Diana Thompson is Business Director of the University’s award-winning e-Innovation Centre and has successfully led its growth.
The 2009 Women of the Year awards are organised by the charity Vitalise and supported by organisations including Barclays, CBI and KPMG. The awards honour Midlands-based women’s outstanding individual achievement in all professions and provide positive role models to encourage other women to excel.
The University is delighted that Diana is a finalist in the businesswoman category.
Professor Ian Oakes, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise, who nominated her, said: “This recognises Diana’s personal contribution to enterprise and the growth of new business, as well as recognising the extensive expertise and facilities within the University and the role it plays in the economic regeneration of the region.”
Under Diana’s leadership, the e-Innovation Centre is now home to more than 57 companies as well as providing consultancy and mentoring to more than 170 businesses.
The centre has achieved a model of best practice accolade from the National Audit Office.
As a result of its work, more than 73 new jobs have been created and approaching more than £3 million of new sales generated, by companies occupying the centre and receiving business support.
Professor Oakes added that even during the recession, levels of occupancy in the centre remained high.
Diana initially trained as a mathematics teacher and has worked in the education sector throughout her career. She said: “I am delighted to be shortlisted for the Award. It is an honour for the whole team who offer entrepreneurs exactly the right facilities and support to develop their new business ideas.”
The awards will take place at Birmingham’s Hilton Metropole Hotel on Friday 2 October.
The e-Innovation Centre focuses on the incubation of e-business and e-marketing companies funded through The European Regional Development Fund and The Regional Development Agency (Advantage West Midlands).
The charity Vitalise provides essential breaks for disabled people and carers.
For more information please contact Emma Kilvert in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322003.