Meet The HERoes

Jennie Allen Championed by Stephen Hammond MP Wimbledon

Jennie Allen started Bayley & Sage in 1997, with her first store in Wimbledon village. With a vision to create fresh food stores with the most delicious produce for customers and never compromising on quality. Bailey & Sage has grown to 12 stores in London with Jennie still firmly at the helm.


Jennie now has a large team employing speciality cheesemongers, baristas, sommeliers and grocers. As well as a team of buyers, who are dedicated to sourcing the highest quality. The team love what they do and enjoy presenting delicious fresh produce to customers, chatting to them, making them coffee and helping them enjoy the stores.  Along with her HR Team Jennie ensures everyone receives the right training and provides support through the complete employee journey at the company.

Shynara Bakisheva championed by  Chi Onwuhra MP Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Shynara is Kazahk and started off her working life as an interpreter for an oil and gas company. she met her English husband Russel and relocated to the UK. With a passion for baking and frustrated at the bread available locally  Shynara trained at the School of Artisan Food on a 10-month course gaining an Advanced Diploma in Bread Making


After working in a couple of bakeries she decided to set up on her own and began by supplying her bread for wholesale and featuring at local markets. Specialising in sourdough breads, baguettes and other breads from around the world Shynara soon gained a reputation and decided to launch on her own when a vacant unit became available. Fresh Artisan Bread Ltd. FAB Bakery was born .

Amanda Watson & Claire Bishop Founder & Director Ambitions Personnel Championed by Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP Newark

Amanda is the founder and MD of Ambitions Personnel and began her recruitment career in London. She loved the industry and decided to launch her own business in 1990. With family in the Lincolnshire area, she identified it as a promising location to launch the business.

Amanda was then joined five years later by Claire who had had a successful career in banking within the City of London. Shortly afterwards the business partners, originally from Essex opened their second branch in Newark. They now have 13 high street offices and a turnover of more than £45 million.  With significant growth year on year the pair have no plans to slow down, and are excited to see what the future holds.

Sarah Blackwell Founder Forest Schools Kindergarten Championed by Gill Furniss MP Sheffield for Brightside & Hillsborough

Sarah has devoted herself to improving the lives of children through outdoor learning. She started her career working in a residential home for young children and then as a childminder. Sarah went on to be Founder of Forest Schools Kindergarten, Middlewood Nature Nursery, and Kenwood Nature Nursery.  Sarah has been pioneering Forest Schools learning and training on 5 continents around the world for over 18 years.

Sarah has developed a Forest Schools practitioners training course for adults to develop their professional skills and expertise in utilising woodlands and trees to deliver long term, life changing programmes

Michelle Davies  Founder Candidate Source  Championed  by Craig Tracey MP North Warwickshire

Michelle has worked in recruitment for over 15 years. Establishing Candidate Source in 2010, having gained extensive experience in recruitment and using her expertise in online media advertising, the business quickly became successful. From the beginning many clients partnered with Candidate Source because of their skill creating online job advertising campaigns saving both time and budget.

Splitting her time between driving the business forward with NPD, new marketing strategies and financial planning Michelle also oversees the management of client accounts and large media buying contracts. The online media advertising service has a proven track record in helping recruiters, of all sizes and in all sectors, capitalise fully on their recruitment advertising budget by efficiently sourcing the most relevant candidates for their roles. Candidate source negotiates and manages media buying contracts in excess of £1million maximising ROI of monthly spend.

Michelle also demonstrates her enthusiasm for helping people into work by supporting the charity Lunch on the Run. This project offers people with learning disabilities the chance to learn cooking skills and become more independent.

Marie Ibbetson & Jean Ellwood Founders The School Outfit Championed by Sharon Hodgson MP Washington & Sunderland West

The School outfit design, manufacture, retail & supply all types of school uniform across the North East. Set up by sisters Marie and Jean, this independent local family run business had humble beginnings.

Over 30 years ago the two sisters borrowed their dads old estate car, filled it up with clothing and set up a market stall. The School Outfit is now the largest school uniform supplier in the North East and employs 25 people.

Marie and Jean have also set up an innovative savings club so parents can spread the cost of buying school uniforms.

