A Hartlepool woman says ‘anything is possible’ after being awarded an MBE by the Queen.
Hartlepool-born business leader Ruth Lowbridge, 62 enjoyed a day to remember, rubbing shoulders with royalty after she travelled to Buckingham Palace.
During the ceremony yesterday the businesswoman was presented with her MBE by the monarch for her services to entrepreneurs and UK business.
Brought up on the Headland, Ruth, gained her entrepreneurial spirit from her mum, Mary Pattie, a determined businesswoman who ran a successful boarding house for ten years and then went on to establish and run a baby linen and wool shop.
Ruth’s early career saw her working with some of the UK’s most disenfranchised communities to promote skills training among young people.
She also worked with pre-release prisoners to improve their potential for successful re-entry into society through training and employment.
Over the years, Ruth has run a number of successful ventures including a bistro, a conference centre, a software company and a training consultancy.
Today, she brings that vast wealth of experience and insight to her driving passion – helping others to fulfil their entrepreneurial potential.
Ruth, who for ten years has been the chairman of the SFEDI, the Sector Skills Organisation for enterprise and business support, said she was ‘humbled’ by the honour, which came as a complete surprise.
She said: “I’m extremely proud and humbled to be recognised in this way. When I received the offer letter, I actually thought that they must have mistaken me for someone much more important.
“It does prove that with the right support and determination anything is possible - who could have guessed that the girl with the school report that always said ‘could do better’ actually would. I feel very honoured to receive this award in recognition of my work, which I couldn’t possibly have done or continue to do without the support of my wonderful family and the whole of the SFEDI team.
“Inspired by my mother, I have always strived to encourage new and existing small and micro business owners to make the most of themselves by developing their enterprising skills.”
Ruth has been instrumental in redefining the enterprise skills landscape on a regional, national and international level. Because of her, the way that enterprise skills training is delivered, accredited and promoted has undergone dramatic and positive change. She has been a lifelong enterprise mentor and implemented the Meet a Mentor initiative, which connected experienced business people with new entrepreneurs to share knowledge and experience.