These are top young business and professional women in Wales in 2019.
The women on the list come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, from food and drink to leisure, tech start-ups to creative independents.
Paul Rowland, WalesOnline’s editor, said: “Since its launch in 2014 many of those who have made the lists, for both men and women, have gone on to achieve even great success.
If you are unhappy that you are not on the list or can think of someone who should be included you can enter them for the class of 2020. Entry will open soon.
The list is not ranked and the list of 35 businessmen can be found here.
1. Eleana Martyn, product manager Protect Your Gadget, 25
Eleana Martyn leads the development of gadget insurance comparison site Protect Your Gadget, which is based in Cwmbran, and has become a spokeswoman on gadget insurance.
Ms Martyn joined Comparison Creator in September 2017 to manage the relationship between Protect Your Gadget and major comparison sites such as Gocompare.com, Moneysupermarket.com, USwitch and Money.co.uk, as well as managing the providers/insurers. The performance of Protect Your Gadget has increased by more than 1,000% last year and is already on track to exceed that in 2019.
2. Lucy Pottinger, director of children’s services Orbis Education and Care, 35
At 29 Lucy Pottinger became the director of education at Orbis Education and Care, which is Wales’ largest independent provider of care and education services for individuals with autism.
Ms Pottinger now oversees all children’s services and lead two innovative day services in Swansea and Porth. Having recently opened its first school across the border in Tewskesbury, Orbis Education and Care, which is headquartered in Cardiff, is now a leading UK care provider running 16 schools and residential facilities across England and Wales, employing around 650 people.
3. Sarah John, founder and director Boss Brewing, 32
Sarah John is one of the few females at the helm of a brewery in the UK. She started up Boss Brewing in Swansea from scratch in April 2015 and the brewery has achieved huge commercial success. In just four years, the company is already in the top 30% of microbreweries in the UK in terms of turnover.
Boss beers are exported worldwide and has national on-trade distribution for her products through seven wholesale partners UK wide. Ms John has also gained listings with some of the largest UK pub chains including JD Wetherspoon, Mitchells and Butlers and Stonegate and national breweries including Coors and Marstons. Boss is one of the youngest breweries to be listed by multiple retailers, with Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Coop among its customers.
4. Stephanie Locke, chief executive Nightingale HQ, 32
Stephanie Locke has been a huge catalyst for the thriving tech meet-up scene in Cardiff and has been awarded the Microsoft MVP award every year since 2016 in recognition for her community efforts.
In December 2018 Ms Locke co-founded Nightingale HQ, an online platform to help businesses overcome challenges faced when adopting Artificial Intelligence. Ms Locke travels the world helping companies implement data science and AI and is a regular speaker on both subjects at conferences.
5. Carly Thompsett, owner Anaphase Store, 30
Carly Thompsett started her business Anaphase Store in 2015 after receiving help from the Princes’ Trust.
Anaphase Store is online and based in Cardiff. It stocks its own designs and slogans printed onto clothing ranging from newborn to 5XL. Homeware includes its own candle range and bath bombs, cosmetics, accessories, and make up brushes.
6. Hannah Saunders, founder Toddle, 33
Hannah Saunders founded Toddle in 2017 after leaving the RAF where she served as an Officer for nine years.
Based in the Wrexham Enterprise Hub, Toddle – an adventure skincare firm to meet the needs of families just like hers – hit the ground running, winning the Pitch it Wales competition netting £50,000 as well as £150,000 from private investors. They’ve secured partnerships with commercial chemists and Glyndwr University to create game-changing skincare products, including a dribble proof lip balm, and a stomach-friendly hand gel.
Ms Toddle has successfully pitched to Boots and are in talks with Waitrose. They have been approved by PETA, as totally cruelty free and vegan, as well as a partnership with the Melanoma fund for their sun cream. They have secured export opportunities to 10 countries. The business has five employees, and is creating five additional jobs in the next 12 months.
7. Jade Fisher, founder Jade Fisher Ltd, 30
Determined to build a challenging but fulfilling career, Jade Fisher decided that creating her own job was the best way to take control, so founded her company in 2015.