Paula Golby Director Cooper Golding Recruitment Championed by Selaine Saxby MP North Devon

Paula founded the business in 2011 and is responsible for driving the strategic direction of the business.  An experienced recruiter, Paula heads up the Executive Search and Quality specialism for the Specialist Talent division. Based in Barnstaple, Devon Cooper Golding services job seekers and clients in Devon and the South West region.

With over 20 years’ industry experience, Paula has seen at first hand the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the recruitment business.  This shaped Paula’s view that there was room to do recruitment in a better way delivering a great candidate experience and higher levels of client service. 

Paula a black belt second Dan in Shotokan Karate leads a growing team of six professionals aiming to take the business from a leading regional company to a leading national one by investing in talent, technology and training to realise her ambition.

Seema Goyal Owner & MD Goyals Championed by The Rt Hon Theresa May MP Maidenhead

Goyals has been providing school uniforms and workwear for the construction and hospitality industries for 50 years. Seema, has been working at Goyals for over 25 years and is now the owner and managing director. Immensely passionate about customer service. During the Pandemic Seema led the way locally quickly providing PPE.

A respected and recognised female entrepreneur within the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Seema is known for her charitable work supporting the local community.

Seema is also the president of the Maidenhead and District Chamber of Commerce, supporting local business growth and is a keen advocate for education and entrepreneurship working with local businesses, schools and colleges through initiatives such as the Young Enterprise Scheme and as a director of the Slough and East Berkshire Multi-Academy Trust (SEBMAT).

Sabra Kader Owner & MD The Bombay Stores Championed by Naz Shah MP Bradford West

Bombay Stores is the largest Asian Department Store in the UK has many celebrities pop in and out. With a specialist wedding department Bombay Stores has become a stalwart of the Bradford shopping scene. Set up in the early 80’s in a disused garage by her farther, Sabra now runs the business.

Sabra has been responsible for considerable growth and is also involved in a number of other businesses in the Bombay Stores stable. She developed the menu for her sons venture Mumbai Bites which became the first Indian takeaway based in a supermarket, Morrisons.

Coral Horn Founder Pink Link Ladies Championed by Paul Maynard MP Blackpool North & Cleveleys

Based in Blackpool Coral set up Pink Link Ladies in 2009 to provide women with a group where they could come along to talk. They could make contacts and find ways to grow their business in a safe inclusive and positive space to do business.

Regardless of whether they were returning to work after maternity, starting a new business or representing a long-established business, women are assured of a warm welcome and a supportive base to share knowledge, explore opportunities and meet women who share their aspirations to succeed in business.

The network enables members to connect with thousands of like-minded women at networking events masterclasses, conferences and the Enterprise Vision Awards. Founded by Coral, the awards recognise and celebrate the successes and achievements of women in business from all sectors.

Denise Kesson Owner Kesson Physiotherapy Championed by Helen Whately MP Faversham & Mid Kent 

Denise took over the practice from her mother, Monica Kesson, in 2007 and has grown the business from strength to strength and is the driving force behind Kesson Physio with a team of six.

Denise has recently transitioned from her clinical role into a purely strategic business role. You will still see her on a daily basis around the state of the art modern clinic in Faversham.  With a mix of self-referrals, GP, specialist consultant referrals, Kesson Physiotherapy has treated thousands of people for their physical ailments or sporting injuries over the past 3 decades.

An award winning entrepreneur Denise co-founded YourPhysioPlan in 2014; the UK's first monthly payment plan for Physiotherapy to be asked for by name. In 2019 launched an app. A healthcare market app for Physiotherapy, Dentistry and Optical services that enables anytime anywhere appointment search and book.

Tracey Lewis Co-Owner of Ferrari's Café championed by Stephen Kinnock MP for Aberavon  

Ferraris café was founded in 1938. Tracey and her partner bought the business in the centre of Port Talbot over 20 years ago. Tracey went about renovating the café and turning it into a local community hub with a loyal customer base. Serving traditional British food from breakfast to dinner.

During lock down Tracey provided a take away service gaining a reputation for excellent Sunday roast in a box. Tracey has also set up a family corner in the café so parents can bring their children and socialise together. Tracey has also been a tireless campaigner for the Port talbot steel works and counts many of the workers as her customers picking up food and coffee on their way to work.

