2016 NatWest everywoman Award winners
The 2016 NatWest everywoman Award was presented to Grace Lachowicz, founder of Dekko Interiors. This special Award is set apart from the category Awards as it honours not just a business woman who has achieved significant success, but also one who has broken down barriers and overcome tremendous challenges. Originally from Poland, Grace has built a £6.8 million company in just five years supplying kitchens, bathrooms and fitted furniture to residential developers. Acknowledging that her gender and nationality initially worked against her, her self-belief and passion for her product saw her grow from a garage-based eBay business to securing contracts with the likes of United Living and Ballymore. Undaunted by her lack of means to fulfil these huge orders, she offered a personal guarantee and worked around the clock to ensure clients were satisfied. More recently she has taken the design and manufacturing process in-house and her clients include the biggest names in the industry.
The other 2016 NatWest everywoman Awards winners were:
The Artemis Award - sponsored by Crystal Clear - for an inspirational woman running a business trading for between 18 months to three years was won by London-based Pip Murray of nut butter brand Pip & Nut. In the 18 months since its launch, Pip & Nut has become one of the biggest players in the healthy foods industry, partnering with Nike and securing listings in over 2,500 stores.
The Demeter Award - sponsored by Nutriment - for an inspirational woman running a business trading for between three and five years went to Helen Lord, from Windes – who founded the Used Kitchen Exchange with nothing more than a laptop, a phone and a car. Her mission was to market quality pre-owned kitchens to cost-conscious families and buyers and in the process, dramatically reduce landfill.
Joanne Bass, from Peterborough, founder of XL Displays took home the Athena Award - for an inspirational woman running a business trading for between six and nine years. Having been refused flexible working after the birth of her child Joanne was inspired to set up her own business. Her one-stop shop for exhibition banners, stands and designs turns over £4.2m and her recruitment needs are met exclusively from the local community.
London-based party accessory tycoon Clare Harris was presented with the Hera Award – sponsored by Sage - for an inspirational woman running a business trading for 10 years or more. 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 quirky British designs.
The Iris Award – sponsored by Dell - for an inspirational woman running a business that uses technology in an innovative and disruptive way went to Smart Assessor’s Fiona Hudson-Kelly, from Warwickshire. Motivated by her apprentice son’s struggles with written work she devised a training assessment platform and won a million-pound investment challenge to grow the business. Smart Assessor’s mobile technology enables images, audio and video to be uploaded onto a Cloud-based platform and currently supports 200,000 users and 9,000 tutors.
The Aphrodite Award - sponsored by the Daily Mail – for a mumpreneur who founded her business whilst raising children aged 12 or under, was won by Hillary Graves from London, founder of Little Dish. Hillary’s passion for healthy eating led to the launch of Little Dish in 2006, providing fresh, well-balanced meals for toddlers made from 100% natural ingredients. Today her £12 million enterprise supplies retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. In addition to this, she has written two cookbooks and teaches cookery in schools, laying the foundation for life-long healthy eating habits.
Chrissie Rucker MBE presented the Brand of the Future Award - sponsored by The White Company - to an entrepreneur whose early stage business demonstrates huge potential for growth. Helena Hills, from Bristol, founded TrueStart Coffee, the only coffee brand in the world designed to improve sports performance and provide an alternative to sugary energy drinks and synthetic pre-workouts. 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.