Entrepreneur in the running for top award

A Whitley Bay businesswoman has been shortlisted for a top regional award.

Sunday, 30th October 2016, 7:55 am
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 8:45 am
Claire Willis, who has been shortlisted for a prestigious award in the annual North East Woman Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards.

Claire Willis, who runs science communication and consultancy company Fusion STEM, has been named a finalist at the annual North East Women Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Claire has been named one of the three finalists in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) category – a new category which acknowledges the contribution North East women are making to the STEM industry in the region.

She said: “I’m quite shocked that I have managed to get this far. There are so many amazing women out there running incredibly successful businesses and I am honoured to be considered for this award alongside them.”

Claire set up Fusion STEM in July 2013 which aims to engage and enthuse young people, teachers, parents and the wider community through their events and activities.

She said: “The STEM industries are massively important to our region’s economy. With research indicating a young person’s mind is made up on their choice of career path by the age of 11, our work in schools, with parents and the wider community is vitally important to the future economic success of our region.”

Their hugely popular after school ‘Kablooey Clubs’ are one way they aim to inspire, engage and enthuse younger children.

Pupils take part in fun weekly sessions led by qualified and experienced STEM Communicators with topics such as space to making bouncing custard balls and green slime.

The North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, which are in their 17th year, celebrate women’s achievements in a range of sectors from Heart of the Community to Best Small Business.

Supported by global technology business Sage and the North East England Chamber of Commerce, there were record entries for the 12 categories.

Nickie Gott, Chair of the awards and of the Chamber’s Women’s Advisory Board, said: “We have a truly amazing group of finalists this year. It was extremely difficult to decide who should go through to the grand final in November but we believe we have a selection which represents the best women in our region.”

The judges are now in the process of visiting and interviewing all the finalists and the winners will be announced on November 11 at an awards ceremony in Newcastle.