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Meet our Founders, Jo Maltby and Melanie Malcom

The YCA was founded by Joanne Maltby and Melanie Malcolm. They both saw an opportunity to recognise and raise the awareness of local people and independent businesses that are inspirational in their own way or in the markets they serve. The YCA demonstrates that through adversity and courage, light can shine through in so many different ways and give the deserving nominees, finalists, and winners the exposure that is so deserving.

Jo Maltby | CoFounder| Yorkshire Choice Awards

“Since 2016, The Yorkshire Choice Awards has grown considerably, way beyond anything Mel and myself expected and we are thrilled that the event is now the pedestal to celebrate the very best of Yorkshire businesses and residents."

About Jo

Considering how time-constrained many people are, using a computer is generally their only option. Jo's goal has therefore been to aid in raising the profile of small local companies to showcase what communities can find right on their doorstep.

Her journey into "small business support" began with the Twitter hours #wetherbyhour in 2013 and #harrogatehour in 2018. Both are regular hour-long internet networking events that help and connect nearby businesses. Soon after, both developed into well-attended live gatherings that have since become one of Yorkshire's longest-running networking events.

She began offering a Handpicked Local subscription service in 2015, which enabled her to bring the high street to the i-street.

Digital technology has altered how small businesses capture the spotlight, from customers being able to see what you sell, where you are located, or where they can make a purchase.

All of this came together perfectly when they founded the Yorkshire Choice Awards after meeting Melanie Malcolm over a cup of Yorkshire tea.

Jo has won numerous awards over the years, including Wetherby Townsperson of the Year, Insight with a Passion Award, and Stray FM Good Neighbour Local Hero Award. She also frequently lends a hand at neighbourhood activities like the Wetherby Lions Senior Citizens Party and organised Wetherby Christmas Light Switch for many years.

Jo won the election to join Wetherby Town Council in May 2019-23. She feels incredibly honoured to have played this part in her local community.


Director: The Yorkshire Choice Awards

Founder: #wetherbyhour & #harrogatehour

Owner: Handpicked Local

Melanie Malcolm | Co Founder | Yorkshire Choice Awards

"We couldn’t make this happen without the help and support of so many and we will always be eternally grateful. From presenters to audio/visual and from stage design to lighting - they know who they are and we couldn’t thank them enough.”

About Mel

Melanie is a pioneering woman in business with numerous accolades to her name. Always looking to inspire and support people within her networks.

As a Director of several organisations across various sectors, Melanie can turn her skills to any given task. With years of event management and marketing experience under her belt running conferences and events for business and charity sectors, Melanie took up the exciting opportunity to collaborate with Jo to form the Yorkshire Choice Awards.

She is Co-Owner of award-winning, Leeds-based Bespoke Home Cinemas and over the last 2 decades has run this successful AV company with her husband. Melanie also sits on the Board of Directors for CEDIA, a global trade association for companies that design, manufacture, and install technology for the home. More recently Melanie was appointed a Director for the good cause initiative Together For Cinema CIC, supporting AV companies to provide cinema rooms to Children’s Hospices around the UK.

It goes without saying that Melanie is passionate about giving back, supporting good causes and helping individuals and organisations gain exposure and recognition for their well-earned achievements.

Director: The Yorkshire Choice Awards

Founder: Yorkshire Ladies Links

Director: Bespoke Home Cinemas

Board Director: CEDIA

Director: Together For Cinema

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