Based in Welsh ICE, Caerphilly, her business designs greetings cards, paper goods and gifts,, with many of her hand-painted designs focusing on positivity, kindness and encouragement.
At the start of the year, the business signed with the DanRich Group, one of the top gift and stationery sales rep companies in the US, and Ms Fisher’s cards are currently in around 100 stores. In the UK and Europe Ms Fisher’s cards are stocked by iconic British retailers including Selfridges, Liberty and high street brands Oliver Bonas and Anthropologie. The business is also in 500 stores across Australia and expects to expand to New Zealand and Asia.
8. Emily Hicks, founder Studio Hicks, 24
At 23, Ms Hicks took the risk of leaving a secure job to start her own design studio, after a deep desire to start her own business and build a career based around creativity.
Initially basing herself in Welsh ICE in Caerphilly, the business went from strength to strength with word of mouth referrals leading to a range of high-profile businesses.
Studio Hicks has now worked with established charities such as Ty Hafan and St Davids Hospice to institutions including Cardiff Metropolitan University and GoCompare.
After bringing another designer on board, the business aims to continue growing and within next six months become a full creative-consultancy.
9. Charlotte Hale, director of Sevenoaks Modular, 26
Sevenoaks Modular, a Neath-based specialist in timber frame construction, aims to invest £6.5m in acquiring and regenerating a large part of the iconic industrial site in Neath known locally as the Metal Box factory, the site is undergoing a renovation overhaul and is to be renamed the JCG Buildings.
The company, which currently employs around 100 people in Neath, anticipates it will double its workforce in the next 12 months in conjunction with its expansion to the 250,000 sq ft site. The company has been growing rapidly since it was formed in June 2018 on the back of a growing demand for modular construction solutions in the UK.
This move should allow it to go from producing 1,000 homes per year to more than 3,000 per year.
As the company’s director Ms Hale has played a key role in driving the business and this growth, she was recently recognised as Entrepreneur of the Year at The Welsh Women’s Awards.
10. Shayoni Lynn, Communications Manager and Chair of PRCA Cymru, 31
Shayoni Lynn moved to Wales from India in 2009 to complete an MA in International Journalism from Cardiff University. Within 10 years, she has established herself with the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and Government Communication Service (GCS).
Ms Lynn leads a communications programme for Cardiff University’s alumni relations, fundraising and strategic partnerships programmes. As Chair of PRCA Cymru, Ms Lynn represents Wales at the national PR and Communications Council, and sits on committees for PRCA Measurement & Evaluation, GCS South West & Wales, and CIPR Education & Skills.
11. Elin Evans, founder Elin Angharad, 24
Elin Evans makes bags and belts from leather, taking commissions to design bespoke items for customers locally and across the UK under her business name Elin Angharad. She specialises in reusing second hand leather products – from jackets to shoes – which often hold sentimental value for her customers, that she works into her new designs.
After graduating, Ms Evans discovered a space in Machynlleth town centre where she set up her workshop space, within the first year she made more than 70 commissioned products.
12. Jemima Oliver, interior designer HLM Architects, 30
As an interior designer for HLM Architects, Jemima demonstrates a distinct passion for social architecture and sustainability, describing herself as “a designer that is interested in creating spaces that harmonise with nature, reconnect us to each other and encourage positive change”. Even
As a student, Jemima Oliver won a Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (RSA) Student Design Award for creating an interactive game to highlight the importance of empowerment, integration and collaboration within society.
Since joining the HLM Cardiff studio in 2017, Ms Oliver has developed a diverse portfolio that covers hospitality, workplace, education and defence, and has worked on a number of high-profile projects both within the UK and internationally.
Having recently developed a concept scheme for IHG, delivering Wales’ first Staybridge Suites property for the brand, Ms Oliver is currently delivering an interior design scheme for a high-end, bespoke meeting suite for S&P Global in Canary Wharf’s 20 Canada Place. In addition, Ms Oliver acts as an industry mentor to interior design students at the University of South Wales.
13. Jessica Morgan, creative director Jessica Draws Media, 32
Jessica Morgan quit her job in 2012, and has gone from freelancing to starting her own agency. Ms Moragn now has four members of staff.
