NOTHING strange about it. First Jane Tyler achieved her linguistic degree in French and Hindi at the University of York; then… she took her master’s degree there in computer science.

“It wasn’t a great leap. It was like learning another language,” she says. Only the lingo of the microchip proved very lucrative, as she was to prove when she launched RedBlack Software nine years ago.

The firm, based at King’s House in King Street, York, today generates £300,000 turnover as it sells its tailored management software solutions to more than 100 firms all over the country, particularly bakeries.

Her ability, and that of her seven-strong team, earned the company the 2006 Science & Technology Business Of The Year title in The Press Business Awards.

Jane, York-born and Shropshire raised, was inspired to start her company when she acquired a software application in the bakery sector from her uncle, then honed it into the many versions of Cybake which she has since released.

Version three is being snapped up by the bigger bakeries in the UK and Ireland. It includes specifications management, allergen tracking, advanced invoice management, invoice matching, ad hoc sales queries, day-to-day sales ledger, credit control, supplier relationship management and celebration cakes management.

It is also used by the wider food manufacturing and processing sector, helping to meet tough regulatory changes, including tracing the source of every ingredient in every batch of products.

But her ambition is to produce more of her general bespoke management systems to more firms locally. “Local business already accounts for 40 per cent of turnover, but I’d like to expand that over the next five years,” she says.

Which job (other than your own) would you like to have and why?

Mountain guide, because I love walking in mountains and it would keep me fit without having to go to the s*dding gym.

Greatest achievement?

Keeping my business and my family operational through thick and thin.

Biggest mistake?

Not being ruthless enough about getting rid of past poor performers in my business earlier. The team I have now is fantastic.

What makes you most angry?


What makes you laugh?

Dancing to punk rock with little kids, falling into deep snow, boogie boarding, Family Guy on the TV.

What fools do you suffer least?

Mean ones.

Whom do you most admire and why?

My Dad, Fen, because he is so caring, loving and generous with his time and still a computer whizz-kid at 70.

What do you need to make life complete?

A thriving business, an eccentric but supportive family, a garden to potter about in, a few close friends, lots of time for holidays, a camper van.

How do you relax?

Dancing and parties, walking, camping.

Name the organisation you see as the perfect one (not your own!) and why

The only organisations I know well are those of my clients and, without wanting to start a fight, I would pick out York-based Tele-Products Ltd as something special. They run a slick and professional operation, underpinned by an ethical approach that I very much admire. They work hard at developing solid, long-standing business relationships; just one example of this is that they always take the trouble to thank my staff in writing for any help they have given.

Why do you make a difference?

My staff and my business are very close to my heart so I have created a working environment that is unusually supportive, satisfying and fun. This enables my team to focus on delivering software solutions that have a very real impact on the productivity and profitability of our clients.

Favourite record?

Head On by The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Favourite holiday destination?

Toulouse. I used to live there and still have close friends in the area and it’s close to so many beautiful places.

Your epitaph

Jane Tyler, Spinster of this Parish, 1963-2063.