Natwest everywoman Awards winners on inspiring confidence and motivation in others

By Tolu Bakre
December 15 2019, 10.45

A Tooting business owner has described the ‘overwhelming’ feeling of being recognised at the 17th NatWest everywoman Awards at the London Grosvenor House this month.

The annual awards celebrate female entrepreneurs from different industries, providing a space for them to celebrate their achievements in jewellery, fashion, hospitality, skincare, food and social care and enterprise sectors.

Eloise Frank, founder of Tooting’s The Big Bake London, and winner of the Artemis Award, said: “It is a really overwhelming feeling to be recognised for the hard work myself and business partner have achieved over the last 2 and a half years.

SHOCKED: Eloise described being involved as a ‘great experience’

“The initial years of starting your own business are always such a whirlwind as you initiate your concept, launch and start to grow.’’

Eloise and her business partner wanted to create a unique concept that made baking fun and accessible to everyone. This idea stemmed from a bake-off in their office.

She added: “Reaching the finals was a real shock, after researching previous winners and the incredible women behind the everywoman Awards such as Rosaleen, Karen and Max I thought it would be great experience just to be involved.”

According to HM Treasury, only one in three UK entrepreneurs are female.

The Alison Rose Review identified the three biggest opportunities to help female entrepreneurs, which included ‘relatable and accessible mentors and networks’. Since 2003 the NatWest everywoman Awards has provided this.

Finalist Julie Agbowu, founder of All Inclusive Advice and Training, Croydon, said: “Taking part in awards and being shortlisted really boosts mine and the team’s motivation and morale, to feel that there is recognition for all our hard work.

“I feel the key to women empowerment is through education and improved confidence. I’ve come across many women who sell themselves short and underestimate their knowledge and skills.

“It’s important for them to feel comfortable and confident to compete for roles and opportunities that have predominately been male-dominated.”

Eloise said: “I have personally found that females face a constant battle in the workplace of having to prove your worth and fighting the stereotype.

“The more female entrepreneurs there are the more we can lead by example and inspire women to have the confidence to create their own path, own workplace values.”

On behalf of the judging panel, Maxine Benson MBE, co founder of everywoman said: “Female-run enterprises are increasingly growing all over the world, contributing to household incomes and the growth of national economies.

CELEBRATION: 2019 Natwest everywoman Awards. Photograph by Steve Dunlop

“Through our awards, we hope to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit in other women.”

Self-Made Entrepreneur’s Hub was recently launched by the founders to empower women to thrive as founders and entrepreneurs by making the right connections and supporting them to make their business a success.

Maxine added: “We are so proud to be celebrating businesses of different sizes, at different stages of their journey. Our finalists come from a diverse range of industries.

“Women are transforming and disrupting their respective sectors and demonstrate passion and dedication, often in the face of adversity.”

The women will now be offered support and mentorship to allow their businesses to flourish.

Winner Eloise said: “I really hope to inspire, encourage and support other women to start their own business, or simply to believe in themselves. If you have an idea you are passionate about then don’t just let it be an idea.”

Julie said: “I left school at 15 with no qualifications. I later had to balance being a single mother with working and studying for accounting qualifications.

“I am now an FMAAT qualified accountant with my own business. If you don’t try you’ll never succeed!”

Feature image shows Julie Agbowu.

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