The Abergavenny-based agency offers animation, branding, illustration, infographics, and print design. Clients include Neath Port Talbot Council, Wales Co-operative Centre, and the NHS.
14. Kaitlin Davies, principal attorney and found Davies Legal Immigration, 32
Kaitlin Davies founded Davies Legal Immigration in 2014 and has grown it into a multinational business with offices in London and Atlanta. The business has grown to seven members of staff and has a client base from UK, Europe, China, India, Australia and USA.
Ms Davies is a keen entrepreneur who was able to focus on identifying and driving her core competencies into a thriving business with an unparalleled success record for her clients.
15. Natasha Bray, founder Guilt Free Health, 32
A qualified social worker, Natasha Bray set up Guilt Free Health in 2014. With no loan, Ms Bray reinvested most of the revenue into growing her business.
After battling with weight and eating disorders for more than 14 years of her life, Ms Bray decided to try and help women learn to lose weight safely through a unique integrated approach to optimum health and transforming their relationship with themselves and food.
Ms Bray left social work after maternity leave ended in summer 2017 with just enough profit to pay herself and a part time staff member. Within a year she says she had quadrupled business revenue. A year later tripled revenue again and is now building a team.
16. Sarah Farr, director Cwmdu Campsites, 29
Sarah Farr inherited a business she felt was 30 years behind its time in 2016. Ms Farr has since turned the business around, doubling turnover from £74k to £149k in two years, employing a new team and increased economic prosperity for the town of Cwmdu as a whole.
Ms Farr believes both the Mynydd ddu Tea Room and Farmers Arms Free house have prospered by the increase of campers to the campsite. The business is set to beat last year’s targets as off halfway through the season. Ms Farr is also a full-time teacher in mathematics and science.
17. Jenny Evans, chief executive Jenny Kate, 24
Jenny Evans founded Jenny Kate while at university. She graduated in July 2018, raised £350,000 from private investors and the Angels Syndicate, run by the Development Bank of Wales.
Ms Evans launched the Cardiff-based business at the end of May and is already trading internationally. Next on the cards will be another raise, towards the end of this year, to continue expanding into new overseas markets.
Alongside her business, Ms Evans has also become UK Policy Chair for Young Entrepreneurs at the FSB – passionate about supporting other people and lobbying central government for changes in the law to be made, to help support other young people set up businesses more easily.
18 & 19. Joelle Drummond & Sarah McNena, founders Drop Bear Beer Company, 24 & 27
Founded in Mumbles earlier this year Drop Bear’s non-alcoholic beer is already making waves. A decidedly Welsh-Australian enterprise, the business was started by Sarah McNena, from Melbourne, and Swansea-native Joelle Drummond.
The pair aim to ‘disrupt’ the traditional view of the non-alcoholic beer market, and have successfully produced 100% natural beverages that are below 0.5% ABV, vegan-friendly, low calorie, low sugar, and additive-free.
20 & 21. Emily Rees & Kelly Jones, managing director & technical director Mela Insights, both 25
Emily Rees and Kelly Jones are the co-founders of Mela Insights, an event-technology start-up that sells lead intelligence to exhibition and convention venues, allowing these venues to optimise available calendar space with upcoming events of high value.
Both girls graduated from University last summer. Ms Rees, who was born and grew up in Pembrokeshire, studied management at Swansea University. Ms Jones, who studied information science and film arts at the University of Pretoria, took the leap and moved from South Africa in June 2018 – choosing Wales as her desired destination.
Mela was founded while based within the Alacrity Foundation, a pre-incubator located in Newport, and has already traveled to major industry events to pitch their software to industry partners and customers including a recent trip to Frankfurt, Germany. Their working closely with venues across the UK including the newly built ICC Wales to look at bringing more international business events to Wales and are already collaborating with venues across the globe.
22. Rayner Davies, managing director A&R Cleaning, 34
After leaving school with one GCSE at the age of 16 Rayner Davies had her first baby, by 19 Rayner had two children and was on benefits. Ms Davies wanted to make more of her life and prove to people she wasn’t just a teen mum on benefits, and she came up with the Idea of offering an ironing service.
