From talent recruitment to training consultancies, and jet sales to jewellery, Forward Ladies is celebrating the success of high-flying female talent in the national Women in Business Awards for 2016, sponsored by HSBC.

The Awards took place on Friday at a celebration lunch at the Amba Hotel in London, before an audience of senior and influential business leaders.

Griselda Togobo, MD and owner of Forward Ladies, which runs the Women in Business Awards said: “Our National Women in Business Awards Programme is in its 7th year and we are once again delighted to be working in partnership with HSBC to showcase the best women-led businesses in the UK. There is a huge amount of female talent across the UK and it’s an honour to be able to showcase and celebrate their achievements.

“This year has been the biggest celebration yet and we are incredibly impressed by the calibre and quality of the applications. It has been truly outstanding.”

Jennifer Crawley, UK Deputy Director of Small Businesses for HSBC, who presented the awards said: “There was an impressive number of high-calibre entries this year, highlighting the quality of talented businesswomen we have in the UK. These entrants are the future entrepreneurs of our country, with the Forward Ladies event showcasing the best Britain has to offer. HSBC will be providing support to help these businesses prosper and thrive in the long term.”

The 11 category winners will now take part in a judging day in Manchester in November before a distinguished panel of business specialists, where they will join the finalists from events in the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East, and the North West and Isle of Man. The national winner will be announced at a grand finale to be held in Leeds on the 1st December.

The keynote speaker was Linda Plant, a self-made business woman, who started her career from humble beginnings selling fashion from a market stall. She took her career a step further by selling her designs worldwide with her international knitwear brand, which went on to become publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange. She also built and ran an electronics company, which she sold after three years.

Bespoke glass trophies were presented to the winners in each category:

Digital and Online: Terri Hudson is MD of Baker Wanless Limited of South Norwood. She is a procurement process expert with 19 years’ experience across a number of different sectors managing strategic accounts & programmes of procurement. Her niche is to ascertain the most suitable procurement strategy to drive out inefficiencies and generate savings.

Retail: Harriet Kelsall is the founder and creative director of Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery, based in Hitchin. She is a designer and leading figure in the jewellery industry. She is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and was the first in the world to both sell fairtrade gold and be certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council. She is an inspiring NED on four external boards.

Highly commended in the retail category was Gabriella Somerville who is the CEO of Connectjets of Mayfair, an aircraft sales and charter global brokerage company. She began her career as a Virgin Atlantic stewardess and went on to work at BA, concluding as Director of Cabin Crew. She moved to Bombardier Aerospace, becoming the first female VP of sales for Vistajet. She launched ConnectJets, in 2009, a business aviation brokerage facilitating aircraft sales and charter.

Not for Profit: Jenny Holloway has worked in the fashion industry for more than thirty years, initially as an assistant buyer for Littlewoods, selector for M&S and a senior buyer for the Arcadia Group before opening her own label Retro. In 2006 Jenny incorporated Fashion Enter, a social enterprise employing more than 100 people making 7,500 units a week from their factory in London. They also have the Fashion Studio for start-ups and Fashion Technology Academy for skills training.

Highly commended was Michelle Wright, the founder of Cause4 which supports charities and social enterprises to change, grow and improve income generation. A former professional violin player, her company provides services in strategy development and implementation of fundraising.

Start-up: Morgan McGlynn is a director of Cheeses of Muswell Hill– a specialist cheese shop on the high street full of amazing cheese from around the world. She started Cheeses of Muswell Hill at the age of 21 – the youngest cheesemonger in the UK – in a very male dominated industry. The shop now has a successful retail, online, wholesale and catering presence. The company has recently been approached by the Houses of Parliament to become their wholesale supplier.

Young (under 30): Maria Fox is the director of the Maria Allen Boutique, a British brand selling handcrafted design-led personalised jewellery and gifts made from reclaimed and sustainably-sourced British wood, designed and made in her Sussex studio. Maria produced her first hand made card business aged 14, whilst at school, and developed the foundations for her current company, Maria Allen Boutique, whilst studying at university

Rising Star: Monica Chia is MD of Karimix, based in Faversham, and is an independent food manufacturer, providing innovative fusion ethnic flavours, in a range of relishes, chutneys, curry paste, marinades, soups, sauces and condiments. The company supplies direct to consumers, retailers, foodservice outlets and wholesalers.

Highly commended in the rising star category was Lambratu Tejan, the financial controller of The View from the Shard, the major visitor attraction in London. The Shard delivered the ultimate “Love London” card – the first of its kind in the industry. She is a chartered accountant whose experience spans private, public, and not for profit sectors – the most recent being retail, property and leisure industries.

International: Barinder Hothi, is the founder and Group MD of global training provider, The Knowledge Academy based in Bracknell. She has extensive management experience having previously worked at Microsoft, Xerox and IBM. She was also highly commended in the inspiring leader and SME (Growth) categories.

Highly commended in the international category was Sharon Richey of Ascot, the founder and CEO of BEcause, a global experiential marketing group devoted to building brand through well planned, memorable and meaningful experiences aimed to get people trying, buying and recommending products, services and causes. The company has offices in London, Ascot and Sydney.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics): Emma McGuigan is the senior managing director of technology UK & Ireland for Accenture and the business sponsor for the global technology talent strategy. Her area of expertise is large scale systems architecture and delivery management, and during her career she worked with clients on a number of large financial services programmes. She has a master’s degree in electronics from the University of Edinburgh.

Highly commended was Estelle Levin, the founder and director of Estelle Levin Ltd of Cambridge, a specialist consultancy developing the potential of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM). The company advises, convenes and capacitates ASM Mines, precious metal, gem, jewellery, electronic companies, their regulators, and civil society, building sustainability and responsible practices throughout the mineral supply chain, especially from fragile regions.

SME (Emerging): Tricia Cusden is the founder and MD of Look Fabulous Forever – a makeup brand with a range of online products specifically for older skin. Based in Wimbledon, and following past career in teaching and management training she re-trained as a makeup artist and was 65 before starting the business three years ago. The company has strong pro-age ethos – celebrating beauty in older faces, and aims to give older women confidence about their age and appearance.

SME (Growth): Joanne Smith is the founder and group CEO at The Consulting Consortium, London, a compliance consultancy. Providing specialist regulatory compliance solutions to FCA regulated firms, including a number of FTSE 100and multi-national companies. The company has grown 50% per annum and attracted in 2014, a Business Growth Fund investment of £10m for a minority stake.

Inspiring Leader: Jacqueline de Rojas is an international executive at global software company Citrix. She is president of tech UK, a non-executive director on the board at Home Retail Group PLC, is a board advisor at Digital Leaders and is lending her support to the technology group of the 30% Club.

Highly commended in this category was Linda Greenwall, a dentist, teacher, international lecturer, author, editor and charity founder, an authority on tooth whitening and who runs a private practice in London where she specialises in restorative dentistry and prosthodontics. She has just published her second book, and Barinder Hothi.