Celebrating inspiration entrepreneurs working in tech, retail, transport and logistics and encouraging others to follow in their path to success. By Jenny Barlow (Campaign Manager, Everywoman Ltd)
Are you a successful female entrepreneur running a technology business that makes a difference? Or do you know someone who is? We want to hear these stories.
During the past ten years the NatWest everywoman awards have celebrated inspirational businesswomen who have achieved significant success - particularly those who have had to overcome adversities such as financial constraints, social disadvantages or skills gaps. These awards are for women with businesses based or with chief operations in the UK.
Whatever your business – there’s a category for you. Our technology category - The Iris award is named after Iris, Messenger of the Gods, and is awarded to the most inspirational and successful female entrepreneur who runs a technology business that makes a difference, provides real solutions in the world today and, ultimately, is instrumental in building a smarter planet.
We’ve had so many inspirational winners over the past decade and this year will be no exception. Our Iris Award winner of 2011, Zu Rafalat of Zuneta, launched her incredibly successful online luxury beauty boutique and magazine in 2008 and is now attracting customers in droves. On winning the award, Zu said "Winning this award has not only been fantastic for our reputation, it has also been incredibly motivational for my hard-working team."
Going a little further back in 2008 Sylvia Hopwood of Recycle Works won the Iris Award. A 79 year-old entrepreneur, Sylvia is truly inspirational. Being widowed at the age of 62, Sylvia was facing financial hardship and her decision to start her business was a direct result of this, and, of her determination: ‘I had a choice of staying at home with a stick and a shawl or making an effort to improve my lot’.
The Recycle Works was launched from the study of her home in Chatburn, East Lancashire in 1995 and the first product was a compost bin which sold for £42. Her resolve and strength really stand out and her business is still going strong now with an international client base and a website in five languages. Of winning in 2008, Sylvia said, "It was wonderful to feel that hard work and determination really does get recognised." We couldn’t agree more.
We celebrate stories like Sylvia’s and many more besides at the NatWest everywoman Awards. Female entrepreneurs of all ages and with an incredibly diverse range of businesses are celebrated – to recognise their achievements and to inspire other women to take the plunge and follow in their footsteps. As Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers and everywoman patron puts it: ‘it takes energy, grit, enthusiasm and lots of self-belief. No-one says it’s easy but it can be done...’
Be inspired by a decade of success stories in our supplement featuring 10 years of NatWest everywoman awards’ winners. In this, our decade year of the awards, we want to hear more of these amazing stories.
So, if this sounds like you, or someone you know – now is the time to tell us – you have until July 20, 2012 to nominate a woman entrepreneur in the UK.
Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Jenny Barlow is Campaign Manager at Everywoman Ltd, inspiring women to achieve their aspirations and network with like-minded individuals in London. She is a marketing professional with over six years experience of business to business marketing communications, including both strategic planning of communications as well as implementation. Prior to Everywoman LTD, she held positions at Lexis Nexis, Clarion Events, CRU, Informa and Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.