Head of Sheffield firm named as one of the North’s top business women

Head of Sheffield firm named as one of the North’s top business women

18 October 2016

Picture caption: Emma Chidlaw of Unita Maintain, with Griselda Togobo, MD of Forward Ladies.

Emma Chidlaw who sits at the helm of a Sheffield company, set to turn over £6.5million in its fifth year, has been named one of the north’s top businesswomen.

One of Sheffield’s most rapidly growing companies, Handsworth-based facilities management company Unita Maintain Ltd works nationwide, employs 490 staff (80 percent full-time) and has a predicted turnover of £6.5million in 2016-17, its 5th year of trading.

Emma sold her coffee shop to provide the £5,000 she and husband John needed to set up the company in 2012. Two years later they took on third director Lee Summerscales and have never looked back.

Unita Maintain specialises in decontamination and complex high-level cleaning. The reputations of multi-national food brands and food chain organisations depend on the company to ensure they comply with strict public health regulations and avoid product spoilage through contamination.

Emma, 39 and a mother of four children aged seven to 17,  has now been honoured in the Yorkshire, North East & Scotland regional finals of the National Women in Business Awards 2016, Emma won the SME (Growth) Business woman category of the awards, which are sponsored by HSBC and organised by Forward Ladies, which supports women in their professional lives and celebrates and champions the role of women in the workplace.

Emma’s victory came within days of the company learning it had been shortlisted for a Next Big Thing win in the Sheffield Business Awards, run by Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

“It has been a whirlwind few weeks. Just before our awards success, my father Robert died suddenly. He was always there for me, helped me to deal with everything life threw at me and believed I could be a success in life.

“He knew I had entered for a Women In Business award and would be so very proud of my achievement,” said Emma.

“As someone who through hard work and determination has gone from a girl with few qualifications in a factory job to a directorship of a company which will turn over £10 million next year, I hope to be a positive role model for other women facing adversity.”

Emma will now go before the WIB national judging panel in November, ahead of the national final on December 1 in Leeds.

Debra White Regional Director of Small Businesses for HSBC and WIB regional awards judge,said: “There was an impressive number of high-calibre entries this year, highlighting the quality of talented businesswomen we have in the UK. These entrants are the future entrepreneurs of our country.”