A pioneering business woman has been honoured by the Queen after risking everything to set up a now multi-million pound manufacturing company.

Emma Elston has come a long way since she was turned down by the banks in 1998 and was left fighting to get her family’s repair and refurbishment firm off the ground.

Now, 16 years later, the mother of two has been awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours list for her industry leading work at the UK Container Maintenance (UKCM) – which now turns over £5.1m every year.

Emma, who founded the Northwich company with her husband Julian, has dedicated her time to raising the profile of women in the manufacturing industry while overseeing the management of 65 employees at the family firm.


She was said to be ‘delighted’ to be recognised in the prestigious list, but was unable to speak to the Chronicle as she is currently out of the country.

In 2010 she was named NatWest everywoman Demeter Award Winner who titled her Modern Muse, was the Aspire Businesswoman of the Year 2012 and UKCM was named Cheshire Business of the Year at our own Trinity Mirror Cheshire Business Awards in 2013.

Emma regularly makes speeches and leads workshops with school and college students across the UK, working to inspire the next generation of businesswomen.

As a result of this sterling work, Emma and UKCM were used as a high-profile exemplary case study in the Government’s Women’s Business Council report entitled Maximising Women’s Contribution To Future Economic Growth.

Emma has been cherry-picked to partake in the Government Women’s Business Council discussion, where innovative and like-minded women motivate and engage with budding businesswomen.

Her company, UKCM, claims to have saved local authorities across the UK more than £50M over the last five years, with the company refurbishing 75,000 waste containers every year, promoting sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint.

She is also committed to green issues and her pioneering idea to convert redundant bottle banks into innovative waste electrical and electronic equipment bank community recycling units is said to be helping cut council costs and improve local recycling rates nationwide.