Breda Murphy Founder Food by Breda Murphy Championed by Rt Hon Nigel Evans MP Ribble Valley

A champion of British and Irish cuisine Breda trained at Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School and went on to teach there for 3 years. After working in London with Sally Clarke she moved North becoming head chef at the famous Inn at Whitewell. In 2006 she took the leap and opened her own eponymous restaurant in the village of Whalley in the picturesque Ribble Valley.

The restaurant soon gained a loyal following and has won many accolades. The business has grown and includes a bar and a private dining room. Next to the restaurant is Bredas Pantry, a deli selling a wide range of foods, bread, cakes and wines. Locals can click & collect meals and ready to serve dishes for parties. During lockdown Breda pivoted the business and launched her restaurant-quality frozen ready meal delivery service nationwide. It was praised by Jay Rayner and sales continue to grow long after the lockdown ended.

Sarah Nelson Co-Founder River Test Distillery Championed by Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP Romsey and Southampton North

Having worked in education for most of her life in 2017 Caroline enrolled on a distilling course in Sunderland and joined other enthusiasts from all over the world to explore all the challenges of producing spirits and opening a distillery. Inspired by the whole process Sarah then went on to train further in The Netherlands

The River Test distillery is situated in a setting that contains two Sites of Special Scientific Interest, the meadow and the river. Sarah is proud of the fact that she has overseen the management of these vital areas and improved the conditions seeing the return of water voles and other wildlife. The water used in the distillation comes from the same aquifer that gives the river its ‘gin-clear’ waters

The gin has won multiple awards including Best London Dry Gin in the World Gin Awards. Sarah takes great pride in carefully selecting the botanicals used, To date River Test has produced 3 different gins each of which has won an award.

Lynne Parker Founder Funny Women Championed by Kelly Tolhurst MP Rochester & Strood

Lynne Parker created Funny Women 20 years ago and is the chief executive and executive producer of the Funny Women Awards.

She is an experienced marketeer, performance coach, facilitator and public speaker and writes for leading newspapers, magazines and trade journals. Lynne also hosts the HOW TO HAVE FUN AT WORK podcast featuring guests from business and comedy who look at how humour relates to the workplace and beyond.  With support from the Arts Council England, Funny Women show women from all walks of life how to use comedy to build confidence. A passionate supporter of equal rights and opportunities for all; by empowering female-identifying voices, to create gender parity in our industry and beyond. 

From Comedy Crash Course to  ‘Stand Up to Stand Out’ workshops for large corporate clients. Funny Women is best known for the Funny Women Awards, an important industry platform for women looking to break into comedy. So far, over 4,000 comics have taken part in 17 competitions, alumni include, Sarah Millican, Zoe Lyons, Sarah Pasco and Katherine Ryan to name a few.

Janet Percival championed by Virginia Crosby MP Ynys Môn

In 2015 Janet noticed that many apple trees on Anglesey had an abundance of fruit going to waste and this sparked the idea to produce a Fine Welsh Cider on a commercial level.

Janets partner Ade was a biochemist and had dabbled at making cider as a hobby as a young man and 20 years later he met Janet and discovered they shared an interest in cider. They made their first small batch of ciders from apples that would have otherwise been left to fall and rot.   Both yearned for a change of lifestyle so they moved to Anglesey. Janet made a plea via social media for unwanted apples and pears and was overwhelmed by the response. Offers of fruit came flooding in from single trees to orchards allowing them to set up the award winning Jaspels Cider.

The apple tree locations have since grown from 39 locations to 400 in 3 years providing a wide variety of apples from many well established and unique orchards on the island and across the Menai Strait.

Karen Potter Founder Karen Potter Estate Agents Championed by Damien Moore MP Southport

Karen Potter a Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents has been in the industry for 40 years. After leaving college Karen became office junior in an estate agents in her hometown of Southport. She went onto work in other established agencies in Liverpool and Waterloo before returning to Southport. At the age of 21 Karen became the first female Property Valuer in Southport. She also became the first and sole female Equity Partner in what was then one of the most successful groups in the North West.

Karen has won a Chamber of Commerce Award for her work in “Business In The Community”; has organised successful Charity Events and was the first Lady Chairman of the Southport and District Surveyors and Estate Agents Association.

Since 2002 Karen has been Spokesperson for the North West, providing information on property in the region to the Bank of England’s Agency.

Karen set up her own agency in 2010 and under her guidance, the business has steadily expanded year on year and now employs seven people.

