A CITY business providing female workers in traditionally male-dominated industries has been named one of the UK’s most exciting start-ups.

Femaletradesperson.co.uk, set up by Heather Thurlby, was one of the businesses invited to the Houses of Parliament to pitch to a panel of business experts, winning a £2,000 grant and a year of free business mentoring.

Mrs Thurlby, 42, has worked for Bosch for 14 years and set up the business after finding research showing some customers would prefer a female trader to enter their home.

The business offers female tradespeople in the fields of plumbing, construction, labour, mechanical engineering and electrician services.

At the event on October 22, each business owner pitched to a panel of business experts including Simon Lancaster, founder of both SJL Insurance and the SJL Foundation, and former Dragon’s Den star and founder of gift experience company Red Letter Days, Rachel Elnaugh.

Mr Lancaster is a Worcester native, having been born there and basing his company in the city.

The judges were completely sold on Mrs Thurlby’s concept of Female Trades Person straight away.

They believe her business idea will have a positive impact on many female tradeswomen and their businesses, making a difference in their communities.

Simon Lancaster, founder and trustee of the SJL Foundation said:“There is a lot of distrust in tradespeople and we can see Heather’s platform dispelling some of the myths out there and giving buyers more confidence when sourcing people to do work for them.”

Heather said: “I feel amazing. I am so incredibly proud of myself being recognised as one of Britain’s best start-ups.

“I have decided to put the grant money towards the set-up of the website. This will be the pinnacle of my business.

“I believed in myself before but this has created more evidence that I can literally do anything.”

Simon Lancaster continued: “I started SJL Insurance 18 years ago with two grants with the combined value of £500.

"I’d like to help others set up their own business, so I am launching the SJL Pay It Forwards movement, so that the story comes full circle."

Here is the full list of businesses who pitched:

• Run Track, a company that will provide sports sessions for young people in some of London's most deprived areas and they will be able to find them via an online platform that will be built from the grant money.

• Good Things Gifts, a three-month old company that sells sustainably-produced ethical toys and gifts from around the world, including beach play sets produced from plastic washed up on beaches.

• EmPads, a Cambridge-based business that has invented a sanitary towel made from fast fashion clothing, which it is set to export to India. It will help reduce carbon emissions from the production and distribution of fast fashion, one of the world’s biggest contributors to carbon emissions and provides affordable sanitary care products for potentially half a billion females in the world.

• SB Shop, which is run by a disabled model, and specialises in fashionable inclusive clothing for all people including both able bodied and disabled people and it is specially designed to also include people in wheelchairs, or who may be seated for a long time, or people who require prosthetics.

• London-based MDJ Walls uses recyclable plastic and silk flowers to create beautiful backgrounds for weddings and other events.

• MindRun4Girls, which works with schools and families to provide girls aged 9-12 years old with opportunities to join running groups and learn mindfulness techniques.

• Janice Rose Lingerie, a Nottinghamshire based business that does bra fitting and sells bras, and has organised a charity bra-appeal to donate over 10,000 to women in Gambia who otherwise couldn’t afford them.