Joanne Bass, director of XL Displays, won the Athena Award at the NatWest everywoman Awards for most inspirational woman running a business trading for between six and nine years.

At an award ceremony held on 7 December at the Dorchester Hotel in London Bass was recognised for her entrepreneurial excellence, growing her business from the ground up.

During her maternity leave in 2010 Bass set up exhibition stand supply business XL Displays.

In five years the company grew to a £4.2m turnover and recruited staff from the local community, including four apprentices.

After her second child was diagnosed with a rare congenital condition, Bass continued to run the business from the hospital.

Bass commented: “I am so proud and pleased to have won this award. It means so much for success to be recognised and makes all the hard work and sacrifices worthwhile. The awards ceremony was a fabulous event and it was a privilege to be amongst a group of such inspirational women.

“This award will spur me on to grow and expand XL Displays in the future and I hope it inspires other women and working mums to take the plunge into business. There is so much talent out there that needs to be recognised, encouraged and supported.”