Our Judges

We have developed our judging over 17 years and our judges, all top business people within their chosen arena, have cited our awards as both the most transparent and professionally executed. Each application is scored by up to 4 different judges from a panel of up to 30 judges, all applications are seen by different members of the judging panel. The judges spend over several hours and score not only their own sponsored category but several others too, this ensures transparency. The first page of questions is designed to give the judges a real feel for your business, followed by several questions that are scored from 1 to 5. It is worth noting that although all judging is computer based please ensure you upload images or screen shots of all important pages. There are no site visits or presentations involved. The finalists are chosen by adding all the scores and up to 16 entrants can make it through to the final, however if scoring is low, less entrants make it through. Should you wish to read our Top Tips, please click HERE

Justin Belobaba

Founder & CEO | Nowsite

Justin Belobaba is the Founder & CEO of Nowsite. A serial tech entrepreneur with three successful exits, he was also recognized as the Canadian Young Entrepreneur of the Year. A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard, Justin is a Crossfit enthusiast and a proud dad to three awesome young boys.

Bridie Cunningham

Director | Portman Scott

Bridie began her career on a graduate training scheme with retailing giant Marks and Spencer. During a 15-year career in the company she had a number of senior sales and operational roles, both in the UK and overseas. She then moved to Carphone Warehouse where she was Head of UK Retail Productivity and was a member of the team that helped the business enter the FTSE 100. After running her own fashion business, Bridie became fascinated by the role that timely and efficient recruitment could play in a company’s success and founded Portman Scott with Bernard Howard in 2012.

“I come from a sales and marketing background, and over the years I’ve hired numerous people for my teams. The recruitment process wasn’t always smooth and sometimes it was frustratingly longwinded. So in 2012, when Bernard and I founded Portman Scott, we set about creating the kind of recruitment firm we would have wanted to work with in our previous roles.

One that quickly understood the business, one that could work flexibly and quickly, and – most importantly – one that could find high quality candidates who could make an immediate contribution to the organisation.”

Rachel Pernak-Brennon

Principal & Founder | Cambridge College of Holistic Health

Rachel is Principal & Founder of Cambridge College of Holistic Health, offering Online & In-person courses Worldwide, for all abilities with a passion to learn more about Holistic Health.

Told she would ‘not amount to much’ growing up with low self-esteem, not academic (initially failing all her GCSE’s), she worked on her Mindset, passed her exams & later received an offer from The University of Cambridge to study a teaching degree in Education. “Seeing my name on all my certificates, I forget all those who put me down and written me off growing up. Education gave me the confidence to know I could do whatever I set my mind to”. This is why she is known for her Passionate teaching style and her Supportive & Inspiring way amongst all her thousands of students.

She also coaches on Empowering Women, so winning the Women in Business Award 2020/21 meant so much to her, as she feels women put themselves down and under-estimate just how much potential they really have, I see in them what they don’t see themselves!

When not at www.cchh.co.uk, Rachel spends time with her beautiful twin girls, Issy & Ellie, her husband Clive and her rescue dog, Ruby.

Sara Searle

Head of HR and Payroll | Liebherr GB

Sara has worked within Human Resources for over 20 years for a variety of companies. She joined Liebherr-Great Britain and Ireland as Human Resources Manager some 14 years ago where she set up the HR Department from scratch. Now as Head of HR and Payroll with a team of 5, they support in excess of 400 employees spread out over 9 sales and service centres across the UK and Ireland. Sara feels privileged to be a judge for the fifth year running and is excited to see what the future holds for these outstanding businesses.

Sarah Horwood

Managing Director/Owner | Sure Aesthetics

Sarah is the proud Owner of Sure Aesthetics, Laser, Anti-ageing and Permanent Makeup Clinic plus Sure Permanent Makeup Training: she is a highly qualified aesthetics practitioner running a well established and multi award winning clinic and training students.

With 25 years plus of experience within the Aesthetic industry she is a true expert in her field and a qualified clinical trainer in the UK. She is well known for her high level of expertise using a varied selection of lasers. She has worked with Plastic Surgeons at Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre for injured soldiers through to being invited to appear on live ITV television, documentaries and radio as a laser specialist. She has opened a training school for permanent makeup ensuring industry standards are kept high and students can be given individual help, ensuring they gain in confidence and skills alike.

In 2018 her award winning started with Best Aesthetics Clinic in the South swiftly followed with the National award for Best Aesthetics Clinic at the same glittering award ceremony. In 2019 her award winning continued with an Influential Business Woman Award winning the Most Renowned Aesthetician. The last three years she has also won Best Anti-ageing Aesthetics Clinic 2020, Best Aesthetics Clinic 2021, and Most Innovative Aesthetics Clinic 2022 and followed that with Best Permanent Makeup Trainer in the Home Counties 2023.

Sarah owns Sure Aesthetics a multi award winning clinic which resolves peoples face and body issues ensuring her clients look the best they can be, feel fantastic and confident.

She does this by offering a mixture of permanent makeup, laser and clinic treatments with clinically proven technology which brings lifting, firming, anti ageing and uniform skin to the face and body. Her training centre trains others in the art of permanent makeup so they too can help other women. It is the perfect combination which Sarah regularly gets recognised for.

Debbie Porter

Managing Director | Destination Digital

Debbie Porter is the Managing Director of Destination Digital, a digital marketing consultancy based in the heart of the Peak District who work on SEO, social media, website, PPC and content marketing projects.

Debbie leads a small all-women team of digital marketers, and the company works with many brands that can be found on the High Street such as HECK, Mr Fothergill’s, Haws Watering Cans, St Moriz and Faith In Nature. The company also works with other business-to-business companies on their marketing delivering digital marketing support.

With over 25 years’ experience in the internet industry, Debbie’s been at the heart of the evolution of the industry from its very earliest days. Working in the dot.com bubble in the 90s in Central London launching websites for GlaxoWellcome, Astra Zeneca, Reed Elsevier and the Daily Mail proved a sharp learning curve as the ‘Internet’ established itself as something more than just a curiosity. Taking BT PlusNet to a float on the stock market and subsequent buy out by BT some 10 years later showed how quickly the internet industry matured in a short space of time.

It’s this hard-won experience that Debbie brings to her work with the consultancy’s portfolio in the present day, in an industry that continues to evolve at rapid pace.  Having ‘seen it all’ over the years in a wide range of roles, including that of a small business owner, she was delighted to join the team of judges for the National Business Women’s Awards in 2023.

Juliet Fisher

Entrepreneur | Juliet Fisher Creatives

Juliet has experience within the hospitality industry for over two and half decades and ran a successful hotel and gallery business; won an array of awards for SME Business Women of the year 2018 and 2019; she judged WIB 2021/2022 and now she works as a transformational change consultant on individual projects; currently with the NHS; she has led many successful business transformations from strategic planning to driving operational efficiencies and continuous improvement programmes. She thrives on leading change through creative solutions, considered implementation and pragmatic execution.

Throughout her careers to date, she has accumulated a vast range of skills, contacts and operating methodologies which can adapt effectively to any team and business structure; both within the private and public arena.  With a proven track record in creating a culture of excellence, she builds high performing teams which consistently deliver, tuning into emerging trends and market demand.

So a little about me…

Well, I am a busy mumtrepreneur who spends her time juggling the demands of working, caring for the family and generally running a busy household. I am blessed to be mum to four fabulous sons, one darling daughter and my trusted Labrador, Hope.

My story…

Like many, my road has not always been easy and when times were difficult it was my creative writing, art, early morning fitness routine and meditation that saved me.

And then one day, call it fate maybe, my whole world changed. In 2020 my Guest House and Gallery business, which I ran successfully for 14 years, burnt to the ground in a devastating fire. I lost my home and my business overnight. Amongst the wreckage my curated pieces of artwork, my creative writing and my diaries remained intact. Amid rubble and ash was my answer as to what to do next…

Armed with piles of old diaries, art folders and countless writing journals, I decided to launch a new business. I found a publisher and quickly got to work. And the rest, as they say, is history!

She now has a creative business julietfishercreatives.com; and has published a handful of books; of which “Growing Wings” The honest and unabridged diaries of a businesswoman, wife and mother; is the number one read this Summer.

She supports charities such as WISH part of the West Suffolk Hospital and Women’s Refuge, Rethink Mental health and Winston Wish; to name afew.

Sohini Biswas

Executive Director & Co-Founder | Skat Recruitment & Training Academy

Sohini co-founded Skat Limited with a vision to provide staffing solutions to the Early Years sector. Sohini is passionate about creating job opportunities for everyone, starting from mums who had to take a long break in their careers due to family commitments as well as overseas students who come here to study various education related courses. Having immigrated from India and being a mum herself, mentoring and guiding mums and overseas students to become competent and valuable members of the team is what Sohini enjoys doing the most. Her degree in Business Management as well as Childcare helps her negate the short fall of staffing in the Education sector alongside Desi.

Skat was created in 2014 with belief and determination to provide support to all early year’s settings who require affordable and competent staffing solutions with the addition of Paediatric first aid training. In many cases providing the necessary requirements for Pre/schools and Nurseries to continue their business. Skat has enjoyed the accolade of being winners and finalists in various business awards, from Best Business Women Awards, National Business Women Awards, Cambridgeshire SME, Town and County Business Champions, Prestige, and Business Elite.

