Each year young professional organisation Birmingham Future organises the Birmingham Young Professional of the Year Awards to recognise outstanding young talent within the city and the region. The winners for 2011 were announced at a ceremony at the ICC on 19th May.
The winner of the Entrepreneurial category was Nicolas Holzherr, managing director of QRky, an innovative, forward thinking technology group, experts in Quick Response barcode technology and mobile content optimisation. Nicolas is an Aston Graduate, obtaining a FirstClass Honours degree in International Business and Modern Languages. Whilst here at Aston Nicholas was founding president of the ‘Students in free enterprise’ society that runs projects in the local community. In 2009, he founded three companies: QRky Ltd, Recip.ly, which links recipe websites with online supermarkets; and Co-Go Coffee Ltd, which sells high-quality, ethical takeaway coffee. Last year he was named Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year by Midlands Business Insider magazine and he is a guest lecturer at the University of Birmingham’s Business School and also at Birmingham City University. QRky have received support from innovation incubator project Bseen (Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network). BSeen enables students and local graduates to realise and achieve their entrepreneurial ambitions by providing one to one mentoring, expert advice, a business grant, office space and valuable links to wider entrepreneurial networks. For more information visit www.b-seen.org.uk
The HR, Recruitment and Training category was won by Etta Parkes, operations manager at Graduate Advantage, based at Aston University. Graduate Advantage help to match recent graduates with career enhancing internships which can vary in length up to 12 months and are available in all business sectors across the West Midlands. Etta has been the operations manager at Graduate Advantage since 2008. She leads a large team dedicated to delivering work experience placements to graduates across the West Midlands. Alongside overseeing and managing the operations of the main Graduate Advantage Project, Etta has also managed several niche graduate recruitment programmes, targeting specific areas of Birmingham. Etta also volunteers on an annual basis through BXL, Education Partnership for Birmingham and Solihull, undertaking practise interviews for Year 11 students. Following successful completion of her CIPD course, Etta was invited to lecture on the Professional Development Scheme at Solihull College and has delivered evening and weekend sessions to professionals in HR across Birmingham. For more information on Graduate Advantage visit www.graduateadvantage.co.uk