Emma Elston named Businesswoman of the Year

AN entrepreneur from Cheshire who set up a bin repair service from a spare bedroom 14 years ago, has been named 2012 Businesswoman of the Year.

Emma Elston, from Knutsford, could not secure bank finance for the idea so took out £15,000 on credit cards to kick-start UK Container Maintenance, based in Northwich.

The award, part of the 30th annual Women of the Year celebrations, marks personal achievement and success in the regions.

The 36-year-old established the company with her husband Julian and the couple now employ 80 staff refurbishing around 78,000 waste containers a year.

Judy Groves, awards chair, said: “Every single candidate for this award was a potential winner and with each one of them ticking so many boxes it really shows the quality of this competition.

“It also underlines just how much of a worthy winner Emma is and how remarkable her achievements are. She genuinely had a unique idea, she had spotted something that no one else was doing and ran with it.

“Her business is innovative and she is focussed on generating employment in her region creating more than 80 jobs. To accomplish what she has done, and to have done it during one of the worst economic climates we have ever experienced, is truly inspirational.”

Five other women were shortlisted for this year’s award: Andrea Miles, director of Mirrors for Training, Christine Griffiths, director of Aeolus Power (Wind-Energy), Sarah Cressall, managing director of The Creation Station, Vivienne Hudson-Findlay, managing director of Hotelshop UK, and Sheree Cook, director at Cube Environmental.

Previous winners include Dragons Dens’ Hilary Devey, Karren Brady, one of Sir Alan Sugar’s trusted aides on The Apprentice and vice-chairman at West Ham United, Sarah Tremellen, founder and chief executive of Bravissimo, and Perween Warsi, founder of S&A Foods.