22 awe-inspiring women from across the UK have today been revealed as 2020 finalists in the NatWest everywoman Awards. They include environmental and sustainability disrupters, technology innovators and visionaries who risked everything to build their businesses from scratch. All are united in one common purpose - to leave the world a better place than they found it.
Now in their 18th year, the NatWest everywoman Awards celebrate female entrepreneurs from all walks of life, providing a platform for them to share their achievements. From the founders of international multi-million-pound empires to those spearheading social enterprises for the greater good, this year’s finalists are the role models whose success will inspire future generations of female entrepreneurs. Spanning diverse industries - fashion, jewellery, design, hospitality, skincare, food, technology and social care - the 2020 finalists were chosen by a judging panel comprising some of the UK’s top business figures including Chrissie Rucker (The White Company), Helen Pattinson (Montezuma’s), Sarah Wood (Unruly), Roni Savage (Jomas Associates), Annoushka Ducas MBE (Links of London/Annoushka), Rosaleen Blair CBE (Alexander Mann Solutions), fashion designer, Melissa Odabash, Abi Wright (Spa Breaks), and Sam Smith (FinnCap).
The 2019 Alison Rose Review identified “relatable and accessible mentors and networks” as the biggest opportunities to help female entrepreneurs. The NatWest everywoman Awards provide exactly this; a community of the UK’s leading female business owners that connects them with peers, advisors and investors.
Women account for 17% of business owners and there are approximately 1.5m women self employed, representing an increase of around 300,000 since before the 2008 financial crash. The growth in the number of women in the UK becoming self-employed is unprecedented. Historically, women have made up just over a quarter of the self-employed, but since the 2008 downturn 58% of the newly self-employed have been female. Self-employment has started to decline for men, but not for women. Despite this, only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female, a gender gap equivalent of 1.1m missing businesses and a potential value add of £250bn to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men.
The award winners will be announced at an online ceremony on 3 December 2020. Additional awards on the night will include the Spirit of everywoman Award presented to a woman who has helped change the landscape for businesswomen in the UK; the everywoman Ambassador Award celebrating the success of a high-profile entrepreneur; and the Fortuna Award recognising an individual who is investing in women-run enterprises.
The 2020 awards finalists are:
Awarded to the most inspirational woman running a business trading for 18 months to 3 years:
Laura Hepburn, Greenology, from Middlesborough
Dr Khaleelah Jones, Careful Feet Digital, from London
Zahra Khan, FEYA, from London
Thuria Wenbar, e-surgery, from Norwich
Sponsored by Nutriment - Awarded to the most inspirational woman running a business trading from 3 to 5 years:
Jennifer Davidson, Sleek Events, from London
Maxine Laceby, Absolute Collagen, from Telford
Kirsty O’Connor Farrant, Streetz Ahead, from Gloucester
Kunjal Tanna, LT Harper Cybersecurity Recruitment, from London
Awarded to the most inspirational woman running a business trading from 6 to 9 years:
Pamela Gruhn, Frenchic Paint, from Camberley
Nicky Hoyland, @DBLX, from Manchester
Connie Nam, Astrid & Miyu, from London
Charmaine Vincent, Baltimore Consulting, from Bristol
Sponsored by Saunderson House - Awarded to the most inspirational woman running a business trading for 10 years or more:
Janna Horsthuis, Robinson’s, from Isle of Man
Sarah McLean, McLean Restaurants, from Nuneaton
Julia Senah, Almond Care, from Nuneaton
Rachel Watkyn, Tiny Box, from Uckfield
Sponsored by Montezuma’s Chocolates - Awarded to the most inspirational and successful female founder of a social enterprise who has combined strong community benefit with a sustainable business model:
Marie Cudennec-Carlisle, Goldfinger Factor, from London
Karen Davies, Purple Shoots, from Pontypridd
Dr Asha Patel, Innovating Minds, from Birmingham
Sponsored by Daily Mail - Awarded to a woman who founded her business whilst raising a child/children aged 12 or under:
Sophie Birkert, Screen with Envy, from London
Helen Chapman, Dotty Fish, from Fleet
Christine Kelly, Little Kickers, from Didcot
Speaking about the finalists, Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman comments: “For 18 years the NatWest everywoman Awards have provided a platform to share the journeys of hundreds of entrepreneurs and we continue to encourage, embolden and empower women to follow suit. This year’s finalists have shown remarkable resilience in the face of recent extraordinary trading conditions. We believe that, by amplifying their stories, they will inspire other women to have the courage and confidence to embrace self employment. Following the 2008 financial crash we saw a surge in female self employment and if Covid-19 has any positives, it will be the catalyst for greater innovation and enterprise.”
Yvonne Greeves, Director of Women in Business, at NatWest Group, says: “We are delighted to once again be supporting these prestigious awards for some of the UK’s most talented and inspirational female entrepreneurs. At NatWest we are proud of our long standing partnership with everywoman and these awards help showcase role models that have the potential to inspire those around them and female talent from every sector across the length and breadth of the UK. Congratulations to all the shortlisted finalists and we look forward to the Awards on the 3rdDecember.”
For further information or to book a table at the virtual awards ceremony, visit www.everywoman.com/ewawards
 Women in Enterprise: A Different Perspective, RBS Group 2013
 Women’s Budget Group, 2016
 The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship 2019