A BOLTON businesswoman has donated a £1,000 prize to help boost the plans of women in the UK and around the world.

Jackie Hyde, Managing Director of Stanmore Insurance based in Little Lever, put forward the cash prize as part of the SheInspires Awards.

These annual awards, which began in Bolton seven years ago, went national last year and global this year for the first time. Entries have come in from Denmark and Indian, the US, UAE, South Africa and Australia among many countries and there are 145 finalists in the 18 categories.

The calibre of the entries, however, proved a special spur for award-winning entrepreneur and awards’ judge Jackie. She decided to put up a cash award - the Stepping Stone Prize - to help one woman take her work and plans further.

“The idea came to me when I was in the process of reading about some of the nominees,” she explained. “I was blown away by the dedication and commitment of a number of women.

“These ladies want to improve the lives of others or are reaching their personal or business goals against so many challenges. In certain cases, it just felt some financial support – however small – could make their lives a little easier and help them achieve even greater success.

“I therefore decided to email Gulnaz (Brennan, the awards’ organiser) with this idea and she agreed it was a go. It is going to be very difficult to choose as there are so many potential inspirational recipients but, with Gulnaz alongside me, I’m sure we can find the worthy individual.”

Jackie is one of a large group of judges, including local business people, taking part in the Virtual Festival of Inspiration on October 11 and 12. This is hosted by the University of Bolton and is when the winners for the SheInspires Awards will be selected.

They have been joined by new judges Sue Johnson who is Deputy Chief Executive of Bolton Council, Alexandra Devany, Head-teacher of Mount St Joseph School and Sanjeet Bains, Managing Director of Bolton Cares Ltd.

The SheInspires Awards will be held at the Bolton Whites Hotel on Thursday, November 25 as well as online. To book tickets go to https://www.trybooking.co.uk/BBUL