A GOMERSAL company that made its name on TV series Dragon’s Den was the pick of the bunch in an awards ceremony held to celebrate women in business.
Liz Colleran, owner of Duvalay, scooped the title of the 2012 Forward Ladies Business Woman of the Year, at a ceremony at the Queen’s Hotel, Leeds.
Liz created her company in 2003 after combining a portable memory foam mattress topper with a shaped duvet, and soon became Hilary Davey’s first investment on Dragon’s Den in 2010, when she paid £80,000 for 26 per cent of the business.
The award caps off a good year for Duvalay as, despite the economic downturn, the company reported 10 per cent profit increase in 2012.
The judges said: “Liz is ambitious and has plenty of drive to grow the business through selective customer targeting and exports.
“Targeting large companies like Virgin Atlantic and JML, and adapting products to suit their market increased sales by 30 per cent and presents a strong demonstration of product innovation.”
Liz was also the winner in the Manufacturing Business Woman of the Year category, sponsored by the Yorkshire and Humber Manufacturing Advisory Service, with the award presented by Karen Clough, marketing manager of MAS.
Liz said: “I am delighted at the news – we have gone from strength to strength at the company, and I would like to thank all our employees and people we have worked with who have made this possible.
“Running a business is hard, and moments like this where your hard work is recognised make it all worthwhile.”
Liz is no stranger to awards, as she has won gongs at both the Motorhome Monthly Magazine Awards and the Reporter Series Business Awards, but said that this was her biggest accolade yet.
She is now developing a new venture – the first fully recyclable, lightweight mattress for the caravan market – which has the potential to capitalise on her patent in USA.
Also nominated for an award at the ceremony was Fiona Wood, for the start up businesswoman of the year award.
Fiona, of Cleckheaton, has a background in beauty therapy and launched her business, Naturally Cool Kids, selling natural skincare products for babies and children.