New Year honours: Entrepreneur who has helped thousands in business awarded CBE

Bev Hurley, from Newmarket, has been awarded a CBE for her services to enterprise

Bev Hurley, from Newmarket, has been awarded a CBE for her services to enterprise - Credit: Archant

An entrepreneur who has helped create thousands of jobs for women and disadvantaged groups has said she is “absolutely delighted” to be awarded a CBE.

Bev Hurley is one of the country’s leading experts on growing and sustaining woman-owned businesses having set-up Enterprising Women and the Norfolk Network.

In her current role as chief executive of consultancy firm the YTKO Group, Ms Hurley, who lives in Newmarket, has spearheaded two public-sector programmes that have supported around 20,000 people and drawn praise from business secretary Vince Cable.

She said: “My reaction was one of utter amazement. I was absolutely delighted, thrilled, shocked and surprised in equal measure. It’s not often you find out the prime minister has put your name forward for a CBE.

“I just wanted to tell everyone, including my team, but you can’t do that because you’re sworn to such secrecy.”

Ms Hurley is a successful businesswoman herself having built several companies, while privately run YTKO has also grown every year under her stewardship to the point it now employs more than 100 staff around the UK.

Two of its public sector programmes - Outset and Enterprising Women - are among its biggest success stories.

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Outset has helped create 2,700 new businesses in only three years among people Ms Hurley said could be recognised as “disadvantaged” or “hard to reach”, while the Enterprising Women network has grown to reach 45,000 women across the country in only three years.

It will not be the first award Ms Hurley has picked up from the palace having previously been given the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.

Ms Hurley said: “That was also pretty much a wow moment, but this is a whole different league. The individual award was fantastic, but this is something else.”