Triple success for alumnae at LeicestershireLive Women in Business Awards

women in business award

Alumnae Kate Walker, Penny Coates, and Samantha Gibbs were awarded New Business of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, and Small Business of the Year respectively.

The LeicestershireLive Business Awards 2021 aim to celebrate success, recognise achievement and highlight the innovative people and companies throughout Leicestershire who are putting their region on the map by boosting the economy while making a positive contribution to the local community.

Kate Walker (MEng Product Design Engineering 2019) was awarded New Business of the Year for her Loughborough-based business, Exphand Prosthetics. The company designs low-cost 3D printed prosthetics for children in the developing world. ExpHand is a 3D printed prosthetic arm that can be adjusted to fit any child, aged three to 10 years old. It costs less than £50 to produce.

Kate says:

Using 3D printing means that ExpHands can be manufactured relatively quickly and cost effectively, with little waste, close to where they are needed. The technique also opens up opportunities for customisation in style and colour, making the devices more appealing to young people.

The alumna started the business during her final year at Loughborough and later joined The Studio. She has gone on to win multiple awards since including Experian Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2019, Generation Next Future Leader Award, and LeicestershireLive’s Innovation Award.

Samantha Gibbs (BA Design 1997) was awarded Small Business of the Year for her Leicester-based business Nest Gifts.

She said:

Nest's story began in 2002 when we opened our doors as a gorgeous boutique gift shop in a leafy suburb of Leicester, and we have been serving our wonderful, and very loyal, customers ever since.

These days we serve a wider audience which spans worldwide, yet we have stayed true to our original vision of offering beautiful gifts from the best that each artisan and small, often UK based, company can offer.

One of the event’s most prestigious awards, the Lifetime achievement Award, was awarded to alumna Penny Coates (MBA 1997). Penny had previously experienced a successful executive career in FMCG, Retail, and Airports with Mars, PepsiCo, Boots, Asda (Director own label), and the Manchester Airport Group (MD, COO and Main Board at MAG).

Additionally, she had previously been a member of Council at Loughborough University. The alumna is now a Senior Advisor and NED at AMP Capital, Trustee at Heart of the National Forest Foundation, NED at S4RB, Trustee and member of Audit and Risk, Vice Chair of Strategy at Chester Zoo.

Congratulations to our alumnae on their success.

Read more about the awards.