Emmeline Pidgen

Emmeline’s work can be seen illustrating some the country’s most popular children’s books, including the cover of the latest edition of Peter Pan. She has produced fashion sketches for Laura Ashley, Clarkes and Cath Kidston and her blog has a phenomenal following.

Emmeline is fast becoming one of the most powerful voices for the new generation of freelancers. Perhaps her relaxing base in Lancashire reflects a lot of her work, her outlook and her choice of natural colours.

On the night there had been, in true awards style, Gwyneth Paltrow tears. For Emmeline, these were tears of joy and while there wasn’t a gushing list of thanks, this was a young lady who knew what the awards meant and gave a heartfelt thanks to her parents.

“This really is a life-changing award,” she said. “This gives me the opportunity to work on projects that I had held close but couldn’t have contemplated before tonight.

“When I was on the train down to London I did allow my mind to wander and consider ‘what if I could win?’ As I was standing on the rostrum and looking around me, I started to convince myself that I had no chance of winning with the quality of finalists.”

For many who meet this gentle young lady it is her campaigning to help and encourage others starting out on the freelancer’s trail that really inspires. So where did this campaigning stem from?

“It is something I am and have been passionate about: running workshops about creative freelancing, and being candid about the ups and downs, but underlining how rewarding it can be is what I find really exciting,” she explained.

Emmeline is a great champion of freelancing, but I wondered that if she had the chance to sit down with the Prime Minister and Anna Soubry, the Minister for Small Business, what she would ask of them to help make life easier for the UK’s growing army of freelancers? Thinking for just a nanosecond the Freelancer of the Year was straight to the point:

“IPSE are leading the way, but issues like late payments are vital. If more people understand that the Government and organisations like IPSE are onside, they will feel more comfortable taking that jump into the freelance world.”


Lauren Razavi

Globetrotting Lauren Razavi qualified in politics and international relations, and more recently achieved an MA in creative non-fiction from the University of East Anglia.

Lauren has been a freelance journalist and content strategist for 18 months, and is an ideal candidate to carry off our 2016 Aspire IPSE QA award for a young emerging company boasting a figurehead with a real drive to succeed.

Lauren typifies what a 21st century journalist should be: equipped to write and debate on a wide range of issues, and comfortable with both traditional media and social media.

Over the years Lauren has built her own audience across Twitter ﴾12,000 followers﴿, Instagram ﴾6,700 followers﴿, Facebook ﴾1,200 followers﴿ and Medium ﴾1,200 followers).

She has more followers than the readership of a small traditional newspaper!

Miss Razavi took time out just after the Awards to give insight into which cloud this high flyer is on… cloud nine or even cloud ten!

“It is absolutely incredible and quite unexpected,” she said. “I didn’t expect to win, because all the other finalists were quite fantastic and I was blown away by their work. So I am humbled and honoured to have won the Aspire award.”

In her short career Lauren has achieved so much, so what does tomorrow hold?

“I have expansion plans and want to keep developing – for instance, I’m currently developing a brand identity for the business and focusing more on commissioning.”

It is that diversity and drive that impressed the judges, and the commitment to be a champion for the sector is already there to be seen.

Like Freelancer of the Year Emmeline Pidgen, Lauren is keen to promote freelancing and that is still one of her main goals.

“I call it ‘community outreach’, bringing people together, often online, who have an interest in journalism and organising local meet-ups,” she explained. “Through this I have seen a stunning amount of talent, often people who have the ability but are struggling to find work. I want to utilise their talent and connect them with people and outlets that can help them progress.”

RUNNER-UP - Inspire category

Richard Jeffs

Richard Jeffs is the founder of innovative jobs board FreelanceDiary. The platform is a free global website and app which aims to transform the recruitment process for freelancers.

The website uses a calendar system to enable employers to find available talent and book them immediately. It is a revolutionary idea in time management for the freelance sector and one which greatly impressed the judges, alongside Richard’s ability to transform it into a business plan.

Richard left a successful TV career, including working on Panorama and Watchdog, to follow his passion of improving the freelancing sector.

What did Richard think of being recognised at the awards as one of the top freelancers in the UK?

“I’m honoured to gain national recognition for my work,” he said. “I’m looking forward to enhancing the portfolio section of FreelanceDiary, allowing freelancers to promote themselves to a global network of potential clients. I hope the work I’m doing has a big impact on the freelance industry and those who work within it.”

RUNNER-UP - Inspire category

Lowri Roberts

Lowri Roberts is a freelance Welsh translator from Oswestry. Her business, Trosi Tanat Translation, provides Welsh translation services to a wide range of clients. Her services include written translation, interpretation and translation training.

Lowri, who comes from a family of freelancers, uses her skills and education to positively influence the use and direction of the Welsh language.

On being named as a runner-up in the Inspire category, earning £2,500 for her business alongside £5,000 worth of training, Lowri commented:

“I’m so overwhelmed, pleased and honoured to be awarded runner-up this year. The competition was high, and I stood next to so many amazing and talented freelancers on that stage. I’m truly grateful for being recognised at a national awards and hope to continue to further my Welsh language business with the awards money and training.”

RUNNER-UP - Aspire category

Alice Selwood

This year, IPSE issued an honorary runner-up award in the Aspire category. This was an unexpected move and the first time this has happened, but the judges felt that on this occasion there was a strong reason to do so.

Alice Selwood is a textile designer from Redruth in Cornwall. She has already been awarded several prestigious prizes for her work, as well as appearing in Vogue, and the judges saw a huge talent as well as great business know-how on the judging day.

Working from a studio on a small farm and taking inspiration from her surroundings, Alice’s projects range from Cornish-focused history and environment projects to trade shows in Paris.

Following the announcement, and being told she would receive £1,000 and an extensive business support package, Alice commented:

“It feels fantastic to be named one of the UK’s top freelancers. Freelancing is about taking hold of opportunities, and being recognised on a national level is a real breakthrough for my business. I’m now going to expand my marketing and take on a stand at London Design Week.”