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Reading Room

How to EnterCompany: Reading Room, Soho, London
Company Description: Reading Room is the UK’s fastest growing independent digital agency. With150 staff working in the UK and Australia, it designs, and integrates innovative websites for clients including Royal Mail, Porsche and the BBC. Digital Marketing Agency of the Year, Reading Room was recently shortlisted for a Sunday Times Commercial Excellence Award.
Nomination Category: Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Entrepreneur in EMEA

Nomination Title: Margaret Manning, CEO

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur during the eligibility period (up to 500 words):

Female Entrepreneur of the Year (Fast Growth Business Awards) and founder and
CEO of Reading Room, Margaret Manning is one of the UK’s most successful
business personalities. From a ‘back bedroom’ genesis in 1996, and with no
financial backing, Margaret has steered Reading Room to its current position as
the UK’s fastest growing digital agency.

From its beginnings with just two members of staff, Reading Room now employs
over 150 people in the UK and Australia. Margaret is one of very few female CEOs
in the largely male-dominated digital industry. Margaret knows what it takes to
create and build a global, successful and happy business – Reading Room is an
international Top 10 digital agency (Interactive Media Awards) and the fastest
growing independent digital agency (Design Week Top 100).

From day one, Margaret believed the internet represented the start of a
communications revolution, and that the opportunities were enormous. At the
time, her husband told her to not mention that in public for fear of being
ridiculed! Now, Reading Room stands at the forefront of digital media evolution,
leading the field in its creation of innovative, cost-effective and intelligent
digital strategies for clients. It is Margaret’s entrepreneurial acumen that has
seen Reading Room come so far.

Margaret’s philosophy has always been to follow core revenue streams and focus
on Reading Room’s main areas of expertise. By combining tactical risk taking
with attention to detail and exceptionally high standards, Margaret continues to
steer Reading Room through a volatile marketplace into a future of rapid growth.

One of Margaret’s most important decisions was to remain independent. Growth has
been organically driven and managed, without disruption to client services. And
in the past year, Margaret has broken new ground in transforming the company
into the fastest growing digital agency in the UK.

In 2008, Margaret spotted an opportunity to grow the business – the recession.
Margaret stayed one step ahead of the marketplace, restructuring the agency many
months before the recession hit. Reading Room’s renewed marketing and sales
propositions caught the market at the right time, with current growth of
approximately 20% while competitors are shrinking. Margaret comments, “It will
be the entrepreneurs that employ 22 million people in the UK that will propel us
out of the recession by spotting opportunities, challenging convention and
taking the risks necessary to create those green shoots of economic spring that
we are all searching for.”

Margaret won the Female Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2008 based not only on
her entrepreneurial ability but also because “She works tirelessly to support
others in the industry and to champion women in business.” She was described by
the judges as “Not just any entrepreneur, but a proven leader.”

Margaret is a Courvoisier Future 500 one to watch in the media and also won the
First Woman in Science and Technology award in 2008 (First Woman Awards).
Margaret is also a judge and mentor for the Princes Trust, helping young people
to become entrepreneurs and realise their dreams.

List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your entry. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, []:

Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 100 words):

Margaret Manning is CEO of global Top 10 digital agency, Reading Room, and
Female Entrepreneur of the Year (Fast Growth Business Awards). Margaret embraced
the birth of the internet as the beginning of a communications revolution and
has built Reading Room from a staff of just two in a flat in North London, to an
international, multi-award winning digital agency employing over 150 staff in
the UK and Australia. Margaret has been named as a one to watch in the media in
the ‘Courvoisier Future 500’ and is the First Woman in Science and Technology
(First Woman awards).