Hosted by acclaimed broadcaster, entrepreneur and author Arti Halai, the awards took place at The Royal Armouries, in Leeds, where outstanding, female business leaders from across the UK competed in nine categories.

Each finalist triumphed in their regional heat to make it to the finals and were put through their paces at a live session with a panel of professionally respected judges.

Alex Depledge, CEO of Resi, was crowned with the top award of FL Businesswoman of the Year 2019, after leaving the judges “stunned” with her “drive, passion and innovation”.

Rachel Engwell, head of the FL judging panel and Head of Tax Yorkshire and the North East at Grant Thornton, said: “It’s great that programmes like FL National Awards & Summit are taking the time to recognise the fantastic achievements of women in business across the UK. Through this initiative, more and more women will be empowered to become leaders and innovators in their fields.”

Forward Ladies CEO Griselda Togobo said: “It is 100 years since women first got the right to vote in the UK, but gender equality remains elusive. Whilst we have clearly made progress over the years, our mission to achieve equality and bring diversity to leadership roles is not yet complete.

“That said, this has been another fantastic year for women and that should be celebrated, and through our National Awards we are once again delighted to showcase the very best women in business here in the UK.

“The calibre of entries has been increasing year on year, and our regional shortlists are the everyday heroines, trailblazers and role models who have succeeded despite enormous challenges. They deserve recognition.”

“Each year we are inspired by the number of high-calibre entries, and this year has highlighted the exceptionally talented businesswomen we have in the UK. These entrants are the future entrepreneurs of our country and play a critical role in our economy.”

The FL National Awards & Summit, with TopicUK as media partner is now in its 10th year and has become one of the highest profiles and respected accolades for women, recognising their enormous contribution to the economy and acknowledges start-ups to multi-million-pound companies. This year’s high-profile speakers included Richard John Carter, Managing Director of BASF UK & Ireland; Jon Geldart, Director General of The Institute of Directors; and 2018 Businesswoman of the Year, Lara Oyesanya UK Counsel and Director, Legal at Klarna Bank.

Panel discussion was focused on how businesses can help inspire future generations. Panellists included progressive young leaders Emma-Jane Tarabay from Cohorted and FL National Awards alumni Jessica Okoro, founder of BeScience.

The keynote speaker was Anna Keeling, MD of Boeing Defence UK and the alumni of the FL National Awards & Summit. Anna joined Boeing as Managing Director of Boeing Defence UK in 2019 from GKN Aerospace. She is responsible for Boeing UK’s significant defence programmes, people and sites and the organisation’s growth, alignment and business development.