Unruly founder Sarah Wood named Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year

Sarah Wood, who founded tech firm Unruly, has been named Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year, after guiding the company to huge success.

Unruly helps video ads go viral, working in 15 countries with more than 200 staff.

Wood champions diversity in the workplace, with half of her employees being female, and has set up mentoring programmes to help women become more confident in business.

She works up to 60 hours a week and laughs when asked if she has time for any hobbies.

It was her continued success and her position as a standout female role model which were cited by the judges as two of the key reasons why she was awarded the prestigious accolade.

She is a London Tech Ambassador, an associate lecturer at the University of Cambridge, and co-founded City Unrulyversity, a free pop-up university in London with a mission to inspire the next generation of Tech City entrepreneurs.

Asked if she had any advice for girls thinking of a career in business, she said: “Advice is overrated – it’s much better to trust your own convictions, and have role models a few months older than you so you can learn from what they have achieved.

“There is more flexibility to start a business now than ever – you can build a company up from your kitchen table.”

Veuve Clicquot’s New Generation Award went to Cassandra Stavrou, who founded popcorn company Propercorn.

When Stavrou told her mother of her plans to start a healthy popcorn business, she reminded her that the last present her father gave her before he died was a vintage popcorn maker.
She moved back home, quit her job in advertising, bought a cement mixer and experimented with making flavoured popcorn.

Google was her first customer, and she now sells to leading supermarkets, airlines, shops and schools.
Since first launching in 2011, the business now works with more than 15,000 retailers and has emerged as one of the fastest growing brands in the UK.

Stavrou said she always wanted to run her own business and believes people should be prepared to take a risk if they think they have a good idea.