Our Co-founder, Helen Tonks, is crowned Female Entrepreneur of the Year at the prestigious regional FL National Awards & Summit 2019!
The Forward Ladies National Awards recognise the achievements of business women in the UK and Ireland. In particular, women who #DareToLead and push the boundaries in their respective industries. Female Entrepreneur of the Year is one of nine awards given. Other awards include Corporate Leader, Mentor of the Year and STEM Leader.
The vibrant celebration and regional heat took place at Manchester’s Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel on Friday 13th September – a lucky calendar date after all! In essence, the awards bring together female entrepreneurs, civil servants, charity founders, and other professionals to celebrate the best talent from across the North West of England, Wales and Ireland. Next stop is the national final in Leeds at the end of November.
Griselda Togobo, Forward Ladies Managing Director, said:
I’m always impressed by the exceptionally talented businesswomen who enter, and the high-calibre entries this year have surpassed all expectations. A very well done to all those who have joined us and provided such inspiration for other entrepreneurs through their ongoing successes.
* Heartfelt “thanks” go to Manchester Metropolitan University (both the Business School and the Centre for Enterprise) the Department for International Trade, the Federation of Small Businesses, Cheshire East Council – Economic Development (formerly the Skills & Growth Company) and South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce and The Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.
Helen Tonks, Hydraulics Online:
Hydraulics Online is 15 this year, but in 2017 I decided to drive stepped change in the business and that meant investing in my own self-development too. The business and I have been on such a journey since. The external support* we have had and continue to receive is priceless and helping to take us from strength-to-strength. To say that I am thrilled to have won the regional Female Entrepreneur of the Year award is an understatement. But our team need to share the limelight too – I couldn’t deliver without them!
More than just an Operations Director and Co-founder of Hydraulics Online
Mark and Helen co-founded Hydraulics Online in 2004. Mark was the ‘hydraulics’ and Helen was the ‘everything else’. Today, as our Operations Director, she is the vision and drive behind the growth of the Hydraulics Online brand. In essence, Helen has taken the business from a blank sheet of paper to the award-winning, global provider that we are today.
Helen loves making things happen and making every day count. She is naturally restless. However, that’s hardly surprising given that she juggles the work-life balance with being a mum to five. And on top of that she’s a parent governor at a local school too!
Paying it forward and “doing her bit” for charity really matter to Helen. She’s the first to roll her sleeves up (or get muddy) for a good cause.
Helen thrives on working with others to inspire the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. She actively engages in the business community through mentoring and public speaking. This typically involves anything from ministerial round table lunches discussing trade within the Commonwealth and giving keynote speeches to mentoring up-and-coming entrepreneurs and students.
My greatest achievement is managing the journey, in a male-dominated industry, from a blank sheet of paper to create a leading company recognised worldwide… while juggling daily to balance the needs of our large family.
About Forward Ladies
Forward Ladies is a women’s network. Their mission is to create a global platform that connects women to opportunities, networks and expertise that empowers them.
Since 1999, the organisation has worked closely with some of the biggest names in business. Above all the aim is to create innovative events and programmes designed to help women achieve their individual aspirations. Subsequently this also helps companies to achieve much-needed diversity in leadership in the wider business community.
Forward Ladies’ high-profile clients include HSBC, Yorkshire Water, Sage UK, United Utilities and Hitachi Rail.