Penny Price Stephen Founder Penny Price Aromatherapy Championed by Dr Luke Evans MP for Hinckley & Bosworth

Penny was formally trained in aromatherapy in 1983 and spent 20 years working as a therapist and teaching aromatherapy. Fascinated by the chemistry and physiology of aromatherapy Penny is now a leading name in the industry and has been instrumental in making aromatherapy one of the most popular and well-known natural, holistic approaches to health and wellbeing.

With a scientific and clinical approach Penny has trained many aromatherapists. In 2003 Penny set up Penny Price Aromatherapy, making essential oils, blends and mixes and supplying them to practitioners and the general public. The business has grown and now employs over 20 people sourcing ingredients from all over the world and skilfully blending them.

Penny also has a growing white label business providing aromatherapy products to leading brands and retailers. Penny also has a growing e commerce business selling aromatherapy products online.

Louise Prydderch Founder Lulu Loves Championed by Dame Caroline Dinenage MP for Gosport

Louise has been running the family card and gift shop Forget Me Not in the village of Stubbington, Hampshire for 25 years. In 2017 she decided to take over the retail unit next door and created the Lulu Loves brand. Using the shop as a showroom Louise has created a national online business whilst still serving the local community.

Selling a mix of products ranging from kitchen accessories, cushions, candles and interior styling to jewellery and accessories and industrial furniture. Louise prides herself in having been able to learn regular customers styles, allowing her team to create a unique personal shopping experience.

Suvir Rai Founder Kinderoos Nurseries Championed by Seema Malhotra MP Feltham & Heston

Suvir was working as Assistant Headteacher at a local primary school and decided she wanted to follow her passion for early years education. The idea of starting Kinderoos stemmed from a desire to find the right setting for her own daughter. Kinderoos London opened its doors in 2006. 

Since that time Suvir has seen countless children grow into amazing young people.  Suvir is immensely proud when she hears how well they are doing at school and how Kinderoos helped them build that crucial confidence in learning in their foundation years

Sivir has also co-founded and project led the opening of the Edison Primary school and is now a Trustee an Chair of the Govenors.

Keen to expand the business in 2021 Suvir bought another existing nursery based in Tewkesbury and rebranded as Kinderoos.

Nimisha Raja Founder Nim's Fruit championed by Gordon Henderson MP for Sittingbourne & Sheppey

Nimisha Raja was running a coffee shop in 2009 and noticing parents wanting their children to eat fruit but their children wanting crisp she had an idea. Nim’s produced the UK's first range of 100 per cent natural air-dried fruit and veg crisps. She converted her garage into a kitchen and started slicing and drying apples, pears and berries to sell in her shop.

In 2012 Nimisha sold the coffee shop and her house to buy an 10000 sq ft factory in Sittingbourne, close to many fruit growers. The first major customer was Tesco in 2017, Waitrose & M&S soon followed.  Today, she produces more than six million packs a year and sells in five countries.

After the fruit snacks, she introduced vegetable crisps and received a Queen's Award for Innovation. During lockdown Nimisha developed new products such as drink infusions (citrus slices you put in a G&T) and Nim's Edible Tea, made using dried fruit, once the tea is finished, the rehydrated fruit can be eaten. She now supplies high-profile restaurants, on Eurostar and BA, the NHS and the Craft Gin Club.

Sustainability is important to Nimisha. Out of the 1000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables processed every year only 0.5% is wasted but this is collected by an anaerobic waste company which converts it into renewable energy.  Zero waste.

Sarah Seaman Founder The Muddy Puddle Teacher Championed by Clive Betts MP Sheffield South East  

Sarah had been a classroom teacher for almost 11 years before she decided to set up The Muddy Puddle Teacher in 2018. Passionate about outdoor learning Sarah was known by colleagues as the ‘outdoor princess’. As a child not knowing she was dyslexic going outside was her haven where she could express herself and feel free and creative spending time in nature.

This inspired Sarah to create the Muddy Puddle teaching method to support vulnerable learners better. Including children who struggle to meet average age expectations, neurodivergent children and those with varying learner types who typically do not flourish from an indoor environment.

The approach is worksheet-free, book free and uses active, playful methods to engage children in academic areas of learning providing accredited CPD online training on outdoor learning. With over 600+ resources including worksheets, lesson plans and schemes of work there are 16000 active subscribers on the website. In just over two years Muddy Puddle has trained over 70 schools. Sarah has also just published The Muddy Puddle Teacher book with Bloomsbury Publishing.

