Sarah Southworth has been crowned as ‘Business Woman of the Year’ at the coveted 2012 Enterprise Vision Awards (the EVAs), which celebrate the achievements of women in business across the north west and which are run by Pink Link Ladies founders, Coral Horn and Rae Stephenson.
Southworth’s career began in the mid-nineties when she took on an ironing job following the death of her partner. After purchasing the client list from its owner, she soon expanded into domestic cleaning and found herself overrun with work. Specialised Cleaning Services was launched in 2005 after a regular customer offered her the opportunity to clean empty or ‘void’ properties.
Despite facing a number of setbacks along the way, Southworth now employs 25 people across Manchester, Bolton, Stockport, Liverpool and Preston, working with housing associations offering specialised clearance and deep cleaning services. Her processes are ethical, aiming to salvage or recycle items wherever the team can.
Southworth said: “Winning the Eva award is an amazing achievement for me. I feel I have reached the pinnacle of my career and I feel like all the hard work was worth it now. It has also given me more confidence and drive to take my business further.”
Co-founder of the EVAs, Coral Horn, said: “We have been absolutely thrilled with the response from businesses this year and were delighted to receive over 14,000 votes in support of our finalists. The standard of this year’s entries has been incredibly high and we would like to say a huge congratulations to Sarah.”