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Director of Peterborough firm XL Displays, Joanne Bass, has been announced as a finalist in the 14th annual NatWest everywoman Awards – the UK’s most prestigious event celebrating the achievements of women business owners.
Joanne is a finalist in the Athena Award category which will go to the most inspirational woman running a business which has been trading between 6 and 9 years.
Joanne Bass saw the opportunity that entrepreneurship offered during her maternity leave in 2010. Failing to agree flexible working conditions with her employer she grabbed the opportunity to set up alone offering a one stop shop for exhibition banners, stands and design. In five years Joanne has grown the business to a £4.2m turnover, investing heavily in a 6,000 sq ft premises complete with in-house production facility. She is proud to have recruited and trained all her staff from the local community, including four apprentices, and credits XL Display’s five star online reviews to their commitment to customer service. XL Displays has also won three Peterborough Telegraph Business Awards – Smaller Business of the Year in 2014 and 2015 and Customer Service Award in 2015.
Success has not come without its difficulties. Being an employer for the first time brought its own challenges and the meteoric growth of the business meant that Joanne had to learn quickly to ensure the business had the structure it needed. Following her second born child being diagnosed with a rare congenital condition requiring multiple operations, and facing post-natal depression, Joanne refused to be beaten and immersed herself in her business from hospital waiting rooms. That the business continued to thrive during this time against the odds is testament to Joanne’s attitude and motivation.
Joanne said: “I am thrilled to be a finalist in this award. Starting up XL Displays has been hard work but the growth and success we have achieved over the last six years has been worth it. The everywoman Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of women entrepreneurs and I am proud to be part of that group. I want to inspire other women to start their own business – I have done it so others can too!”
The awards were judged by 19 of the country’s most successful businesswomen including Chrissie Rucker MBE, Cath Kidston MBE, Julia Hands MBE, Amanda Wakeley OBE and Rosaleen Blair.
The winners will be announced on Wednesday 7 December at a lunch reception at The Dorchester Hotel in London attended by over 300 leading figures from business, politics, the media and the City.
XL Displays is an award winning, family run business based in Orton Southgate. It supplies custom built exhibition stands, portable display equipment and office supplies. For more information go to www.xldisplays.co.uk