Eleven entrepreneurs recognised in First Women Awards

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Eleven pioneering British women from a raft of business sectors and disciplines were honoured at the 2011 First Women Awards ceremony on 30 June in London, hosted by BBC sports presenter Clare Balding.

Thea Green, founder of worldwide cosmetics giant Nails Inc, and Emer Timmons, BT’s first ever female president of its Global Services UK and GS Systems Integrators business arms, were among a group of  trailblazing women recognised at the awards last night (30 June 2011).

Launching Nails Inc alone one decade ago, Retail and Consumer award winner Green was recently given an MBE for her work in the industry and has successfully established the brand as a leading competitor in the global beauty market which has a turnover of over £15m.

Green was a joint winner with Juliet Davenport, the only female chief executive in the UK’s renewables industry and founder of renewable electricity supplier, Good Energy.

This year’s Business Services winner, Emer Timmons, has in the last 12 months grown BT’s – one of the world’s leading communications services companies –  UK business arm by 25% in a challenging market through a series of major customer wins.

Timmons shared the award with Bev Hurley, chief executive officer of YTKO and Enterprising Women, who was recognised for her commitment to improving the opportunities for female entrepreneurs and founders of business enterprises.

Liz Nelson OBE, co-founder of research giant Taylor Nelson, was presented with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awardaccolade at this year’s glittering ceremony.

Six more ambitious women were recognised at the awards, created by Real Business and the CBI, and held in association with Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets.

The First Women Awards honour women whose achievements open up opportunities for others. The First Women Business of the Year award was also presented.

The full winners’ list is:

Vin Murria (Finance) – one of Vin’s greatest achievements to date is growing Advanced Computer Software’s market value to £170m in just over two years as chief executive officer for the firm

Kate Hall (Property) – has worked on two of the UK’s key infrastructure projects, leading Arup’s Olympic Park Infrastructure Design Team for London 2012 as well as Arup’s new high speed rail engineering study

Alexandra Knight (Manufacturing and Engineering) – leads the medical engineering marketing campaign and a number of Frazer Nash Consultancy’s technical projects from submarine integrity analysis to children’s wheelchair designs

Carolyn Webster (Public Service) – European programmes manager for Jobcentre Plus, Webster was described by the judges as ‘a committed servant to Cornwall and its people’

Liv Sandbaek (Science and Technology) – the first woman to gain a position of her kind within the technology industry, Sandbaek is the managing director of Accenture’s Strategic Industrialization Programme

Thomasina Miers (Tourism and Leisure) – her chain of Wahaca restaurants has won the 35 year-old critical acclaim for being the first to recreate the atmosphere and style of Mexico’s street markets within central London

Juliet Davenport & Thea Green (Retail & Consumer – joint winners)

Bev Hurley & Emer Timmons (Business Services – joint winners)

Elizabeth Nelson (Lifetime Achievement Award)

Shire Pharmaceuticals (First Women Business of the Year) – the only FTSE 100 business where women make up 50% of the executive leadership team

In previous years, First Women Awards have been presented to Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins DBE and the UK’s first female MD of a commercial vehicle manufacturer, Nikki King OBE.

Diana Brightmore-Armour, CEO of Corporate Banking at Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, said: “This year’s winners demonstrate the breadth of talent that women bring to all areas of our economy – they are truly outstanding.

“The recognition these awards offer is vital in providing inspiration to future generations of women and we are proud to support such an important programme once again.”

The champion for the awards – now in their seventh year – is Helen Alexander, the first female president of the CBI, and judges included founder and managing director of The Eden Project Gaynor Coley, ITV’s commercial director Fru Hazlitt, and entrepreneur Pinky Lilani OBE.

The ceremony was attended by more than 400 guests including: Lords Spokesperson for the Cabinet Office and for Women and Equalities Baroness Verma; Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper; entrepreneur and brand icon Annabel Karmel MBE; the founder and chief executive of S&A foods Perween Warsi CBE; and founder of Top Table, Karen Hanton MBE.

Supporters of the First Women Awards, in association with Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets include: BAE Systems; BT, ICAEW; Rolls-Royce; Harvey Nash; the Institution of Mechanical Engineers; Benenden Healthcare Society; Land Rover, and Centrica.

The First Women Awards, in association with Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, are hosted by Caspian Media’s Real Business  and this year’s ceremony took place on 30 June at the Grand Connaught Rooms, London.

For further information on the awards visit: http://fwa.realbusiness.co.uk/