Joanne of Grasmere Gingerbread shortlisted for Businesswoman of the Year

Joanne Hunter, co-owner of Grasmere Gingerbread®, is a finalist in the Businesswoman of the Year category of the prestigious 2017 E3 Business Awards.She was selected from hundreds of nominees and has been invited to the awards dinner at the Macron Stadium in Bolton on Thursday 13th July. “I was stunned when I found out I was just one of six women through to the final,’ said Joanne, who has been running the iconic Lakeland business with husband Andrew since 2000.

“I like to think that this recognition is not just for me but the whole team at Grasmere Gingerbread® and also Andrew and our three children who work in the business.”

Grasmere Gingerbread® was invented in 1854 by Victorian cook Sarah Nelson and is still made fresh every day inside her former Church Cottage home in Grasmere – now the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop.

“I also see this as recognition of Sarah, an ordinary Victorian working woman who was far ahead of her time and who created something wonderful,” added Joanne.

The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is now a major visitor attraction and last year Prince Charles made a special visit to the shop on a tour of Cumbria.

Joanne has been instrumental in developing the Grasmere Gingerbread® brand and it is now exported all over the world and fêted by leading chefs, celebrities and royalty.

"Each year, it becomes more of an achievement to win a finalist's place," said Mubarak Chati, managing director of 1 Events Media, which hosts the E3 Awards.

"We've had nominations from throughout the North West and we've seen real strength in all areas.

“One of the big surprises has been the number of entries from new businesses, digital, creative and media sectors, women in business and voluntary organisations.

“It's always been a key purpose of the Awards to celebrate the achievement of all parts of the community - not just the mainstream. Women, charities and social enterprises coming forward in such numbers is very gratifying indeed.”

"Given the number and the high standard of entries we certainly gave the Nominations Panel a difficult job.

“They have risen to the challenge, though, and their final selections represent the very best of the whole North West region. For Joanne Hunter to have been named as a finalist for 2017 is an achievement of which she should be very proud."