Sipra playing to win

Play Arena, Sipra Deb
Play Arena, Sipra Deb
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A Sheffield businesswoman is in line for a top award after being chosen as a out of thousands from all over the country.

Sipra Deb, aged 40, is on the shortlist for Creative Mind of 2013 at the English Asian Business Awards, to be announced in Manchester at the end of next month.

Sipra, who trained as a molecular biologist and worked for five years as a teacher at High Storrs School, is now managing director of The Play Arena in Little London Road, Heeley.

Since setting up the business 18 months ago, The Play Arena in the old Stokes paint warehouse has become one of the city’s largest and most innovative indoor play centres.

Born in Ethiopia, Sipra moved to Kenya and Nigeria and now lives in Millhouses, says her vision is to improve the whole experience of visiting a family entertainment venue.

And in her first year of trading the Arena broke the projected turnover figure of £800,000.

“It has really surpassed my expectations. And it’s going from strength to strength. Despite the recession it’s still showing growth of over 20 per cent,” she said.

Judges of the awards said Sipra’s business had exceeded all forecasts.

“With a strong drive and passion for developing her staff, Sipra is now involved in supporting several small ventures run by ethnic minorities and by women,” her nomination says.

The awards are designed to honour the determination, hard work and personal achievements of England’s Asian businesspeople.

n Opinion: Page 8