It is with great pride that we announce the finalists for this year’s national Freelancer of the Year Awards. To acknowledge the great diversity in freelancers that entered, we have two categories this year and a total of fifteen finalists. In the Inspire category there are ten finalists, each aged 24 or above and with well-established businesses. In the Aspire category there are five finalists that are newcomers to the scene, aged 23 or below. The prizes include £5,000 for the Inspire category winner and £2,500 for two runners up. The winner of the Aspire category will be awarded £3,000. Alongside this there will be a range of business packages and products for all winners and runners up.
The judges this year will be: Caroline Morgan - Elected Director at IPSE; Dawn Whitely - Chief Executive at National Enterprise Network; Jim Cassidy – PR Advisor at Prima Communications and Media Ltd; Kevin McCallum – Director of Business Development at FreeAgent; Rebecca Shipham – 2015 IPSE Freelancer of the Year. Each member of the judging panel has extensive experience of self-employment and will be closely scrutinising all finalists based on criteria such as the strength of their portfolio, their innovation and creativity and their future plans. The awards themselves will be presented at a prestigious event on National Freelancers Day November 12, with over 120 guests expected to attend.
For more information on the IPSE Freelancer of the Year Awards, visit the official website at www.ipseawards.co.uk
Nick Forshaw – Weakend Productions
Nick writes, produces, directs, designs, animates and edits CGI and graphics sequences for clients across a broad range of markets. Putting modesty to one side, he often says he’s a ‘one-man production powerhouse’. His previous work includes producing content for Britain’s Got Talent, directing TV adverts and designing big screen visuals for theatre and music tours (including for dance group Diversity and the Steps reunion tour).
Rebecca Seeley Harris – re:legal Consulting
After graduating from university with a Master’s in business and international commercial law, Rebecca realised she wanted to start her own business. She set up a legal consultancy, some 15 years ago now, on the basis of IR35. Every member of Rebecca’s family has started their own business – you could say it was in her genes! Rebecca’s previous work includes being seconded to HM Treasury’s Office of Tax Simplification to be a policy adviser on the Employment Status Review, published in March this year.
David Wood – Metanoeo
After working in the probation service for 13 years, David became frustrated by how difficult it was for the people he was dealing with to experience a sense of liberation and optimism about the future. He took action, and is now running a business that offers life coaching for the troubled and troublesome. David’s work typically includes coaching people recovering from issues of mental health, addiction, abuse and involvement with crime. He has created a business that works with people, not to address their problems but to help them build a better future.
Paul Allington – The Code Guy
Paul runs a small software development company dedicated to solving real-life business problems in creative and innovative ways. This includes web development, rapid prototyping, ongoing maintenance and more. His greatest achievement has been to fight back from what felt like the ultimate defeat – the failure of his first business – to become ever more successful. When his business failed, he chose to accept what had happened, draw a line, start again and move forward. It was one big fight, but since then he’s never looked back.
Ben Matthews – Montfort
Ben works alongside his wife, running Montfort, a digital agency. Together they manage digital, social and content marketing campaigns for some of the biggest and best brands in the world. Ben’s client list includes the UN Refugee Agency, the Guardian and HarperCollins. Yet perhaps his best-known work is creating the Twitter hashtag #walktogether. Ben worked with a wide group of organisations to engage with people across the UK in a public commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings. The hashtag #walktogether was trending worldwide for the day.
Andy Wilde – Wilde Architects
In May this year, after five years’ experience at a large architectural practice, Andy set up Wilde Architects and began freelancing full time. His passion for design-led development is now his specialism for a range of clients and sectors. His fresh approach focuses on the customer experience and increases the value of projects through high-quality sustainable design. Andy received the WPA 2.0: Working Public Architecture Award in 2009 in Washington DC and was recognised on the world stage for his developmental ideas, revitalising the post-industrial infrastructure of portal towns.