Sohini is a hobbyist photographer and enjoys working with the Cambridge Indian society in various cultural and social events. She is also training to climb the Everest Base Camp this year in support of the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Desi Gray

Executive Director & Co-Founder | Skat Recruitment & Training Academy

Desi is co-founder of the multi award winning Early Years recruitment and training academy Skat Ltd, Cambridgeshire’s fastest growing Education recruitment company. With a bachelor’s degree in economics and a diploma in Early Years Foundation Stage, Bulgarian-born Desi has always been fascinated by the recruitment industry. Being a strong advocate of the rights of the Early Years sector, she had a vision to help every childcare practitioner achieve their aspirations. After meeting Sohini, together they shaped their collective dream into the compassionate, personal, and dedicated early years recruitment agency that is SKAT.

Skat was created in 2014 with belief and determination to provide support to the early year’s settings who require affordable and competent staffing solutions with the addition of Paediatric first aid training. Desi with her years of experience in management roles provide valuable advice and consultation to all the clients and she is the mentor to the candidates who are looking to start a career pathway in this sector.

Skat has enjoyed the accolade of being winners and finalists in various business awards, from BBW, NBW, Cambridgeshire SME, Town & County Cambridgeshire Business Champions, Prestige, and Business Elite.

She is a dedicated working mum and wife and enjoys running marathons in support of her chosen charities EACH and East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Charmaine Vincent

CEO | Baltimore Consulting

An award-winning female entrepreneur, CEO, business owner and coach.

With 26 year’s professional experience, Charmaine has achieved some incredible career millstones. Some of which include, completing an MBO and taking 100% ownership of her business.

National Business Women’s Awards – Business Owner of the Year 2021
SME National Business Awards – Lockdown Leader 2021
SME National Business Awards – Business Person of the Year 2020/21
Best Business Women Awards – Best Business Woman in Recruitment 2020
Business Leader Awards – Entrepreneur of the Year 2020
National Business Women’s Awards – Business Woman of the Year 2019
National & South West Institute of Directors Awards – SME Director of the Year 2019

A confident businesswoman with a caring ethos and strong moral compass.

Charmaine is super passionate about making a difference to the community & being a positive role model for her daughter.

Throughout her career, Charmaine hasn’t been afraid of showing vulnerability, to which, she believes has contributed to both her personal and professional growth. A development advocate, she continues to invest heavily in herself and her staff by empowering them to become the best version of themselves.

Claire Bolton

Founder | Apex Ability Limited

Claire Bolton is the Founder of multi award-winning Apex Ability Limited. After training in Australia as a Speech Pathologist treating both adults and children, Claire worked in the NHS for many years before establishing her own highly regarded Speech & Language Therapy and Life Coaching practice, based on Harley Street. She prides herself on leading an exceptional team who work across London and Buckinghamshire. Claire is a Churchill Fellow, travelling to North America to learn about the collaboration of Neurologic Music Therapy and Speech & Language Therapy. She now works globally, providing training to others. Claire volunteers as a local group coordinator with the Association of Speech & Language Therapists in Independent Practice. This enables her to support colleagues to grow their own practices and achieve a work-life balance. Claire is passionate about helping others reach their potential.

Amanda Scott

CEO & Founder | Mike’s Mates Mental Health Charity

Amanda Scott is the CEO and Founder of Mike’s Mates, a mental health charity in the UK. Mike’s Mates is a central hub of mental health services and resources that helps you find the right support at the right time. www.mikesmates.org.

Additionally, Amanda is the Global Mergers & Acquisitions Leader for Willis Towers Watson, a Board Member for Global Women 4 Wellbeing (GW4W) and a Founding Member of Chief UK. She was also presented the Excellence in Leadership Award from Consulting Magazine; as a HERo for Inclusion and Diversity by Yahoo Finance; and was awarded as one of the UK 50 Leading Lights for Leadership & Kindness from Women of the Future. She regularly publishes industry thought leadership, provides commentary to the UK press and social media, and is an active public speaker.

Jeanette Barrowcliffe

Finance Director | Meridian Business Support

Jeanette Barrowcliffe, a qualified accountant who trained with EY, joined Meridian Business Support, one of the largest independent multi-sector recruitment agencies in the UK, in June 1997.  She was appointed as FD in 2003 and was part of the MBO teams in 2005 and 2021.  Working closely with the CEO, executive team, operations, and support services she aids the strategic direction and organisation of Meridian and has been integral in its growth over the years.  In addition, Jeanette directly leads all of the Support Service teams which have continued to improve the financial controls and management information for the business.  Her teams are motivated, proactive and award winning.

