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 crash1. 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.
Charmaine Vincent of Baltimore Consulting, from Bristol, is a finalist in The Athena Award, awarded to the most inspirational woman running a business trading from 6 to 9 years.
Charmaine’s journey to success has been a slightly unconventional one. She left school at 16 and went into full-time employment to support her personal living situation. Her career started in advertising sales for a local Newspaper and later at Yellow Pages. 10 successful years later and now on the property ladder, Charmaine recognised that her natural sales talent and huge desire to lead others would be a logical match for the recruitment industry. She very quickly recognised there was a gap in the market around the develop and investment of employees within the industry. She decided to take the opportunity to set up her own business with a strong moral compass, coaching culture and commitment to staff development in 2013. Co-founding Baltimore Consulting as a minority stakeholder, Charmaine finally completed an MBO to take full ownership of the business in 2018, which she cites as her proudest moment. Baltimore Consulting specialises in recruitment of vulnerable subject areas within the public sectors, including education and social care. Covid-19 consequently presented a huge challenge. In response, Charmaine introduced her own emotional and mental health programmes to support her team during the crisis. She cites self-belief as central to her success and is focused on adding new business streams within the NHS and Housing nationally.
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.
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 3rd December.”
everywoman is a global platform for women in business that drives positive change by empowering women to achieve their professional potential. Established in 1999, everywoman has supported thousands of women worldwide in establishing businesses and progressing their careers. Working with leading corporations and organisations, everywoman improves productivity and performance through diversity insights to unlock female potential resulting in economic and societal gain. Through its cross-industry awards and forums everywoman has created thousands of female role models and inspired generations of future leaders. everywoman.com @everywomanuk #ewawards
At NatWest we know that starting and running a business can be both exciting and challenging. We understand that female entrepreneurs and businesses need the right combination of support, advice and funding to succeed, which is why we provide a wide range of services for businesses of all shapes and sizes, across every sector. NatWest has a network of over 400 externally accredited Women in Business specialists across the UK offering specialist support, practical guidance and networking opportunities to female entrepreneurs. We are proud to work closely with everywoman who promote and support women’s enterprise. For more information, visit Natwest.com/womeninbusiness