The winner, who will be picked from a shortlist of five in March, will join a long list of past winners which have come from industries such as media and fashion, where female entrepreneurs and executives are more common, this year’s judges are just as keen to see entrants in the mould of the first winner in 1974 – Stella Brummel was the managing director of Britain’s largest maker of concrete mixers, Benford.
Entrants must be the founder or leader of a business showing sustained profits and a healthy balance sheet – and after a change in the requirements last year, they must also show a commitment to responsible and sustainable business practises.
The 2010 winner was Laura Tenison (pictured above), the founder of South Wales-based JoJo Maman Bebe, a mother-and-baby products retailer with a turnover of around £25m. She says it up to entrepreneurs to show the market that corporate social responsibility “turns into profit.”
There are undeniable challenges particular to women starting or developing businesses. “It is three times as difficult to raise funding as a woman and awards like this highlight the success being made” said Julie Meyer, founder and chief executive of Ariadne Capital
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