The 18th annual NatWest everywoman Awards celebrated the UK’s most inspiring female entrepreneurs, recognising their outstanding achievements. This year’s virtual awards championed women in enterprise from all walks of life, providing a platform to share their journeys to success and inspire the next generation of talent.
In an extraordinary year, the 2020 winners span multiple industries including technology, fashion, beauty, medicine and hospitality, but all are united in one common purpose – to leave the world a better place than they found it. With many businesses rocked by the Covid-19 crisis, these women also demonstrate the resilience, adaptability and creativity that will help Britain weather the current economic storm.
The Athena Award – sponsored by Champagne Taittinger was awarded to the most inspirational woman running a business trading from between 6 to 9 years. The winner was Connie Nam, Astrid & Miyu, from London. Connie grew up between the US and Korea, embarking on a career in investment banking from which she quickly burnt out. Seeking a more creative career she moved to London working for LVMH whilst starting Astrid & Miyu as a side project in 2012, with the aim to make beautiful and affordable jewellery with great customer service. The company has grown organically into a cult brand, beloved of fashion editors and bloggers thanks to its aspirational yet approachable style. With six stores and 30% YOY growth, Connie has evolved the business beyond jewellery offering welded forever bracelets and styling sessions.
Forced to close her stores in March when the pandemic hit, Connie restructured, developing inspirational online content that grew sales in April and May by 50%. She is outspoken about the need for mentors, having struggled herself from a lack of industry peers, and has developed her own mentoring programme to support young women.
Speaking about the winners, Maxine Benson MBE, Co-Founder at everywoman comments: “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. Now more than ever, it is critical to address this and showcase how successful and resilient so many female-owned businesses are. For 18 years the NatWest everywoman Awards have done just this and we continue to encourage, embolden, and empower women. We congratulate the 2020 winners them and applaud their incredible achievements.”
Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise and Community Finance at NatWest says: “The NatWest everywoman Awards have once again helped us shine a light on some of the UK’s most inspiring female founders who continue to not only achieve great things for their businesses and their communities, but also help inspire the next generation of would-be entrepreneurs.”
Lynn Murray, Brand Director of Taittinger said: “In January 2020 Vitalie Taittinger took over from her father to become the first female President of the house, shaping the way for the next generation. As a family owned and managed business Taittinger understands what is required to be successful as an entrepreneur and are proud to take this moment to celebrate success with all the hardworking and inspiring women involved with the awards.”
www.everywoman.com/ewawards @everywomanuk #ewawards