A Midlands-based virtual assistant franchise business has seen off thousands of applicants to reach the regional finals in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards (GBEA) 2021.
Suzy and Paul Sanders of Alchemy Virtual Assistance (VA) were picked from almost 5,000 entrepreneurs UK-wide to become one of only six finalists in the Midlands Family Business Entrepreneur category.
The duo – whose award winning virtual assistant company provides remote admin and PA support to business owners, entrepreneurs and small enterprises all over the country – were recognised for their unwavering focus during Covid as they continued to adapt and overcome challenges.
Judges also praised the couple for sensitively adjusting their marketing activities, quadrupling their enquiry volumes, further expanding their successful and thriving franchise, and continuing to champion and support local communities.
“The number of entries this year is just astonishing. Paul and I literally jumped with joy when we heard we were finalists,”said Suzy, who set up Alchemy VA in 2016 and has continued to drive and grow the business around her and Paul’s own expanding family, with their second baby due at the end of the year.
“We are a true family business in every sense, not just because we are led by a married couple, but because we wholeheartedly believe that family isn’t exclusively defined by blood. Our family includes our wonderful franchisees, our loyal clients and our wider business connections too, and we have worked relentlessly to support them all professionally, personally, practically and emotionally, especially over the last 16 months.
“Family is at the heart of Alchemy, our reputation and brand has been built around this whole notion, so to be acknowledged among thousands of applicants in this year’s awards programme has honestly left us speechless. We’re immensely grateful and it’s a true testament to the whole Alchemy group’s unique approach and the commitment that we all make to support each other and our truly incredible clients.”
Suzy and Paul say they are now even more focused on their bold vision to become the Virtual Assistant company of choice in the UK.
During the official announcement, GBEA founder, Francesca James, said the quality of this year’s entrants exemplified the strength of entrepreneurship across the UK: “We have seen some incredible finalists over the years, and this year is no exception. It really is one of the strongest shortlists we’ve ever had, and the fact that so many exceptional people have applied during such a tough year is a testament to the resolve and entrepreneurial talent that exists across the UK.”
The GBEA programme prides itself as being ‘more than just an awards programme’ and is instead a supportive community recognised by government. Judges include some of the most successful businesspeople from the UK’s biggest brands.
The winners will be announced in a ceremony in September 2021.
For more information on Alchemy VA – their virtual assistance services for entrepreneurs and small enterprising businesses, or to learn more about Virtual Assistant franchise opportunities – visit www.alchemyva.co.uk.
For more information on the GBEAs visit www.greatbritishentrepreneurawards.com.
About Alchemy Alchemy Virtual Assistance (VA) was founded by Suzy Sanders from a home office in Northamptonshire in 2016, to provide remote administration services, practical marketing and flexible PA support to sole traders, entrepreneurs and business owners.
Suzy’s background is as an executive assistant for a Chief HR Officer within a Global Recruitment and her husband Paul – who joined the business full-time in August 2018 – has a career history which includes debt management, credit control, call centre leadership and training.
Alchemy Virtual Assistance (VA) launched a franchise model in December 2019 which enables aspiring virtual assistants to replicate and build their own VA businesses under the Alchemy brand.
Award-winning service – Suzy was named a finalist in the UK VA Awards – Midlands region – in 2018 & 2019. Alchemy Virtual Assistance was Northamptonshire Life Magazine’s B2B of the Year in 2018 and in 2019 Suzy was nominated for the We Are The City – Rising Star Award for Entrepreneurship. Suzy also scooped runner-up in two categories – ‘Businesswoman’ and ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ – at the 2019 SME Northamptonshire Business Awards, and Alchemy VA was named as a finalist for the Innovation Award at the Northamptonshire Business Awards 2019.
In 2020 and again in 2021 Suzy was nominated for the ‘VA Star Award’ which is designed to recognise professional Virtual Assistants that ‘give back’ to the Virtual Assistant industry by being recognised by their peers. Suzy is also a finalist for ‘Businesswoman of the Year’ and ‘Lockdown Leader’ in the Northamptonshire SME Awards 2020 and was a regional finalist for ‘Family Entrepreneur of the Year’ in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
Other 2020 accolades include Northamptonshire Business Excellence Awards – Businesswoman of the Year finalist, Highly Commended’ New Franchisor of the Year in the Approved Franchise Association, and finalist for New Franchisor of the Year in the 2021 Virtual Franchise Awards and SME Business Awards 2021. Alchemy VA have also been nominated for three categories in the 2022 Virtual Franchise Awards sponsored by Barclays.