Friday 5 February 2021
WINTER GARDENS - BLACKPOOL
To mark the 10th Anniversary of the Enterprise Vision Awards we are highlighting ten of our EVA Winners - our EVA Stars! Women who have made an impact on us as well as the EVAS over the years. Click on the Stars and find out how winning an Enterprise Vision Award made a difference to them and their business.
Founded in 2009 by Jen Blackwell who has Down's syndrome and driven by her passion for dance, DanceSyndrome is an inclusive charity that has learning disabilities at the forefront of its leadership and delivery.
DanceSyndrome provides a holistic programme of dance activity that is designed specifically to meet the needs of learning disabled people. Offering flexibility and choice whilst promoting leadership, independence, creativity and individuality.
Driven by a model of co-production, DS’s team of dance leaders with learning disabilities and professionally trained dance artists work one to one to create and deliver inclusive community dance workshops, dance technique classes, dance leadership training, inclusion training and astounding dance performances, all tailored to the needs of individuals, families, communities and professionals.
The Dance Leader Team inspires everyone to believe that possibilities are endless for people with disabilities and challenge the perceptions held by Society that learning-disabled adults have barriers to achieving a life worth living.
Jen and DanceSyndrome unlock the potential and possibility for people who have barriers to following their dreams. Winning the Enterprise Vision Awards Inspirational Woman of the Year in 2015 made Jen's dream come true.
From then on she and her charity have gone from strength to strength gaining many awards, substantial funding and growing from a small Lancashire-based company to working across the UK reaching thousands of people. All stemming from one woman's dream to get the world dancing.
The National Lottery wanted to recognise Jen with a fabulous secret surprise and feature her on National television.
For Jen’s Big Surprise, The National Lottery arranged for her to meet her heroine, the singer Alexandra Burke, at the world-famous Pineapple Dance Studios in London and perform her own specially choreographed dance to the singer’s hit record, Hallelujah! The National Lottery filmed the heart-warming results.
Jen said: “I just can’t put into words how I felt. It was just amazing, I was totally lost for words. It was most definitely big hugs all around.
“I love Alexandra and have always admired her. She is such a fantastic inspiration. It was incredible to be able to perform for her at Pineapple Dance Studios – something which was totally beyond my wildest dreams.
Jen has gone on to win many personal awards including being listed as a leader on The Disability Power 100 list and The Shaw Trust Leaders List and last year DanceSyndrome won The Queens Awards for Voluntary Services, the MBE for groups. Jen said, "It is the most amazing thing ever. I could never have thought DanceSyndrome could have won this award when we started out 10 years ago when it was just me with no one, nowhere to go, no other dancers”.
Jen was invited to Buckingham Palace to celebrate and has since been invited to the House of Lords to talk about her incredible achievements.
DanceSyndrome Managing Director Dawn Vickers said "For charities like DanceSyndrome the Queens Award for Voluntary Services is the highest honour that we can achieve, and we are thrilled to have been chosen to receive the award this year. DanceSyndrome wouldn't exist without the hard work and dedication of Jen and our incredible team of Dance Leaders. We are delighted that their effort has been recognised at such a high level. It's all inspired by the wonderful Jen Blackwell".
DanceSyndrome - dancer led, disability inspired.
Holly Moore of Make Events won Business Woman of the Year at the 2015 Enterprise Vision Awards!
Holly Moore founded Make Events with zero investment. In seven years, her turnover has grown to £4m without resorting to borrowing from the banks. Her clients include Puma, Vimto, Twitter, Autotrader, Booking.com, ITV, BetFred and Kellogg’s. During lockdown, Holly realised that she couldn't wait for events to recommence - so she pivoted to adapt to the new normal by creating stunning virtual events using a fully customisable events studio with the latest technology. She also launched a new business! HM Events providing private parties - you can guarantee they will be the ultimate experience!
We asked Holly to tell us about her EVAS experience. She said:
"I was nominated for an Eva in 2015. I found the interview process nerve wracking as it was really done properly with a presentation that you could interpret in anyway you saw fit. It was a great experience but I had stiff competition.
I was so sure that I wasn’t going to win that I just went with a friend who had been nominated for another award in a different category. We thought "Oh well we will enjoy it and have a night out!".
The night itself did not disappoint with all the magic touches – a great band on arrival, light up letters, pink chocolates and a pink cheese board.
When I heard my name called I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited and it just built my self-esteem that year.
I loved attending the winners event and have kept in touch with the team since."
Since winning her EVA, Holly has gone on to win a number of awards and is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines. If you would like to see how Holly has adapted to the covid-19 restrictions, click this link to watch her video.
Introducing the 2015 Enterprise Vision Awards Financial Services winner, Jackie Hyde, Managing Director of Stanmore Insurance.
We asked Jackie to share her thoughts and experiences on being involved with the EVAS. Here is what she wrote:
My nomination was really important in 2015 as my personal and business life had been particularly challenging. I had been diagnosed for breast cancer and the day of judging was only a few after reconstructive surgery. At this time I had lost confidence and just being nominated gave me a boost. To then go on to be a finalist then win was so uplifting.
I have come to learn that many women do not recognise their own skills and abilities. Nomination, finalist and/or winner provides you with recognition and a sense of thanks for doing a good job.
The judging process makes you consider carefully what you are doing and what you have achieved and where you are planning to go which is so important for all businesses.
Opportunities that immediately came from winning:
Interviewed on our local radio and BBC Radio Lancashire when I was invited to go along to discuss the impact of winning an EVA. This helped to promote me and my business.
Interviewed by Working Mums, Talented Ladies Club and 2Inspire.
Featured in Lancashire Life Leading Ladies article twice and in the coverage for the EVAS winners in 2015.
I have subsequently decided to give my time and financial resources to promote women who are often not recognised, or more importantly, do not realise how good they are.
My work to date:
Sponsored EVAs as wanted to give something back
Sponsored Inspire Women’s Awards in 2019 and Stanmore is the Headline Sponsor in 2020
Ambassador for Social Enterprise Girls Out Loud
Ambassador for Insuring Women’s Futures
Ambassador for Inspire Awards and a Lead Judge for Business Woman of the Year Category
Winning the EVA has proven the importance of awards for my business and since 2015 we have won the following:
2016 Patron of the Year Bolton Lads and Girls Club
2017 Scheme Broker of the Year Insurance Times Award
2018 Inspire Women’s Awards Business Woman of the Year
2019 Seed Bomb for work completed as an Ambassador for Girls Out Loud
2020 Scheme Broker of the Year National Insurance Award
The most important aspect of the EVA award is that it helped to boost my confidence. Since winning, I will not miss opportunities that comes my way and I have grown as a person and female leader of a business. My business continues to grow and be successful.
My top tip: I regularly nominate others for awards as I want people to have the same buzz I did.
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