Forward Lady, Jackie Whiteley, has won gold in Business Link Yorkshire's Bucking the Trend competition. Around 60 businesses entered the competition, designed to highlight the region's "can do" approach to the recession. So impressive were the standard of entries that the shortlist was extended from 10 to 13. The four gold winners and six silver runners up were announced on June 5 at the International Business Convention VIP breakfast. Jackie received her award from Rosie Winterton, Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber. Companies were assessed on tenacity and innovation, a “can do” attitude and an ability to buck the trend of the current economic downturn. They had to deliver real, measurable results and to demonstrate exceptional and inspirational qualities to other companies. No problem for Jackie. Innovation and growth are recognised aspects of the success of Strulch Ltd which she runs from her Burley-in-Wharfedale home and which has made an impact nationwide and abroad. The company’s organic garden mulch – “strulch” – based on a patent developed by her husband Dr Geoff Whitley, has been endorsed by well-known growers including The Eden Project, the Royal Horticultural Society, Kew, the Duke of Westminster’s Eaton Hall Estate and Alnwick Gardens, Northumbria. Jackie says: “We are definitely bucking the trend. The business is growing well and I am very pleased with the way things are going. Our growth has been a big achievement for us and so it is pleasing to have it recognised in this way.” The Business Link prize includes mentoring by Richard Gregory, an experienced non-executive director in both the private and public sectors. He is the Yorkshire Bank chair on the board of National Australia Group Europe Ltd, and is a director of its other UK bank, Clydesdale Bank PLC. Jackie, who has also been nominated as Yorkshire Woman of Achievement, was one of the delegates to the last November’s Chamber International-organised manufacturers’ delegation to Milan.