Deki Founder Vashti Seth Wins Institute of Directors Third Sector Director of the Year Award

The founder of international microfinance charity Deki, the CEO of Opus Recruitment Services and the boss of family-owned Jeff Way Electrical Services were among the Bristol winners at this year’s coveted South West Director of the Year Awards.

Deki director Vashti Seth secured the South West Third Sector Director title in the awards, staged by the Institute of Directors (IoD), while Opus Recruitment’s Darren Ryemill landed the Young Director accolade. 

Neil Way, managing director of Knowle-based family-owned business Jeff Way, collected the Family Business Director trophy at the awards, staged at Bristol’s Bordeaux Quay restaurant.

The Director of the Year award went to Julie Moore, managing director of the food innovation company Green Gourmet based in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire.

Vashti set up Deki in 2008, directly connecting people with entrepreneurs in the developing world through microfinance. To date the charity has provided £500,000 in loans and impacted the lives of over 12,000 people in countries including Uganda, South Sudan and Malawi.

Pictured: Deki founder Vashti Seth interviewed by Laura Rawlings after collecting her award. Photo by Clint Randall

Receiving her trophy from Robert Buckland, editor of Bristol Business News, Bath Business News and Swindon Business News – official media partners for the prestigious awards for the second year – she spoke about how she set up Deki with £2,000 left to her by her late father with a wish that she should “do something good” with it.

Other winners were Chris Smith, managing director of Marshfield Bakery near Bath, who was named best Director of a Small Company.

Sandie Foxall-Smith, group CEO of The Regard Group, and Paul Mullen, founder and director of the Bristol and Bath Science Park-based electronic development company Cubik Innovation were both highly commended.

Simon Gould, managing director of BMT Hi-Q Sigma Ltd, in Bath, received the IoD Director Development special award for the highest scoring candidate from the South West region who has taken the IoD Certificate in Company Direction Exam in the last 12 months.

The IoD Director Awards aim to celebrate achievements across the region, bring all parts of the enterprise community together and focus UK-wide attention on South West success.  They seek to highlight outstanding business people across both the public and private sectors.

IoD South West chairman Richard Ayre said: “The entries this year demonstrate the breadth of enterprise and innovation in the South West region.  It was a tough field to choose from so all our finalists, whether they walked away with an award or not, should feel a real sense of achievement.”

IoD chief economist James Sproule was the guest speaker and the event at Bordeaux Quay was sponsored by the Faculty of Business & Law at the University of the West of England and HSBC.

All the regional winners now go forward to the national finals which take place in London in the autumn. The awards ceremony was compered by Laura Rawlings of BBC Radio Bristol.