Designer from Oundle bags top prize

Winner Raimonda Navickaite with the judges
Winner Raimonda Navickaite with the judges

Bag designer Raimonda Navickaite has been revealed as the county’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2013.

The 25-year-old, whose quest to revive the classic British bag has seen her launch her international empire Holdall & Co, saw off tough competition from three other finalists to land a prize worth £10,000.

The Lithuanian-born fashion graduate impressed the prestigious panel of judges, including 2012 Apprentice star Katie Wright, to be crowned as the county’s best young businesswoman at an awards ceremony at the University of Northampton on Wednesday.

She said: “It is really exciting to get this acknowledgment after all of the hard work I have put into trying to save a craft that has been slowly dying.”

Established in the summer of 2012 and officially launched in January 2013, Holdall & Co designs luxury leather accessories handmade in England.

Miss Navickaite, from South Road, Oundle, said: “I have always had an interest in how things are made and having collected vintage bags and cases, this was a natural journey for me to pursue.

“I am passionate about quality, British products and believe in ‘local’ – all of my products are made in Northamptonshire using Northamptonshire leather.”

Mrs Wright, from Brackley, who now works as a business development director for Liberata, said: “We were hugely impressed by Raimonda’s company, the way she has brought her products to market showed experience, shrewdness and acumen beyond her years.

“We were looking for innovation and star quality and Raimonda exceeded expectations on all fronts.”

Launched by Northamptonshire business networking group NN coNNect, the competition was open to 18 to 24-year-olds based in the county with an interest in business.

Miss Navickaite has only just turned 25.

Finedon businessman and NN coNNect group director Paul Green said: “The calibre of all of the finalists was excellent.

“This process has demonstrated that the future of business in Northamptonshire is bright.”

The other finalists included Danielle Mobbs, from Desborough-based Danielle Mobbs Photography, Emily Keal, from the Online Toolbox, located in Crick, and Laura McGuire, of Towcester-based First Impressions.

The package of prizes range from £1,000 cash, funded by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, and a five-page website to free accounting and 5,000 printed leaflets and distribution.

In addition, the winner receives one-to-one business mentoring, a virtual answering service, Federation of Small Businesses and NN coNNect networking memberships as well as a photo shoot.

For more information about NN coNNect visit www.nn-connect.co.uk or further details about Holdall & Co visit http://www.holdallandco.com/.