Hat-trick for Suffolk businesswomen

BUSINESSWOMEN from Suffolk have claimed three out of the five top honours at the 21st East of England Businesswomen of the Year awards.

Naomi Tarry of holiday lettings agency Best of Suffolk, based at Badingham, won the Businesswoman Entrepreneur of the Year title, sponsored by Lloyds TSB Commercial.

The Rising Star of the Year award, sponsored by the Ashridge Business School, went to Claire Bishop of Nemco Utilities, based in Bury St Edmunds.

And the Beatrice Wilkinson Memorial Award, in recognition of all-round business achievement, was presented to Karen Finch, founder of The Hearing Care Centre, which is based in Ipswich and operates at locations across Suffolk.

The overall Businesswoman of the Year title, sponsored by Adnams, went to Rosemary Bensley of Pharmarama International Ltd, based at Borehamwood in Hertfordshire, and the Start-Up Business of the Year award, also sponsored by Lloyds TSB Commercial, was won by Claire Martinsen of Breckland Orchard, based at Watton in Norfolk.

The Beatrice Wilkinson award was established by the Suffolk Business Women group to commemorate its late founder.

Karen Finch said: “I cannot begin to put into words how much this means to me. From all of the successful business women in the eastern region I am thrilled to have been recognised by my peers.”

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The awards are run in association with the Institute of Directors Eastern Region, and, besides the category sponsors, were also supported this year by MedImmune, Itineris, DPS Technology Group and Mosaic Publicity.

The presentation ceremony was held at The West Wing at Ickworth House, near Bury St Edmunds, and hosted by BBC business correspondent Karen Hoggan.

Jane Cox, who chairs the awards, said: “My congratulations go out to all the winners, after what has been a very exciting time judging some outstanding entries. Everyone who entered can be proud of what they have achieved during the past year and we hope this encourages women of all ages to pursue a career in business.”