To set up she borrowed £1,000 off her parents, got a van, an iron, and ironing board, and a small piece of cardboard for her first advert which was handwritten and put in a shop window.
The business has diversified and grown over the years, now offering commercial cleaning, security, and other complimentary services. Ms Davies’ husband Ashley came on board in 2010 as finance director. A&R’s 10 birthday in business is nearing and plan to put on a celebration for the whole of their team, which is now near 200.
23. Francesca Irving, director Lunax, 27
Francesca Irving developed her digital marketing agency at Welsh Ice. Most of her client base is in Wales and incorporates a wide range of businesses.
Ms Irving also delivers training throughout Wales, producing online material and tutorials. She aims to become a qualified assessor this year, and regularly holds sessions at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
24. Aysha Chouhdary, Slater and Gordon family solicitor, 29
Aysha Chouhdary was recently appointed as a family solicitor at Slater and Gordon’s Cardiff office. The 29-year-old has experience in all areas of family law including complicated matters involving children and is able to offer advice on Sharia law and Islamic rulings.
Ms Chouhdary who is originally from Birmingham, moved to Cardiff in 2012 after gaining her law degree at the University of Birmingham and LPC at the Birmingham College of Law.
She started off as a paralegal and worked her way up the ranks at Welsh firm Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice before qualifying in 2016. She also founded the Asian Women’s Professional Network Group in Cardiff.
25. Tori Wright, managing director Coed Derw Day Nursery, 34
Tori Wright founded Coed Derw Day Nursery, in Llangennech, Llanelli, with her mother and sister in 2015 with Ms Wright responsible for the management of the business and day-to-day running of the nursery.
Built on a spirit of play, the nursery encourages garden activities as much as possible, often holding workshops, classes and games that keep the children engaged and promotes a love for nature and the active adventures of outdoors.
In its four years, the nursery has supported more than 200 children and is constantly growing.
26. Siwan Rees, entrepreneur acceleration manager NatWest, 35
Siwan Rees heads up the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator in Cardiff leading a team that supports more than 100 of Wales’ brightest and most exciting start-up and scale-up businesses.
In a career spanning more than 15 years she has worked across multiple sectors, most recently specialising in supporting the growth of Wales’ entrepreneurial landscape. Earlier this year she was appointed entrepreneurship development manager at the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator in Cardiff and charged with leading the bank’s successful entrepreneur accelerator programme in Wales. She is also a member of the NatWest Cymru Board.
Fluent in Welsh, French and Spanish, Ms Rees is passionate about Welsh entrepreneurs and helping achieve international success.
27. Lucy Emanuel, associate Capital Law, 35
Lucy Emanuel is a lawyer in the Commercial Disputes team at Capital Law, she was promoted to associate in January 2019.
An expert in contentious and non-contentious regulatory matters – including regulatory investigations, claims involving breaches of regulations, and advising companies on compliance with regulatory requirements – Ms Emanuel has worked on some of Capital Law’s most high-profile cases in the past 12-months.
She has worked internationally, most notably with a large American tech company in respect of an alleged data breach.
Ms Emanuel has also led in a successful £82m professional negligence claim for a company against an accountant and auditor who failed to detect a ponzi scheme being run through the company’s accounts.
28. Annie Browne, founder Hello My PA, co-founder Freelance Heroes, 33
Annie Browne is the founder of virtual assistant business Hello My PA and the co-founder of Freelance Heroes; a community supporting UK based freelancers.
Hello My PA is currently supporting 14 UK based businesses from offices at Welsh ICE in Caerphilly and Freelance Heroes has an active community of more than 7,000 members and was recently awarded ‘Freelance Ambassador of Year’ by IPSE (The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed).
She supports business owners via workshops and mentoring, and works with other organisations such as Go Connect, in delivering digital skills training to those looking to skill up for the workplace. Ms Browne also delivers training for the 5-9 Club which is run by Welsh ICE to support entrepreneurs through the early stages of their business.