Charlotte Wibberley – Blossom Executive Support
In order to raise her family with flexible working hours, Charlotte created a brand for herself as a ‘Right Hand Woman’ and Online Business Manager. Alongside this she also has her own virtual assistant business called Blossom Executive Support. Juggling two businesses alongside a growing family was a struggle at first but she persevered and now enjoys a successful family and work/life balance. Charlotte was also recently awarded a Mumpreneur 100 award, which recognises the top 100 female entrepreneurs in the UK who are running a business while raising a family.
Christina Lister – Christina Lister Comms
Christina has been a specialist freelance marketing and communications consultant in the museum, heritage and arts sectors for three years. Her impressive client list includes the University of Cambridge’s Museum of Zoology; Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery; the King’s Lynn Arts Centre; the North Norfolk Stories project; and SHARE Museums East. She also does pro-bono work for ICP Support which raises awareness of and provides support for women suffering from intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. She is a passionate advocate of freelancing.
Georgie Manly – georgiemanly.tumblr.com
Georgie has developed a niche position using art and creative development to support community engagement and learning. As an Artist Facilitator she runs arts workshops in collaboration with museums, galleries, charities and local councils for attendees from a wide range of backgrounds. Georgie has spent several years tailoring her work for people with learning disabilities or those in poverty stricken situations. She uses her collaborative, multimedia practice to encourage and give confidence to her participants and takes pride in seeing the impact the workshops she organises can have.
Rachel McMillan – Rachel McMillan Ltd
Rachel is a graduate of the famed Scottish Textiles University in Galashiels and is passionate about developing a fashion powerhouse in Scotland. She set up her own fashion brand in Glasgow, which is “contemporary, urban and artistic”. Rachel’s designs focus on close-up detailed drawings which become abstract patterns at a distance. Recognition of her work in several competitions has raised her profile and later this year she will have a pop-up retail space at House of Fraser and her first permanent retail space in Princes Square shopping centre in Glasgow.
Caitlin McEvoy – District23
Caitlin balances full-time media work with freelance projects designing graphics for local artists, bands and businesses, on top of running an established clothing line called District23. She designs and screen-prints all of District23’s clothing, some of which has been featured in leading publications. Caitlin has previously worked on in-house graphics for Bishop Burton College, on album artwork for local musicians, and on a charity Christmas album for Barnardo’s.
Craig McDougall – Broken Physics Productions
Craig runs Broken Physics Productions, a joint venture with his business partner which produces both commercial video work and community-based media. The commercial work isn’t only what the company’s about, though – Craig spends equal time promoting creativity, innovation and wellbeing in his home city of Southampton. The company was recognised as Best Graduate Start-Up at Southampton Solent University’s Enterprise and Employability Awards, and Craig has produced work for high-profile clients including Sainsbury’s and IBM.
Jake Wright – The Nameless Gallery
Jake founded The Nameless Gallery, a new and refreshing take on the idea of an online art gallery. The enterprise’s USP is its take on an established concept – the gallery provides a platform for lesser-known artists to showcase their work but doesn’t charge commission, instead asking for a reasonable flat fee. A year after its inception, the gallery has picked up artists from all over the world and developed a Twitter presence of over 60,000 followers. The gallery frequently reaches a million Twitter engagements per month.
Kelly Gilmore-Grassam – Making You Content
Kelly is a freelance copywriter and founder of the agency Making You Content, providing high-quality copy and strategic marketing advice to an impressive network of clients. Some of these clients operate on a global scale. Kelly became passionate about self-employment when she discovered that she could travel the world and take on jobs simultaneously, and she hasn’t looked back since. Although Kelly usually operates independently, she’s recently taken on six of her own freelancers for extra support, and is working towards taking on even more.
Nick Hilton – SnapStudies
Nick is the founder and director of SnapStudies, an online educational resource which provides materials for the modern students of the digital age. The materials are based on the GCSE curriculum and make use of video, audio and text to maximise engagement with the learning process. Nick was runner up Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Cheshire Young Business Leaders in 2015, and gave a speech in Moscow on student entrepreneurship after being selected to represent his university at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress.