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

With many people being time-poor, grabbing a computer is sometimes the only choice they have. So, it’s been Jo’s ambition to help give small local businesses a higher profile.


Her ‘business support’ journey started with Twitter hour #wetherbyhour back in 2013 and then #harrogatehour in 2018. Both are regular hour-long, online networking that supports and brings local businesses together. Both expanded into popular live meetups shortly after which have been one of the longest-running networking events in Yorkshire.


She launched her ‘Business Membership’ Handpicked Local subscription service in 2015 and this allowed her to bring the high street to the i-street - From seeing what you sell, where you are based or being able to purchase, digital technology has changed the way small businesses grab the spotlight.


All this became the perfect fit, when meeting Melanie over a cup of Yorkshire tea, they formed the Yorkshire Choice Awards.


Jo has received many accolades over the years including Wetherby Townsperson of the Year, Insight with a Passion Award & Stray FM Good Neighbour Local Hero Award and regularly volunteers at local events such as the Wetherby Lions Senior Citizens Party.


In May 2019, Jo was elected to become a Councillor for Wetherby Town Council. A role she is completely honored to fulfill.


Director: The Yorkshire Choice Awards

Founder: #wetherbyhour & #harrogatehour

Owner: Handpicked Local, Handpicked Wetherby & Handpicked Harrogate

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 joined the steering committee for a good cause initiative called Together For Cinema, 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

Steering Committee Member: Together For Cinema