own business.
She uses gems in their natural form, and tries to support small businesses in third world countries.
Michelle won the award for Best New Business at the Go-Woman! Business Conference after judges were impressed by her determination.
Clare Hill of Go-Woman! said: “Not only did Michelle meet our criteria most closely in this category but we felt she had particularly dedicated her time and expertise to helping to create opportunities for other women to advance, particularly in an area of the world where there are few.”
Davinder Kaur, of community support group Sandwell Women’s Enterprise Development Agency, was another winner at the event, taking the honour of Best Female Social Entrepreneur.
“Davinder has shown courage, leadership and selflessness and was considered in particular to have been an exemplary role model inspiring those around her to fulfil their business ambitions,” said Yasmin Akhtar, of Go-Woman!”