Inspiring women recognised by Forward Ladies

AN entrepreneur who caught the eye of Dragons’ Den investor Hilary Devey has been named the 2012 Forward Ladies businesswoman of the year.

Liz Colleran created her company Duvalay after combining a portable memory foam mattress topper with a shaped duvet and subsequently became Ms Devey’s first investment on the hit TV show.
Ms Colleran, from Gomersal, West Yorkshire, was also the winner in the manufacturing businesswoman of the year category.

The competition’s judges said of Ms Colleran: “Liz is ambitious and has plenty of drive to grow the business through selective customer targeting and exports. Targeting large companies like Virgin Atlantic and JML, and adapting products to suit their market increased sales by 30% and presents a strong demonstration of product innovation.

Other winners included Joanne Roney, chief executive of Wakefield Council who was corporate businesswomen of the year; Louise Holmes of Yummy Yorkshire, who was named home-based businesswoman of the year; and Julia Gash, of Sheffield-based Bag It Don’t Bin It, who was SME businesswoman of the year.