Phenomenal success of UK’s female entrepreneurs celebrated
3 December 2014: Now in its 12th year, the NatWest everywoman Awards has become the defining event for Britain’s female entrepreneurs, celebrating the success of women-owned businesses across the country. The programme reveals the stories of individuals, whose qualities and acumen have driven their success, applauding their achievements and creating inspiring role models. Significant progress has been made to increase the influence of women in business and the UK now leads the way in Europe for entrepreneurship.
The event was attended by some of Britain’s best known business owners including Awards Patron Dame Mary Perkins (Specsavers), Chrissie Rucker MBE (The White Company), Cath Kidston MBE and Miriam Gonzalez.
The combined annual turnover of the businesses owned by women at the NatWest everywoman Awards was estimated to exceed £3 billion demonstrating the phenomenal ongoing contribution that female-run and -led business makes to the UK economy.
The 2014 NatWest everywoman Award was presented to Karen Betts with her empire that encompasses Karen Betts Professional and Nouveau Beauty Group, including a pioneering medical tattooing enterprise, several leading cosmetics brands and a salon training business. “This woman is phenomenal”, judges commented when agreeing she had led her companies to outstanding success, growing them from a small office in Yorkshire to an international team of 182 employees with a turnover of £7 million.
The other 2014 NatWest everywoman Awards winners are:
The Artemis Award
Sponsored by Salesforce – for female business owners aged 25 and under: Julianne Ponan from Surrey – Creative Nature. Julianne has ambitions to become the number one superfood brand of choice in Europe, and has secured listings for her brand in Ocado, Boots and Tesco along with international sales in Sweden, Poland and UAE.
The Demeter Award
Sponsored by Worldpay – for female business owners aged 26 to 35: Lesa Bennett & Jemma Fennings from London – Olivia Burton. The duo have grown their fashionable watch brand into a successful international business, retailing in John Lewis, Harvey Nichols and ASOS, where it outsells established brands such as Michael Kors.
The Athena Award
For female business owners aged 36 to 49: Sarah Heward from Stirlingshire – Real Food Café. Sarah took a gamble when she left her successful City of London job to launch a café on an A road in Scotland. Despite significant personal obstacles including the sudden death of her husband, Sarah did not give up and now serves over 100,000 customers per year, improving profitability by over 200%.
The Hera Award
For female business owners aged 50 and over: Belinda Williams from Yorkshire – Yorkshire Provender. A local and national success story, Yorkshire Provender soups began life as a catering company which diversified to generate revenue in the off-season. The brand is now stocked in retailers including Waitrose, has a turnover of £3m, and Belinda has written a book ‘Delicious Soups’ to share her talent.
The Iris Award
Sponsored by IBM – for a female technology entrepreneur that provides real solutions in the world today and ultimately is instrumental in building a smarter planet: Emily Brooke, aged 28, from London – Blaze (Laserlight). Quitting her Oxford University degree in Physics to follow a passion for design paid off, as Emily created the successful Laserlight for cyclists, a detachable front light that projects a laser beam image of a bike on the road ahead. Raising £55,000 via a kickstarter campaign, the product is now exported to 45 countries.
Two further awards were presented to prominent advocates whose support for women in business and whose professional success has encouraged others. Kanya King MBE accepted the Ambassador Award for a woman whose achievements and high profile are inspiring more young women to excel. Dame Margaret Barbour was presented with the Spirit of everywoman Award, honouring a woman whose determination, commitment and dedication has changed the landscape for women in business in the UK.
Maxine Benson MBE, everywoman co-founder comments on the winners: “It takes a bold and gutsy individual to start a business and today’s winners are all women with vision and determination, qualities that have contributed to their success. Some have businesses that are household names, others will achieve that recognition in the future. All are joined by a common goal to succeed and to inspire. Today we celebrate their achievements and acknowledge the challenges overcome and sacrifices made on the path to their success. They not only fly the flag for British business, but are role models for future generations of entrepreneurs.”
Anne McPherson, Managing Director, Enterprise at NatWest says, “At NatWest, we recognise the importance of helping women set up and grow their businesses. We have over 200 externally accredited Women in Business specialists across the country who share and understand our customers’ ambitions and provide coaching, networking and mentoring opportunities to help them fulfil their potential and build successful businesses. NatWest are delighted to have supported the everywoman awards for the 12th year running, and are pleased to see several of our customers amongst this year’s winners. These awards have created some amazing role models who inspire other women to take their first steps in realising their business ideas, and we would like to congratulate all of the outstanding entrepreneurs who have been recognised.”