29. Katie Cromwell, founder and director No. 86 Estate Agency, 33
Katie Cromwell established No. 86 Estate Agency, which is based in Pontarddulais, two years ago. Ms Cromwell wanted to offer a unique twist on the estate agency industry by merging traditional and new digital methods of an estate agency.
Having worked within the industry for many years Ms Cromwell could see the way the industry was going – competitors such as Purple Bricks introducing a new digital approach, meant that things were starting to shift. However, she still had faith in the traditional method of estate agency, but knew things needed a shake-up. This led to her starting No. 86 Estate Agency was born.
In the future, Ms Cromwell aims to franchise the business to other areas of Wales, where the individual running each branch would have the same standard of local knowledge to that specific area.
30. Cath Jones, director Sadler Jones, 32
Cath Jones had worked in the greetings card industry for 12 years before setting up on her own.
The award winning designer from Barry creates contemporary greeting cards, stationery, gift wrap and prints, with the company using eco-friendly FSC certified papers and boards. Saddler Jones also sells kids clothing and enamel pins.
Ms Jones’ designs are stocked in Anthropologie, Selfridges, John Lewis and Oliver Bonas.
31. Emilie Layla Lovaine-James, photographer and videographer, personal trainer and designer, 30
Based in Llanelli Wales, Emilie Layla Lovaine-James runs a number of business while also building her social media presence.
The Wild Bride, Ms Lovaine-James’ award-winning wedding photography business, has seen her flown to shoot in places such as Australia, Iceland, Florida, Mykonos, Croatia, and Portugal.
Ms Lovaine-James also runs an online fashion and jewellery, Lovaine, where she sells her designs, which have been featured in Surfgirl and Cosmo magazine.
Ms Lovaine-James is also a a personal trainer and sponsored athlete, having worked on campaigns with global brands such as Adidas, Roxy and Billabong.
32. Emma Gray, digital communications manager Be the Spark, 27
Emma Gray moved to Cardiff and joined the innovation-driven entrepreneurship movement, BeTheSpark in January 2018 having previously worked for Entrepreneurial Spark in her native Glasgow.
As well as communications and brand identity, Ms Gray is responsible for project managing some of the initiative’s most widely attended events, including its Pitch It Wales series where investors are connected to entrepreneurs for potential live equity investment.
Ms Gray was named Young Person of the Year at the WalesOnline Digital Awards 2019, and through her leadership, has organically grown BeThe Spark’s social media audience into thousands of followers and helped bring the vision to the organisations, individuals and enterprises that need it most.
33. Ruby Harcombe, investment executive Development Bank of Wales, 29
Ruby Harcombe joined the Development Bank in 2016 as assistant investment executives and was promoted to investment executive last summer. Ms Harcombe had spent the previous five years with the Royal Bank of Scotland including two years with the corporate structured finance team.
This summer Ms Harcombe was involved with a £3.2m investment from the Development Bank of Wales to OXIS Energy. The Brazilian battery manufacturer will establish a plant in Port Talbot with the goal of creating hundreds of jobs within the next 10 years.
34. Pippa Jones, director Optimal Chiropractic & Wellness Centre, 34
Optimal Chiropractic & Wellness Centre has been trading for eight years and Pippa Jones has seen the business grow year on year and in the past two years revenue increased by 46%, with the number of staff growing from two to five.
The centre provides a community outreach programme where they offer spinal screening to local schools, businesses, charities and events to enhance improve employee wellbeing. Ms Jones has built up a portfolio of large corporate associates such as Companies House, Deloitte, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff University and the BBC.
35. Lauren Bell, founder Cosi Care, 25
Lauren Bell, born and raised in Swansea, came up with her business idea while studying at Brunel University London, from where she graduated last summer. Cosi Care is dedicated to creating products that offer instant relief to children suffering with eczema.
Her first product, a friendly toy turtle, combines engaging play with successful itch management. It offers cooling and frictional elements that a child can use to cool the surface of their skin as an alternative to scratching.
Ms Bell won the Creative Industries award at this year’s Mayor of London’s Entrepreneur Competition, which came with a £20,000 prize and a year’s free office space to help Cosi Care grow.
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