Christine from Yarn on the Square up for an award

Ely businesswoman Christine Brown from Yarn on the Square has been shortlisted for an award, after a team of judges spent three months searching for the region’s best businesswomen.

Christine is a contender for the Start-up Business of the Year top prize at the East of England Businesswomen Awards, after launching the specialist knitting shop in the city centre with neighbour Ginette Heard.

The award ceremony to be held at Ickworth House near Bury St Edmunds today (Thursday) will include a speech from BBC business correspondent Karen Hoggan,

“It will be an honour to be in the company of these very impressive businesswomen, who have beaten off competition from around the eastern region to be shortlisted for these awards,” she said. “I wish all of them the very best of luck.”

Yarn on the Square runs workshops, surgeries, and knitting groups, and runs special events; with news from the business posted on their website.

When the shop was opened, Christine said “We are taking a new look at the skills which have been passed down through the generations, bringing them back into vogue and fit for the 21st century.

“There has never been a better time to learn and perfect these crafts which were taught as a matter of course to our grandmothers.”

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Fourteen corporate and independent businesswomen from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk made it through to the finals in the four categories - Businesswoman of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Start-up Business of the Year and the Rising Star of the Year. The winner of the Beatrice Wilkinson Memorial Award has already been chosen by the panel.

Awards chairperson Jane Cox said the judging process included scrutiny of all aspects of the entrant’s business including sales and marketing activity, her company’s financial strength, human resource development and evidence of commitment to corporate social responsibility. There was also an interview stage, when entrants had to prepare a short presentation for the panel of judges, and shortlisted entrants were visited at their business.

She added: “This year, the judges were impressed by the number and diversity of entries – particularly those they received in the Entrepreneur and Start-up categories. It would seem that the East of England economy is still thriving and that women, in particular, are finding new and exciting ways to contribute.”