Nineteen women from across the length and breadth of the UK are unveiled as finalists in the 2015 NatWest everywoman Awards. These women represent huge diversity in terms of industry, background, experience, age and location in this, the 13th year of the UK’s leading programme celebrating female entrepreneurs.
Noreen Finnamore of Buckley & Beale Ltd from Tormarton, Gloucestershire has been chosen as a finalist in the Demeter Category for the most inspirational woman running a business which has been trading for between three and six years.
Finnamore spent most of her career in the health industry as a strategic management consultant, helping to build Finnamore Management Consultants with her husband, Bruce. Finnamore was sold to American giant, GE, in 2014). In 2010, looking for a career change, Noreen made a small investment in an American lifestyle store in Bath. In January 2011, in the depths of the recession, she decided with her business partner, Adrian Beale, to relaunch the retail business as a food wholesale enterprise – something completely outside her management experience. Importing and distributing speciality food from the U.S.A., the company, now called Buckley & Beale, quickly gained a number of premium food halls and delis as customers.
In 2013, the company supplied Marks & Spencer with American products for its new, and now very successful, International counters. In 2014, Buckley & Beale was asked by Marks and Spencer to help source and supply a range of ambient food products from across the UK and Ireland to launch in April 2015. After more than 6 months of shortlisting, vetting and supporting a wide variety of small suppliers, Buckley & Beale was delighted that 20 small companies could see their products on the shelves of up to 400 M&S stores across the country as part of the M&S ‘Best of the British Isles’ collection.
Today, Buckley & Beale still has a tight team of six employees and has over 30 British and Irish small businesses within its portfolio, selling into over 600 stores across the country. In addition to building business in the UK, they are now building relationships with overseas buyers to start exporting their British and Irish food portfolio, giving small businesses access to markets they could not easily access on their own.
Speaking about the finalists, everywoman co-founder Maxine Benson, said: “Thirteen years ago, there were very few role models who women could identify with, and that’s why we launched this programme. Today it is commonplace to read of women starting a business, but the extent and scale of their success is often overlooked. That’s why this year we amended our award criteria, and the categories now reflect the age of the business, not the individual. It is crucial to shout about the success women are achieving, sometimes in a short space of time, and often having established sustained growth over many years. These 19 finalists are phenomenal, and our judges were greatly impressed by the passion and determination they demonstrated, we wish them all the best of luck.”
Julie Baker, head of rnterprise at NatWest, said: “We are very proud to recognise these women, who are not just successful in their own businesses, but are also role models. The importance of women in business cannot be underestimated, so we hope these role models will inspire other women to take their first steps in business. To help these entrepreneurs and would-be business owners, NatWest has 250 externally accredited Women in Business specialists who understand our customers’ ambitions and provide business advice, mentoring and networking opportunities.”
Jo Baker, chief ginancial officer Worldpay UK, said: “Worldpay has been a proud supporter of everywoman for a number of years and we’re delighted to be presenting the Demeter Award. Everyday we work with thousands of female entrepreneurs across the country who are running their own business and raising the bar for success across the UK and the globe. We’re passionate about helping these women grow their companies and realise their business dreams. As a leader in global payments our aim is to simplify payments for our customers and help them prosper.”
The finalists in the 2015 NatWest everywoman Awards are:
The Artemis Award – sponsored by Crystal Clear International – for the most inspirational woman running a business which has been trading for between 18 months and three years:
Eleanor Heatley, from London – Luminis
Suzanne Brock, from Guilford, Surrey – Nutriment Ltd
Victoria Corcoran, from Liverpool – The Pets Country Manor
The Demeter Award – sponsored by Worldpay – for the most inspirational woman running a business which has been trading for between three and six years:
Noreen Finnamore, from Tormarton, Gloucestershire – Buckley & Beale Ltd
Poppy Mardall, from London – Poppy’s Funerals
Tamara Gillan, from London – Cherry London
The Athena Award – for the most inspirational woman running a business which has been trading for between seven and eleven years:
Ayesha Vardag, from London – VARDAGS
Clare Johnston, from London – The Up Group
Sarah Asfour, from Eastbourne – Funkyhampers.com
The Hera Award – for the most inspirational woman running a business which has been trading for 12 years or more:
Debbie Edgar, from Northampton –Dragon Infrastructure Solutions Ltd
Gillian Pearson, from Cheltenham – Newberry International Produce & Smootheelicious Ltd
Joanna Chin, from Windsor – Langland
Julia Minchin, from Bridgwater, Somerset, Hippychick Ltd
The Iris Award – sponsored by IBM – for the most inspirational and successful female entrepreneur who runs a business that uses technology in an innovative and disruptive way.
Alice Taylor, from London – MakieLab
Jen Hyatt, from London – Big White Wall
Juliana Meyer, from Norwich – SupaPass
The Aphrodite/ Mumpreneur Award – sponsored by the Daily Mail – this award will go to a woman who founded her business whilst raising a child/children aged 12 or under.
Lynda Harding, from Portsmouth Sweet Dreamers Ltd
Nova smith, from Leeds – Direct E-Trading Ltd
Sarah Pittendrigh, from Hexham, Northumberland – Simply Bows and Chair Covers
The winners of the six categories will be announced on Wednesday 2December at The Dorchester Hotel and a further three will be unveiled on the day:
The Spirit of everywoman Award will honour a woman whose pioneering contribution has changed the landscape for women in business. Previous winners have included Baroness Brady, Dame Stella Rimmington, Dame Jenni Murray and Moira Stuart OBE.
The everywoman Ambassador Award will be presented to a successful woman whose achievements and high profile are inspiring more young women to consider entrepreneurship. Previous winners have included Jo Malone MBE and Kelly Hoppen MBE.
New for 2015: The Brand of the Future Award – sponsored by The White Company – presented by founder Chrissie Rucker to a woman whose early stage business is seen to demonstrate huge potential for growth.
All finalists and winners have been chosen from a judging panel comprising a number of names behind some of the UK’s most successful businesses, including Amanda Wakeley OBE, Sharon Hilditch MBE and Cath Kidston MBE.