Julia Gash has shown her entrepreneurial class again - on a national stage.
The boss of Sheffield firm Bag It Don’t Bin It has been crowned UK Small and Medium Company Director of the Year by the Instiute of Directors.
The entrepreneur, who started BIDBI almost seven years ago, triumphed at an awards ceremony in London after winning the regional award earlier this year.
She was also a runner up in the Director of the Year category.
She said: “I have worked tirelessly over the last seven years as I have taken BIDBI from a time when I had absolutely no money to a company that now turns over £2m and employs 25 people at our eco-print factory on Rutland Road in the heart of industrial Sheffield.”
BIDBI produces branded, sustainable cloth bags for blue chip British brands under private label. In 2012 Julia launched an ethically-focused accessory label: Talented. It collaborates with emerging designers on a seasonal rotation.
Now, Talented products are sold by prestigious retailers around the world and export is 70 per cent of sales.
Before BIDBI, Julia was a spokeswoman on a number of regional, national and European-wide issues, she still writes monthly for The Times online SME Hub and is a brand consultant for a Japanese retail chain.
She added: “Recent times have been particularly tough as we have had a massive growth spurt and my priority has been to build a strong and skilled team to support me at BIDBI and our own brand label, Talented.
“I am fortunate to work with a fantastic group of people and I am humbled by their amazing work ethic and trust in me, which often takes them outside their comfort zone, day in day out.”
Julia first won a national export award back in 1990 with her fashion brand, Gash.
And she urged Britain’s business leaders to let their voices by heard on political issues such as Europe at the ceremony, commenting that it was the business argument that swayed voters in the recent Scottish referendum.
As a passionate and outspoken pro-European, Julia also said the free movement of people and goods was a vital component for a successful British economy.
The firm holds the Made in Sheffield mark.
Over 400 of the UK’s most successful businessmen and women attended the IoD awards at the Lancaster London Hotel.
The competition was opento directors across the business spectrum.
The awards gathered winners from the regional IoD Director of the Year Awards held around the UK, and determined through a comprehensive judging process, the best in their field.
Winners included James Taylor, managing director of educational firm SuperStars, which is based in Wales and employs 250, who took the Young Director Award and Overall Director of the Year Award.