On Friday 29 September, the Winter Gardens in Blackpool was the stunning venue for the UK’s largest female focussed business awards; the Enterprise Vision Awards.
Female powerhouses, trailblazers and innovators showcased outstanding female entrepreneurship from all four corners of Great Britain. The atmosphere was electric and the feel good factor was off the scale with the camaraderie and support shown for all the finalists. The room erupted with spontaneous singing and dancing as the finalists were announced and there were tears and laughter, sometimes simultaneously, as the winners shared their acceptance speeches.
Now in its twelfth year, the EVAS are a beacon for women who are driving change to showcase their successes and achievements. From nominations to the ceremony, opportunities are signposted along the way to help both entrants and sponsors make valuable connections and open doors to opportunities to grow their businesses.
Live streamed around the world, the awards had record number of viewers as far away as China, India, USA and Australia and social media erupted as support for the finalists flooded social media. The awards highlighted the work of 117 outstanding women, a diverse range of businesses were represented and there were many examples of innovation, creativity, resilience and entrepreneurial flair.
From Birmingham stay at home mum to global entrepreneur, Maxine Laceby, founder of Absolute Collagen has shown that life really does begin at 50! Initially rejected by investors, she remortaged her house and persevered to create one of the fastest growing anti-aging brands. The marine collagen range includes supplements, skincare and haircare and has built an army of loyal Absoluters who regularly show their support on social media. From a £406,000 turnover in her first year to £22.2m last year, she wowed the judges and won the highly contended Business Woman of the Year Award.
Lisa Baskott of 2nd Line of Defence in Hove won the New Business Award. 2nd Line of Defence is the UK’s first female security recruitment agency; Lisa started her business after Sarah Everard’s murder and is on a mission to protect the vulnerable and create meaningful change. The judges found Lisa to be a formidable woman, leaving no doubt in their minds that her impact on the security industry will be nothing short of extraordinary.
Debra Cartlidge, CEO of The Deaf Village in Blackburn won the highly contended Outstanding Achievement Award for her exemplary work supporting the deaf community.
From her own experience of personal adversity and discrimination, in 2006 she founded this highly respected charity offering support and advocacy services for people with hearing loss. In 2022, she opened The White House, a specialist Deaf provision communal living environment which achieved a £330k turnover in the first year of trading. She has shown that social enterprise and entrepreneurship can work hand in hand to ensure both businesses have a strong, sustainable and resilient future.
Heather Waters, Regional Enterprise Manager, Manchester of NatWest said “NatWest has been a proud partner of the Enterprise Vision Awards for a decade and once again it illustrated the optimism, energy and potential that female led businesses offer. Female entrepreneurship places a crucial role in the success of the UK economy and these awards help showcase the talent that is based here and the opportunities that exist. Importantly, the awards also an opportunity to showcase that success – and let others here their story. Every nominee, finalist and winner should be proud of their achievements.”
In a highly contended category with seven other finalists, Derbyshire campaigner and entrepreneur, Victoria Abbott-Fleming MBE of Burning Nights CRPS Support, won the sought after Inspirational Woman of the Year Award. Despite her own personal struggles, Victoria lives – and loves – to give people living with chronic pain a sense of hope! The judges said she took them on a journey and brought her story to life. Her determination to live her best life despite the adversity she has faced and her commitment to improving the lives of others was evident throughout her interview and they found Victoria to be the epitome of an inspirational woman.
Coral Horn, founder of the EVAS said “We’re here to champion women in business, from startups to global brands, charities to industrial giants, the EVAS brings together supporters of female entrepreneurship to empower and inspire. All generations came together to show their appreciation and there were children present who were inspired by their amazing mothers – maybe we’ll see some of them on the EVAS stage in the future!”
The winners of the nineteen awards are:
- Best Business Winner – Fiona Hull of Construction Q, sponsored by Chorley Council
- Best Business Highly Commended Award – Lisa Brady of Perfect Recruitment, sponsored by Chorley Council
- New Business Winner – Lisa Baskott of 2nd Line of Defence, sponsored by Maria Fogg Family Law
- Professional Services Winner – Preeti Choudhary of Pro-Business Consulting, sponsored by Stella Insurance
- Hospitality Industry Winner – Gina Pennington of Penningtons Tea and Coffee, sponsored by The Pie Mill
- Retail Business Winners – Alex and Jenny McFadden of Pretty Mama, sponsored by Nexatrak
- Young Entrepreneur Winner – Imogen Southwood of iLashed by Imogen, sponsored by UCLAN
- Training & Coaching Winner – Jodie Salt of Womanifest CIC, sponsored by Del Parsons Coaching
- Diverse Business Winner – Becky Toal of Crowberry Consulting, sponsored by United Utilities
- Family Business Winners – Andrea and Charlotte Fogg of Maria Fogg Family Law, sponsored by Merchandise 4 Impact
- Creative Industry Winner – Helen Taylor of Glazey Days
- Customer Services Highly Commended Award – Joan Lind of Trybooking, sponsored by Coral Island Blackpool
- Customer Service Winner – Helen Quayle of LaserHQ, sponsored by Coral Island Blackpool
- Health & Wellbeing Winner – Hanna Sillitoe of Hanna Sillitoe Skincare, sponsored by Essentialise
- Digital Industry Winner – Christina Melling of Stipendium, sponsored by the Centre of Excellence
- Sustainable Business Winner – Victoria Coe of KinKind, sponsored by Crowberry Consulting
- Employer Winner – Heidi Nursey of Visiting Angels Central Lancashire, sponsored by Porsche Centre Preston
- Not for profit Winner – Sam Ashcroft of Headway Blackpool Wyre Fylde, sponsored by Blackpool Transport
- Business Woman of the Year – Maxine Laceby of Absolute Collagen, sponsored by BioGrad,
- Inspirational Woman of the Year – Victoria Abbott-Fleming MBE of Burning Nights CRPS Support, sponsored by Pink Link
- Outstanding Achievement Winner – Debra Cartlidge of The Deaf House, sponsored by NatWest
The 2024 Enterprise Vision Awards will open next year on 8 March. For more information, contact Coral Horn.