The search is on for the most inspirational women across the North, as applications open for one of the UK’s longest running annual awards.

Now in its 38th year, the Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards celebrates the achievements of exceptional women, highlighting individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to their business, chosen sector or the wider community.

Taking place at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole on Friday 16 October, the Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards has two exclusive categories open for applications, Business Woman of the Year and Woman with Edge. Colleagues, family and friends can nominate entrepreneurs or business leaders from across the private and public sectors, or applicants can simply nominate themselves.

The Business Woman of the Year award is designed to celebrate the success of an individual making transformational changes within their organisation or sector, while the Woman with Edge award, this year sponsored by Freeths Solicitors, shines a spotlight on someone who challenges the status quo, and who understands that the road to success is not always straight.

An additional award for Woman of Achievement is presented to an individual or group of women from across the country who have strived to achieve the remarkable, often for the benefit of others and in some cases against the odds. The winner of this category is selected by the board of directors of Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards.

Creating an extensive network of women who are ambitious and driven, 2019 winners of the Women of the Year Awards were: Business Woman of the Year - Jennie Johnson MBE (CEO, Kids Allowed Ltd), Woman with Edge - Debbie Francis, (Managing Director, Direct Rail Services) and Women of Achievement - The Women of Grenfell.

Over the last four decades, winners have included Baroness Karren Brady CBE, Katie Piper, Dame Asha Khemka DBE (Principal and CEO of West Nottinghamshire College) and British Paralympian, Claire Lomas MBE.
All proceeds from the Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards go directly to charity, with over £500,000 raised to date. For 2020, the event will support The Prince’s Trust: Women Supporting Women Initiative, a passionate group of supporters who are committed to changing the lives of young women, and Elle for Elle, a charitable foundation that connects a wellbeing programme to refugees in the UK.

Applications and nominations for the 2020 awards are now open and Zalena Vandrewala, chair of Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards, commented:
“For 38 years, these awards have been dedicated to profiling and recognising the most inspiring women across the UK. We are excited for this year’s applications, as we encourage successful and strong women to showcase their talents and celebrate their achievements with us.”

We would also like to thank our business community, sponsors and associated charities, for their continued support.”

To nominate or submit an application, please visit To purchase tickets to the Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards 2020, please visit