Eight of the UK’s most successful female entrepreneurs were announced as winners of the 2018 NatWest everywoman Awards on 5th December. For the past 16 years, NatWest and everywoman have created one of the most renowned awards programmes for women in business, to showcase phenomenal female talent. From the founders of multi-million-pound empires, to the women creating life-changing employment for disadvantaged individuals through social enterprises, their success stories will inspire the entrepreneurial spirit in other women.
At a time when Brexit negotiations are causing uncertainty for businesses, it is important to recognise that female-owned companies contribute £105 billion to the UK economy*. Increasing this by 10% would take their overall economic contribution to more than £180 billion by 2025**, which is why it is so crucial to encourage and support more aspiring female entrepreneurs.
This year’s winners were selected by some of the UK’s top businesswomen in a rigorous judging process, including Chrissie Rucker OBE (The White Company), Rosaleen Blair CBE (Alexander Mann Solutions), Poonam Gupta OBE (PG Paper Company) and Fashion Designer Melissa Odabash.
The overall 2018 NatWest everywoman Award was presented to Karen Emanuel, the CEO of Key Production, who first recognised her entrepreneurial spirit as a young girl selling jewellery at local markets. However, after studying Genetics and travelling the world, she decided to pursue her original love of music. This was the start of Key Production - a creative agency that produces personalised products for the music industry (and now other industries) including vinyl pressing, CD manufacturing, DVD replication and bespoke packaging. Selling physical products in an era dominated by digital streaming presented major challenges during Karen’s journey to success, including being forced to make a large proportion of her workforce redundant and losing one of her most profitable clients overnight. However, Karen persevered and has become an independent, multi-talented, self-financed entrepreneur who successfully operates four other businesses, with a combined turnover of £16 million. Today, Key Production operates across four sites in the UK, with plans to expand to Germany, and is still growing year on year in turnover, profitability and staff size.
Three other phenomenal women also received special everywoman accolades at the ceremony. These included the ‘Spirit of everywoman’ Award, which recognises a woman whose pioneering spirit has helped change the landscape for women in business in the UK and paved the way for others. This was presented to Sandi Toksvig OBE and Catherine Mayer, Founders of The Women's Equality Party. Carol Kane, Founder of online retailer Boohoo received the everywoman Ambassador Award, created to shine the spotlight on a high-profile entrepreneur who is a role model to young women considering entrepreneurship.
The 2018 NatWest everywoman Awards category winners are:
The Artemis Award - sponsored by Crystal Clear International - Awarded to the most inspirational woman running a business trading for 18 months to 3 years
Chloe Franses, Founder, Chloe Franses & Co, from London, who left an unfulfilling career in PR to launch Chloe Franses & Co – an agency bringing business partners to charities. Her success today is due to multiple high-profile client wins such as Bentley, and several stand-out campaigns. These include the “Pearson’s Project Literacy” activity, which helped eight million people around the world learn to read and write, as well as “Art for Grenfell”, which used art to raise money to support Grenfell’s residents.
The Demeter Award - sponsored by Nutriment Limited - Awarded to the most inspirational woman running a business trading from 3 to 5 years
Melanie Goldsmith, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Smith & Sinclair, from London, whose business idea stemmed from the game-themed dating nights she hosted in East London. After realising that holding drinks prevented guests from playing games, she thought of an alternative – premium alcoholic edible gummies. During the product’s first appearance at Berwick Street Market, Melanie sold £3000 worth in just three weeks and two days later, had a £20,000 order from Imbibe - the UK’s largest alcohol trade show. After six years of hard work, Smith & Sinclair is forecasted to turnover £15 million by 2021.
The Athena Award – sponsored by IBM iX - Awarded to the most inspirational woman running a business trading from 6 to 9 years
Roni Savage, Managing Director, Jomas Associates, from Hillingdon, who progressed rapidly in her career, becoming an Associate Director at a large engineering company at just 26 years old. She then left to set up Jomas Associates from her home with the aim to build an engineering consultancy that puts clients’ satisfaction first. A rare female CEO of BAME heritage in the engineering industry, she has overcome many stereotypes and built a thriving business, which now delivers £2 million turnover and is aiming for 50% growth in 2018.<
The Hera Award – sponsored by EDF Energy - Awarded to the most inspirational woman running a business trading for 10 years or more
Keely Deininger, Designer and Owner, Angel's Face, from Sevenoaks, who having struggled with dyslexia, left school at 17 years old with only two O-Levels. However, this did not deter her from following her dream of becoming a designer, she set up a children’s wear company with a £50,000 investment from a colleague who encouraged her to ‘do something amazing.’ Starting with the tutu skirt, she has now developed a full collection of clothing and accessories designed entirely by her. The business now turns over £2.6 million and the range can be found in 73 countries and 400 boutiques, department stores and online retailers worldwide.<
The Gaia Award - 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
Camilla Marcus-Dew, Co-Founder of The Soap Co / Head of Commercial for CLARITY – The Soap Co, from London, who was inspired by the potential she saw in her own family members with disabilities. By combining 22 years’ experience working with NGOs and her business management skills, Camilla created her own social enterprise. She now offers life-changing employment and support for all her staff - 80% of whom are blind, disabled or otherwise disadvantaged - through the sale of beautifully handcrafted beauty products. Aside from John Lewis, CLARITY - The Soap Co will soon be launching in hotels and restaurants across London.< p>
The Aphrodite Award - sponsored by Daily Mail - Awarded to a woman who founded her business whilst raising a child/children aged 12 or under
Harriet Hastings, Founder and Managing Director, Biscuiteers, from London. After a career in PR, Harriet built an empire while raising four children when her youngest was just three years old and the other was undergoing a bone marrow transplant. Biscuiteers - the original luxury biscuit boutique – offers delicious, luxurious collections of hand-iced biscuits for any occasion. After quickly growing from being based in one kitchen to three industrial bakeries, the business now has 110 staff who hand-ice 2.5 million biscuits a year for brands including Cartier, Christian Dior and Ralph Lauren.
The Brand of the Future Award - sponsored by The White Company - presented by Chrissie Rucker OBE to an entrepreneur whose business demonstrates huge potential for growth
Trinny Woodall, Founder and CEO, Trinny London, from London, who founded a portable, versatile range of makeup, with colours to suit every woman. For the last 20 years, she has worked with women all over the world, helping them find the most flattering styles, the best skincare, and the most perfectly matched, foolproof makeup. Despite being sold online only and unavailable to try and test before purchasing, Trinny London managed to gain consumers’ trust through positive reviews shared by other happy customers and started shipping products to 63 countries in just 11 months.<
Speaking about the winners, Karen Gill MBE, Co-founder at everywoman comments “Each year, we discover more women whose success stories are a true inspiration across various industries - from technology and engineering to fashion and beauty. This year’s winners are among the women already making an enormous contribution to the UK economy, however, there is always room for growth. This is why we’re proud to present yet another group of exceptional women, who will become the everywoman ambassadors needed to encourage other women to start and scale businesses.”
Yvonne Greeves, Head of Women in Business at NatWest says, “We are very proud to recognise these fantastic businesswomen who have not only excelled in their own businesses but are also role models to other women looking to take their first steps in business. We need more female role models to inspire our next generation of entrepreneurs and the NatWest everywoman Awards are a great platform for this”
*Women Entrepreneurs add 105bn to UK economy (Federation of Small Business)
**Women Entrepreneurs (Deloitte)