A Hampshire podiatrist has been recognised for steering her business through the pandemic by being shortlisted at this year’s Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

The awards attracted a record-breaking 4,800 entries across eight regions for 2021.

Emily Ball, the director of Active Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Fareham, is a finalist in the Pivot Entrepreneur of the Year category in the south east.

Launched in 2012, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards were created to celebrate and champion the entrepreneurs behind brilliant businesses.

The ‘Pivot Entrepreneur of the Year’ category specifically recognises entrepreneurs who have adapted their business during the global pandemic to ensure their company can succeed during, and thrive after, the crisis.

Emily is a local entrepreneur who has done just that.

She said: “Before the pandemic our revenue came from delivering podiatry treatment to patients and selling podiatry related health products in our clinic. When patient numbers dropped due to Covid restrictions, we became extremely vulnerable.

“I had to adapt our strategy to meet the changing climate, and it’s wonderful to have the work we put in during what was an extremely difficult time, acknowledged. I’m over the moon to be shortlisted!”

When the pandemic hit, Emily changed her strategy and promoted Active Step as an essential service that could alleviate stress on GP provision, walk-in centres and emergency services. She shifted her marketing strategy and focused on existing patients, keeping them informed and offering advice where needed. Emily also launched a subscription service that would give her predictable and recurring revenue.

“We have had to update our approach in a way that no one could foresee, but by promoting our services in a different way, we have managed to weather the storm of the pandemic and come out the other side on a positive footing. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds,” added Emily.

Emily is now looking ahead to the next 18 months and plans to create a corporate wellbeing platform for key workers who are at high risk of foot problems.

She also intends to use her experience of workplace risk assessment to offer corporate webinars and provide consultancy to businesses in the local area.

Winners of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards will be selected over the next few months and regional finals are due to be held in person in September, Covid restrictions dependent.