Friday, March 1, 2024

Business is sweet as South Essex College associate is nominated for award

BUSINESS is sweet, quite literally, for a member of staff at South Essex College.

Katherine Ashdown, who is an Enrichment Associate at the College, has made it through to the final of this year’s Countywide Business awards.

In 2011 she launched Sweetcheeks Trees, which offers luxury, bespoke sweet trees for every occasion, and is now up for Businesswoman of the Year.

She is no stranger to winning awards – in 2012 she won New Company of the Year at the Southend Business Awards, and for the past two years, she was a finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year category.

Katherine’s success has also brought real benefit to students at the College. In her role as Enrichment Associate across the College’s three campuses in Basildon, Southend and Thurrock, one of her tasks is to set up activities and visits to develop students’ skills. Her vast business contacts have enabled students to benefit from talks from industry experts and take part in Dragons’ Den style challenges, judged by industry professionals.

Katherine said she was delighted to be up for the award.

She said: “It all began as a bit of fun when I made a sweet tree for my daughter. I really enjoyed it, people loved it and asked me if I would make them some, which I did. More and more people asked and it took off from there.

“I love having my own business, but I also love the fact that I can use it to help the students at the College. Getting real business men and women to come into the College, hold talks and share their experiences is a fantastic way for students to learn.”

The final is being held at the Cliffs Pavilion on 2 October.

For more information about Sweetcheeks Trees, visit


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