Latest News | 8 November 2021

Rachel reflects on awards treble for pandemic support

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The owner of bid writing consultancy Ask the Chameleon and co-founder of The Swap Shop has been recognised with three top awards within the space of a month.

Rachel Hayward recently scooped East Midlands Chamber’s Enterprising Women Female Entrepreneur of the Year title, clinched the DerbyshireLive Business Awards crown for Professional Services, and topped a poll in the Woman Who Achieves and Solopreneur Awards.

The award from the chamber recognised the personal lengths she went to, supporting small and new businesses in the East Midlands, to survive and thrive during the pandemic, while at the same time fighting to keep her own business afloat.

During the pandemic, she partnered with the founders of HUUB and think3 to set up The Derby Swap Shop – a website offering local firms the chance to swap goods and services free of charge.

The concept has since gone national and the company is now known as The Swap Shop.

Rachel said: “I am a passionate advocate of the economic and social impact that entrepreneurs and small/micro businesses make to the economy.

“At the start of the pandemic, like everyone else, things were tough, and I experienced the awesome power of the business community in helping me survive. I just wanted to pay this support forward.

“I’m utterly bowled over by these awards but just hope that this recognition will help to highlight the vital role female entrepreneurs and small businesses play in our local and wider economy.”

Lewis Stringer, senior manager at The British Business Bank’s Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), which sponsored the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category at the Enterprising Women Awards, said: “The quality and quantity of nominees in this category is testimony to the strength of the region’s female entrepreneurs and Rachel is such a very worthy winner.

“Her amazing personal resilience and selfless contribution to the wider business community over the last 18 months is inspiring.”

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