Double Teesside success at Northern Power Women Awards

Two well-known leaders of Teesside-based national charities received the accolades at this year’s Northern Power Women Awards, with both Bianca Robinson and Yasmin Khan praised for their work.

The awards celebrate the incredible achievements of women and men working together to accelerate gender diversity across the north and on a global scale and serve to re-connect people after a year of lockdown, social distancing and working from home.

This year’s awards attracted a record-breaking 1,480 nominations, and had over 900 people in attendance, making it the largest awards celebrating gender equality in Europe.

Bianca Robinson, CEO of Teesside-based CEO Sleepout UK, was picked out as “One to Watch”. Through the charity, Bianca challenges business leaders to spend a night outdoors, giving up their warm bed for one night to raise funds for somebody who doesn’t have one. They’ve raised £2.8m for more than 100 charities working to combat poverty and homelessness.

“I am thrilled and honoured to be recognised for the work I do encouraging business leaders across the UK to join our call to end homelessness for good,” she said.

“My mission is to harness the powerful voice of business, unlocking compassion and understanding of some of the complex issues surrounding homelessness among the business leadership community, as well as raising vital funds via CEO Sleepout events that have changed countless lives.

“Winning the “One To Watch” category really puts the focus on what I’m going to do next – which at the moment will be growing momentum and support for the movement after what has been a challenging year.”

The Innovation Award went to another Middlesbrough-based charity, Halo Project, run by Yasmin Khan. Yasmin and her team provide expertise on how to most effectively implement the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Act 2015. She works alongside victims, survivors and stakeholders to inform improvements in the way services are planned, commissioned and delivered.

Another North-East winner, as the Outstanding Entrepreneur, was Sara Davies MBE, founder and creative director at Crafter’s Companion, who was guest speaker at the 2020 Tees Businesswomen Awards. In 2019, Sara was named as the youngest entrepreneur to join BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den.

Simone Roche MBE, founder and CEO of Northern Power Women, described the event as “a monumental moment”, adding: “We celebrate the amazing achievements of women and men who have contributed so much to promoting gender diversity, both individually and collectively.”

She added “The sheer passion of the NPW community, plus the volume and quality of nominations continues to exceed all of our expectations, as we have received a record-breaking 1,480 nominations, featuring outstanding people with some truly incredible stories to tell.

“I know our 70 judges have an increasingly hard task in shortlisting and selecting winners as the quality, and quantity, of entries grows year after year.”