Debra Seller Championed by Rt Hon Dame Eleanor Laing MP Epping Forest

Debra’s career in the fashion industry started in 1976, working within the wholesale fashion district in London’s West End. Initially employed as a showroom model, then progressed to understanding fabrics and design, quickly followed by merchandising & buying.


Debra opened a retail shop in Essex in the early 1980’s with the aim of catering for all ages, styles and sizes as a one-stop shop. In 1986 Debra moved to larger premises in Chigwell Essex. With  Debra’s eye for buying & designing garments the shop very quickly gained a great reputation in the TV & Magazine industry, the brand Debra was underway.


With an enormous selection of daywear, evening and cocktail wear, and the more recent addition of prom dresses. Every garment has been hand selected, designed or manufactured by Debra.  There is also an ‘in-house’ milliner for bespoke hats.

Liz Watson championed by Dr Lisa Cameron MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahgow

Liz is a former software engineer, rather than start from scratch she decided to raise the funds to buy an existing business.


The Mobility Centre in East Kilbride had been set up 8 years previously and the couple who owned it wanted to retire. Liz kept the three existing staff and has used her business expertise to add value and grow the business.  Liz studied Entrepreneurship at Babson College in Boston, Massachusetts through the Entrepreneurial Scotland Saltire Fellowship.


The Mobility Centre's shop sells mobility products aids to the NHS, local authorities, sheltered housing organisations, charities and private individuals. Liz has also taken the business online.

Valerie Watson Brown Founder FreshPod Ltd Championed by The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP South West Norfolk

Founded over 15 years ago in response to a culture in which food waste was being normalised. Fresh Pod extends the life of fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Sold commercially it improves profitability by extending shelf life. FreshPod is also sold to households to cut down food waste making household budgets go further and reducing carbon footprint in a natural and sustainable way. By controlling the levels of ethylene gas in your fridge or store this will extend the shelf life of your produce for up to four times longer all of which has financial benefits.

The company now manufactures a variety of filters for every situation from a domestic fridge to a shipping container and a large commercial store or packhouse.

Joanne Whiteside & Sarah Greenwood Founder & Director Whitesides Chartered Accountants Championed by The Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP for Pudsey

Joanne founded the firm in 1989 and over the years the practice has grown and now has a team of 10 qualified accountants, bookkeepers, tax and payroll specialists, who work together to provide an all-round service.

Joanne has over 30 years experience working with small businesses.  Sarah, Joanna’s daughter qualified as an accountant and spent several years working with large firms including Deloite, she joined Whitesides in 2015 and will take over the company when Joanne passes on the baton.

Vicki Wilkes Founder Red By Night Live Music Venue Championed by Mike Wood MP Dudley South

After gaining a degree in Materials Engineering Vicki enjoyed a successful career for 10 years until the company she worked for folded. Vicki and her husband then decided to set up their own engineering company and a few years later set up a second company which was highly successful achieving a £2million turnover.

Selling both businesses Vicki spent the winter of 2018/19 touring around Austria in a motorhome. Loving the apres ski scene with lots of live bands and a great vibe Vicki decided to embark on a new career following her passion and open a live music venue.

Finding an empty unit on the canal front which Dudley Council had recently turned into a Business Enterprise Zone the couple set about transforming the empty shell into a vibrant night spot. The name is a nod to the industrial heritage of the area as it was said to be Black by day and Red by night. Soon after opening covid struck but Vicki kept the business going thanks to its large outdoor waterfront seating area. Red by Night has now become a thriving venue showcasing local bands as well as tribute acts and hosting party nights.

Michela Iona Wilson & Lois Wilson championed by Nickie Aiken MP Cities of London & Westminster

Having always had a passion for the creative freedom of working for themselves in 2015 the two sisters decided to combine their efforts to forge a business together.

Luxury chocolate brand Saint Aymes was born, their strategy was to observe the greatest the industry had to offer, quality ingredients, and then add more- luxury packaging, a brand, 24 ct edible gold creating edible art chocolates with a unique design and a story.


The chocolates were first stocked in Selfridges Harvey Nichols and Fenwick. Following the chocolates the sisters opened the Saint Aymes café in Conaught village which they have now turned into a unique events venue.