Category: Awards, ambition, professional, achievement, everywoman, determination, entrepreneurship, diversityjobs
Wednesday 7th December saw the fourteenth NatWest everywoman awards ceremony at The Dorchester in London. The UK’s most prestigious awards for female enterprise honoured the success of Britain’s top female entrepreneurs at various stages of their journey – from young businesses to those who have established multi-million pound organisations.
The UK is viewed as one of the most attractive countries for business, reflected by the rise in entrepreneurship in Britain in recent years. Despite these promising signs, the numbers of women-led start-ups remain considerably lower than that of men. Both everywoman and the Women’s Business Council separately undertook research in 2016 with each concluding that role models play a crucial part in inspiring and motivating women to further their professional ambitions. This is what the winners of the everywoman awards will do. They set an example to other women and prove what can be achieved with vision and determination.
Grace Lachowicz, founder of Dekko Interiors, was presented the 2016 NatWest everywoman Award, an award set apart from the category Awards as it celebrates a business woman who has achieved great success, but who has also broken down barriers and conquered formidable challenges. Grace has set up a £6.8 million company over five years supplying fitted furniture, bathrooms and kitchens to residential developers. Originally from Poland, Grace realised that her gender and nationality were working against her, yet her confidence and desire for her product saw her develop from a small eBay business to securing contracts with Ballymore and United Living.
The other 2016 NatWest everywoman Awards winners were:
The Artemis Award, for an inspirational woman running a business trading for between 18 months to three years, was presented to Pip Murray of nut butter brand Pip & Nut. In the 18 months since taking off, Pip & Nut has become one of the biggest competitors in the healthy foods market, partnering with Nike and obtaining listings in over 2,500 stores.
The Demeter Award, for an inspirational woman running a business trading for between three and five years, went to Helen Lord who founded the Used Kitchen Exchange. Her aim was to market quality pre-owned kitchens to cost-conscious families and buyers whilst, in the process, significantly decrease landfill.
The Athena Award, for an inspirational woman running a business trading between six and nine years, was awarded to Joanne Bass, founder of XL Displays. Joanne was declined flexible working hours after the birth of her child and as a result was motivated to set up her own business. Her shop for exhibition banners, stands and designs turns over £4.2m and her recruitment needs are met entirely from the local community.
The Hera Award, for an inspirational woman running a business trading for 10 years or more, was won by Clare Harris, whose party accessories business Talking Tables was launched with £50,000 of personal loans and today employs over 50 staff in the UK, US and China supplying luxury department stores, supermarkets and independents with its original British designs.
The Iris Award, for an inspirational woman running a business that uses technology in a ground-breaking way, went to Fiona Hudson-Kelly of Smart Assessor. Inspired by her apprentice son’s battles with written work she invented a training assessment platform and won a million-pound investment challenge to grow the business. Smart Assessor’s mobile technology allows pictures, audio and video to be uploaded onto a Cloud-based platform and currently supports 200,000 users and 9,000 tutors.
The Aphrodite Award, for a mumpreneur who founded her business whilst raising children aged 12 or under, was won by Hillary Graves, founder of Little Dish. Hillary’s enthusiasm for healthy eating led to the launch of Little Dish in 2006, offering fresh, healthy meals for toddlers made from 100% natural ingredients. Today her £12 million enterprise supplies retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. Hillary has written two cookbooks and teaches cookery in schools, introducing life-long healthy-eating habits.
The Brand of the Future Award, for an entrepreneur whose young business shows great promise for growth, was awarded to Helena Hills founder of TrueStart Coffee, the first coffee brand in the world intended to improve sports performance and deliver an alternative to sugary energy drinks. In just 18 months, Helena has exported internationally and supplied major UK multiples as well as gained brand champions including Paralympian Pamela Relph and the British Army Women’s Cycling Team.
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