West Midlands Women of the Year Awards

Thursday, 29th October 2015

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Juree Chidwick, Sabai Sabai
Juree Chidwick, Sabai Sabai

Founder and owner of Sabi Sabi, Juree Chidwick, was declared Young Entrepreneur of the Year at this year’s West Midlands Women of the Year Awards. The restaurateur won the award in recognition of her success in growing the group during the past 11 years.

The West Midlands Women of the Year Award celebrates the outstanding contribution talented women make to the West Midlands across a range of sectors: enterprise, education, the creative industries, technology and civic society.

How did Juree feel about her win? “I was ecstatic. We were on holiday but I actually came back for the day to attend the ceremony because I’d never been nominated for an award before. When my name was announced it felt unreal for a few seconds. I was really excited.”

What does she think of the Awards themselves? “What they are doing is fantastic. Women are not being recognised for a lot of stuff, especially in the restaurant group business which is very male dominated.”

What does she think it takes to be a successful Entrepreneur? “A lot of hard work and consistency, and the willingness to take risks. I started Sabai Sabai when I was young and put all my effort, energy, time, money and emotions into the business.”

Juree started Sabai Sabai in Moseley when she was 21, and fresh out of business school.  She had planned to start the business in Leeds but when that didn’t work out, moved back to north Wales where she had grown up. How did she end up starting her business in Moseley? “My then boyfriend, now husband, is from Moseley.”

Why did she think it was worthwhile to start a business? “I just had that passion to grow something from scratch. I had been interested in working for someone else but my mother said, ‘If you want to start your own business it’s best to do it when you are young; when you can take on more risk and before you are settled into your life with family and mortgage; when it would be more difficult to take that risk’.” Clearly, it pays to listen to your mother.