International business, founded in Halifax, shortlisted as a nominee in FOUR categories in the National mumandworking awards 2018 as hosted by NatWest!

2018 Shortlisted Finalists Revealed in National Awards celebrating family-friendly, flexible working

The nominees for the prestigious ‘mumandworking awards 2018’ have been announced – and babyballet® from Halifax is amongst them!

These pioneering awards were launched over 8 years ago to celebrate the UK’s leading lights in the world of flexible working – those amazing and inspiring individuals, businesses, charities and networks demonstrating and showcasing how working practice and family-life can go hand in hand with huge potential benefits for all involved.

Never has the importance of flexible working been so documented. ‘Mumpreneurs’ continue to generate billions for the UK economy, supporting in excess of 200,000 jobs and we have witnessed significant positive changes in government policy towards flexible working in recent years, but there’s still a long way to go. Research in 2016 suggested improvements in flexible working opportunities for mums would enable and empower huge numbers of mums to return to the workplace with the potential to generate a massive £60+ billion boost to the UK economy.*

Organisers therefore were delighted at the wealth and the standard of the submissions for this year’s mumandworking awards which will be hosted by NatWest at Bishopsgate London in March with media partner Key Women in Business. Hundreds of nominees entered, across 14 exciting categories ranging from ‘Flexible Business of the Year’, to ‘Inspiring Business Parent’ with special categories for bloggers, team members, franchisors and technology and innovation.

babyballet® has been revealed as a shortlisted nominee in the Franchisor / Licensor of the Year and Best International Flexible Business categories. Donna Greenwood, Franchise Sales and Dance Development Manager at babyballet® Head Office, has also become a finalist in the Flexible Employee / Team Member of the Year category. Plus franchise owner of babyballet® Biggleswade and Bedford, Lauren Shepherd, is proud to be shortlisted as a nominee in the Most Inspiring Business Parent category.

Awards will either be judged by a panel of leading business women, very familiar with the challenges juggling a family and a career can bring or, decided by public vote! Judges include Susannah Schofield OBE, Helen Pattinson – co-founder of the innovative, award-winning Montezuma’s Chocolate, Ali Golds – recently named as one the Independent’s 20 Extraordinary Women of 2017 and Julie Baker, Head of Financial Inclusion and Enterprise, NatWest – to name a few (see for more).

babyballet® was formed in 2005 by Claire O’Connor, driven by a belief based on personal experience that little one’s early interactions with ballet shouldn’t be associated with traditional strict, serious and sometimes cold experiences, but instead be a fun, relaxed and enjoyable activity for both parent and child.

Claire and her team have grown the business today through a franchise model to achieve c75 franchises across the UK, running approximately 2000 children’s dance classes a week, and expanding into ballet uniforms, parties and music. Claire’s babyballet® brand now leads the sector, with new territories being claimed all the time, throughout the UK and internationally. In 2016, brand presence was established in both Australia and New Zealand.

“It is an honour for babyballet® have been nominated in four categories and I am so proud of my team of colleagues and franchisees who work so hard and deserve this prestigious recognition. It has always been important to me to ensure that babyballet® is a flexible working opportunity and Mum and Working is a brand that delivers these same values.” Say’s Claire.

babyballet® is also a proud sponsor of the Best use of technology or innovation within a family-friendly business category and sends best wishes to all finalists.

The winners and runners-up will be announced at the live awards ceremony and sparkling celebratory reception on March 6. The 2nd National mumandworking business Academy as hosted by NatWest will also be held on this day featuring a wealth of inspiring speakers to encourage,  advise, support and motivate all those business parents in attendance with top tips, strategies and the latest information on a range of topics.

Suzanne Borrell, Events Director for concludes:

‘The wealth of nominations, the thousands of votes, our esteemed VIP judging panel and the range of nominees – from international businesses to amazing individuals – reflects the significant and continuing support for the promotion of flexible working. These awards are so important as they showcase the UK’s best – fantastic examples of how a flexible approach to working practice can benefit the UK economy, businesses, parents and growing families. We are honoured to host these awards and we can’t wait to reveal our finalists in February and our winners at the live event in March!’

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