British best entrepreneurial women celebrated at Everywoman Awards

These women, who combine ambition with humility and determination, are representative of a new wave of female business leaders who are embracing technology, maximising exporting opportunities and building on the UK’s strong manufacturing credentials to achieve success.

Over 300 guests from the world of business and politics along with household names including Kelly Hoppen MBE, Amanda Wakeley OBE, and Awards Patron Dame Mary Perkins gathered at The Dorchester to celebrate the achievements of these remarkable women, among them Tracy Mort, winner of the NatWest everywoman Award and founder of beauty brand Grace Cole.

Tracy established her business in the wake of redundancy and bereavement. Undeterred and driven by her vision for an affordable yet luxurious cosmetics range, the 39 year old from Manchester now turns over £10m and supplies Boots, House of Fraser and Harrods.

Recent research* has found that British entrepreneurs are more optimistic than ever, with half of those surveyed anticipating revenues to increase by at least 30 per cent by 2016, higher than the global average score. These findings are supported by these winners in the 2013 NatWest everywoman Awards, who are boosting the British economy through job creation and export success.

everywoman co-founder Maxine Benson MBE comments, “Since we launched these awards 11 years ago, enterprise has become more appealing and lucrative as a career choice and today’s incredible winners are running hugely successful, growth businesses. As well as turning over significant revenues, these women all demonstrate passion for supporting and growing their teams, running socially responsible businesses and acting as ambassadors to UK plc overseas. Judging was particularly fierce this year, as the quality of female entrepreneurs was so high, but these exceptional business leaders are well deserving of their accolades. They are all incredibly inspirational entrepreneurs.”

Anne McPherson, Managing Director, Diversity in Business 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. The NatWest everywoman 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 this year. NatWest are delighted to have supported the everywoman awards for the 11th year running, a demonstration of our commitment to Women in Business.”

The NatWest everywoman Awards were launched 11 years ago to celebrate the thousands of female entrepreneurs, many of whom are achieving significant success under the radar. The awards have raised the profile of scores of leading British businesswomen, creating role models to which others can aspire and whose success they seek to emulate.

The winners in the 2013 NatWest everywoman Awards are:

The Artemis Awardsponsored by The White Company – for female business owners aged 25 and under:

Alexandra Tamasan, aged 25, from Stratford-upon-Avon, who launched, with a Princes Trust loan, is filling a gap in the market for online pet food sales. She has established a customer base of 40,000 in just three years and is on track to turnover £3 million in 2013.

The Demeter Awardsponsored by the FSB – for female business owners aged 26 to 35:

Dr Kate Hersov, aged 32, from London who is co-founder of MediKidz, the world’s first medical education company for children. Its comic books guide children of all ages through conditions that may affect them or their family and are distributed to 50 countries in 30 different languages.

The Athena Awardsponsored by Alexander Mann Solutions – for female business owners aged 36 to 49:

Helen Pattinson, aged 42, from Chichester left her job as a lawyer to launch Montezuma’s Chocolates. Integrity is at the heart of her business and she supplies over 2,000 independent fine food outlets and has eschewed supermarkets. She has developed her own trading fairly policy whilst growing the business to £6m turnover.

The Hera Awardsponsored by the Financial Mail on Sunday – for female business owners aged 50 and over:

Karen Kirby, aged 54, from Richmond, North Yorkshire is Director of Indbuild, specialising in roofing and cladding for commercial buildings. Her investment in her team ensured the multi-million pound company continued to grow when in 2008, Karen suffered a near fatal brain haemorrhage requiring emergency surgery and two years’ recuperation.

The Iris Awardsponsored by IBM – for a female technology entrepreneur that provides real solutions in the world today and ultimately is instrumental in building a smarter planet:

Rebecca Bright, aged 33, from London, used her experience as a speech therapist to launch Therapy Box, providing smartphone apps to enable people with disabilities to communicate. Working primarily with the NHS and schools in the UK, she has also launched the apps in German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Spanish as well as in the US.

The NatWest everywoman Award – recognising a woman who has overcome significant challenges to achieve outstanding business success

Tracy Mort, aged 39, from Manchester who set up affordable luxury beauty business Grace Cole following redundancy growing it to a £10m business. Overcoming significant personal and professional obstacles, Tracy now employs 21 people and her products retail in major department stores including Boots, Harrods and House of Fraser.

The Hestia Awardsponsored by the Countryside Alliance – recognising an entrepreneur in a rural location committed to the local community

Mandy Scott, aged 45, from Consett, County Durham was motivated by her redundancy at a flag pole manufacturer to set up AA Flags, which supplies clients including Harrods, Selfridges and the FA. Deliberately basing her business in Consett, an area that suffers from 36% unemployment, she employs an all-female team and promotes flexible working conditions.

The Gaia Award – recognising a woman running a business with a clearly defined social or ethical purpose.

Claudette Deysel, aged 46 from Buckinghamshire who founded Benjamin UK providing specialist therapeutic residential care for children aged 12 – 18 who have been subject to extreme trauma, supporting them through rehabilitation to return to the community.

Two further awards were presented to prominent advocates whose support for women in business and whose professional success has encouraged others. Kelly Hoppen MBE accepted the Ambassador Award for a woman whose achievements and high profile are inspiring more young women to excel – sponsored by Vodafone.

Aged just 16 when she undertook her first interior design commission for a family friend, Kelly is one of the design industry’s most celebrated names whose simple and timeless style has led to her global success and consequent passionate support of enterprise, particularly for women.

Commander Ellie Ablett 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. Ellie founded the Naval Servicewomen’s Network and is one of just 30 women to hold the rank of Commander in the Royal Navy, where she is currently leading the Logistics Department on board HMS Bulwark.