Essex baker overjoyed after being named UK's most inspiring businesswoman
- Credit: The Best Business Women Awards
An Essex baker specialising in gluten-free products has been named the UK's most inspiring businesswoman.
Halstead baker Davina Steel, founder of Davina Steel Gluten Free, was given the honour by the national Best Business Women Awards last month.
Ms Steel, a scientist and nutritionist, founded the company after recovering from cancer – which left her intolerant to gluten and the artisan breads she had always enjoyed.
Since then, she has won various national awards for her breads – and has gone on to see her loaves and snacks stocked in major supermarkets and retailers across the UK.
Judges at the Best Business Women Awards said they were inspired by Ms Steel's path to success, and the speed at which she launched the business from the ground up.
Receiving the award at a virtual ceremony, Ms Steel said it is a huge achievement.
She said: “There are so many inspiring women doing amazing things in business, so winning this award is a huge achievement.
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“I started experimenting with gluten-free baking when I could no longer eat gluten myself.
"It started as a hobby and has grown into a business where we are serving the needs of coeliacs and those with intolerances across the world.
“Baking is my passion, so to have been able to turn it into a thriving business has been a dream come true.
"I'm still very much 'in the kitchen, always experimenting with new recipes, whilst fulfilling the needs of our customers and coming up with new ways to reach people, such as through our new subscription service.
"The business continues to grow and we get amazing feedback. It's a fantastic industry to be in.”
Ms Steel has also launched a subscription box service, which includes kits for pizza boxes, tray bakes, cakes and cookies.
Judges at the ceremony said she is the "perfect example" of a successful and inspiring businesswoman.
They said: “Innovation has been key to the success of this business.
"Davina has built her business from the ground up, creating the products and building a business that now retails into major supermarkets, as well as a thriving online business.
"Inspiring business women are driven visionaries who other women aspire to be and Davina has all those elements.
"She's taken her idea and quickly scaled the business and now has a firm place in her market.
"This is an inspirational business woman who has overcome many challenges on her path to success.”