Everywoman_logoDame Margarget Barbour of the world famous Barbour clothing company, the owner of a Scottish A road cafe and the founder of Yorkshire Provender soups were the winners with a rural edge at the NatWest everywoman Awards in London on 3rd December. Now in its 12th year, the NatWest everywoman Awards has become the defining event for Britain’s female entrepreneurs, celebrating the success of women-owned businesses across the country. Awards were handed out at a reception at the Dorchester in London on Wednesday 3rd December. The event was attended by some of Britain’s best known business owners including Awards Patron Dame Mary Perkins (Specsavers), Chrissie Rucker MBE (The White Company), Cath Kidston MBE and Amanda Wakeley OBE. The combined annual turnover of the businesses owned by women at the NatWest everywoman Awards was estimated to exceed £3 billion demonstrating the phenomenal ongoing contribution that female-run and -led business makes to the UK economy. 

Now in its 12th year, the NatWest everywoman Awards has become the defining event for Britain’s female entrepreneurs, celebrating the success of women-owned businesses across the country. The programme reveals the stories of individuals, whose qualities and acumen have driven their success, applauding their achievements and creating inspiring role models. Significant progress has been made to increase the influence of women in business and the UK now leads the way in Europe for entrepreneurship .

Highlights of the Awards included these rural businesses:

The Spirit of everywoman Award, honouring a woman whose determination, commitment and dedication has changed the landscape for women in business in the UK, was presented to Dame Margaret Barbour. Widowed at the age of 29 with a two year old daughter, Dame Margaret worked alongside her mother in law to run the eponymous brand that bears her name, at the time with a turnover of just £100,000.

Three Royal Warrants later, this world-famous brand employs 800 people and is a British export success story with annual sales exceeding £135 million. Dame Margaret has been at the helm for 40 years, during which time she has committed herself to philanthropy, establishing both a family trust and the Women’s Fund which together have awarded grants of more than £11 million to help hundreds of deprived and disadvantaged people in the North East of England from where Barbour originates.

The Athena Award – for female business owners aged 36 to 49: Sarah Heward from Stirlingshire – Real Food Café. Sarah took a gamble when she left her successful City of London job to launch a café on an A road in Scotland. Despite significant personal obstacles including the sudden death of her husband, Sarah did not give up and now serves over 100,000 customers per year, improving profitability by over 200%.

The Hera Award – for female business owners aged 50 and over: Belinda Williams from Yorkshire – Yorkshire Provender. A local and national success story, Yorkshire Provender soups began life as a catering company which diversified to generate revenue in the off-season. The brand is now stocked in retailers including Waitrose, has a turnover of £3m, and Belinda has written a book ‘Delicious Soups’ to share her talent.

Look out for more in our Spring 2014 magazine.