A natural leader with an incredible skill in recognising the opportunities and drivers that shape recruitment in the UK, she understands what success looks like and more importantly knows what’s needed to be done to achieve it.

In addition to being the FD for Meridian, Jeanette & is a Trustee for Walsingham Support, a charity which supports people with learning disabilities.  Previously,  Jeanette was on the Board of the REC, the largest trade body for the recruitment sector for nine years & was a Parent Governor of a Primary School for eight years.

Vierka Hiscock

Registered Manager | Care Horizons

I moved to England from Slovakia in 2005. Though I had a degree in accountancy and a background in business, I wanted a job with more interaction and therefore began working in care. I was working in the Wiltshire and Somerset area the year I arrived, and I haven’t wanted to leave since. Eventually, I began looking for a home to buy. I wanted to start my own company and run it my way. Surprisingly, when I began working here in the UK, I was struck by just how different the guiding values and ethics were compared to most social care companies I knew back in Slovakia.

I am proud to have committed to ensuring that our staff members are all trained to achieve their full potential. When I took over Care Horizons Ltd, I instigated an individualised training plan for each staff member, including QCF qualification training. I apply the same standards to myself – I have trained for, and have become, a coach and mentor for both business and life skills. I hold recognised qualifications, and I know how positive empathy should be put into coaching and mentoring. I am also offering all our staff one-to-one mentoring/coaching every month for these skills, as well as a business coaching and mentoring service to other companies.

I also completely restructured the business model of Care Horizons and implemented a new internal policy and procedures system. Many companies simply get there from the internet – some in the past have even forgotten to change the name of the company they copied. We hired a specialist company to design a bespoke system suited to our needs, including an annual external ISA 9001 auditing service to attest to adequate staff training and compliance.

After over a decade of experience working in the care industry in the UK, I believe that a worrying empathy deficit exists. We all understand the struggle that the health and social care sector is currently going through, driven largely by a lack of adequate funding from the government, but individuals in local councils and care organisation with budgeting responsibility must always keep in mind that we are working with human beings. At the moment I study a BA (Hons) Psychology and Sociology with Arden University to help not just clients but staff members as well.

Sue Keogh

Director | Sookio

Sue Keogh is a recognised specialist in digital content and founder of award-winning digital marketing agency Sookio.

After starting her career with the BBC, Yahoo, AOL and ITV, she founded Sookio in 2008 with the goal of supporting businesses in need of high-quality website content and social media services but who wanted the flexibility of outsourcing to specialists.

The agency has earned a solid reputation in content creation, strategy and training with clients including the University of Cambridge, Sony, Government Digital Services, the Alzheimer’s Society and more.

A Fellow of the RSA, host of radio show The Business of Cambridge, Sue also hosts the Sookio School series of online courses in digital marketing. Known for her plain-talking, fun approach to digital, she is always beating the drum for quality, accessible content, and finding ways to help people of all backgrounds get into the industry.

Pippa Loveridge

Freelance Marketing Strategist

With over 30 years of marketing experience Pippa has delivered strategic marketing campaigns in many formats, from faxes to social media, live international incentives to guerrilla marketing and national competitions to strategic marketing campaigns.

Pippa was a Mumpreneur Awards Finalist in 2011 & nominated again in 2013, she was also a judge for the World Pole Sports & Fitness Championships in 2014. Pippa has worked with diverse clients in many verticals, but her current focus is delighting a small handful of key Managed Service Providers, by providing marketing strategy, support services and content.

Rebecca Wall

COO | Alliance Intelligent Scaffolding Ltd

Rebecca is COO of multi award winning Alliance Intelligent Scaffolding in St Albans, Hertfordshire. A former Hertfordshire Business Person of the Year, Rebecca is a national and international business awards judge and has a wealth of experience in both starts up and established SME’s within a diverse range of sectors, from Professional Beauty and Spa to Construction.

Sarah Ainslie

Director | Network Engineering Services

Sarah has been a passionate supporter of enterprise and skills development for over two decades. Her former professional career focused on representing the interests of SMEs at regional and national level, managing policy campaigns and building effective partnerships with decision makers, business and community stakeholders.

As an experienced business development project manager and consultant, Sarah has a reputation for delivering results. She is passionate about working with public and private sector clients to achieve strategic goals, designing workforce skills solutions and accessing funding to facilitate delivery.

She holds a Master of Arts in Regional Development, formerly co-founded a women’s Business Network and is a long standing charity Trustee.

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