She said: “Their help was invaluable – I owe them a lot. I want to say a huge thank you to the university and Beepurple for helping me so much with my business while I was starting out, and for its continued support since I have graduated.”
The awards, sponsored by HSBC, were presented by Forward Ladies, set up 1999 to “celebrate the success of high-flying female talent and to unlock potential in professional women”.
Maria and the 10 other category winners will take part in a judging day in Manchester in November before a distinguished panel of business specialists, where they will join the finalists from events in the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East, and the North West and Isle of Man. The national winner will be announced at a grand finale to be held in Leeds on the 1 December.
In addition, Maria’s Personalised Wooden Honeymoon Luggage Tags have been shortlisted for 'Product of the Year' award in the Wedding Styling category, at the Notonthehighstreet.com Make Awards. The awards ceremony will take place in October.
Maria said: “Our team is really looking forward to it. There are over 5,000 partners on Notonthehighstreet.com and I am really proud to have been shortlisted and also proud of my team who play a vital part in the business and are brilliant to work with.
“The business has been growing year on year, with the business securing larger premises in 2016, sales have been up 85 per cent in the last quarter and we are also currently hiring more staff to work in our Hove studio.”