Our founder Rachel Eden recently won ‘Entrepenuer of the year’ in the Sntander Thames Valley Venus Awards 2018, sponsored by Grandesco. Here she explains what it has meant so far.
When I was nominated for the “Entrepreneur of the year” in the Thames Valley Venus awards It was very tempting to minimise my chances and to just appreciate that I was in the final three, after all I had been a finalist last year and that had been great fun in itself. Of course the work we do day to day for our clients is the most crucial part of the job, however, I surprised myself by how much it meant to me to actually win.
The awards ceremony itself was of course a fabulous evening and I was surrounded by some amazing women and men, including my sister Miriam and our Coordinator Sabina. However, there are also some ongoing business benefits. I would recommend anyone who is sitting on the fence about getting involved in an awards process of any kind to consider them
The impact of having won the award, even in the last 3 weeks has been more than I expected, some obvious but others in areas that I wouldn’t have thought of, and I thought I would share them:
- It is incredibly motivational for your team. My team have walked with a bit of a spring in their step for the last few weeks
- Existing customers are impressed – this is probably obvious but a number of our existing clients have been in touch to say well done, and offer comments on why they agree with the judging panel.
- It’s a great marketing tool, again this is obvious but this has worked in subtle ways – I’ve not been using it as a reason to work with us, but it has certainly been a talking point that potential clients have raised themselves.
- It’s really helps with recruitment: we were recruiting 2 new staff members during the process and just being a finalist was a good hook to help with promoting the benefits of working at Holy Brook. I’ve noticed the business that won ‘Employer of the year’ has been using it in their latest recruitment ad (and I’d note that I think it was very well earnt… M4Promotions are a lovely team, and we use them for our promotional goods)
- It adds to your credibility when discussing things with business contacts – this I have to admit is something I have noticed particularly with certain male business owners.
- It’s a good chance to reconnect and motivate key suppliers and associates to work with you – I treat my suppliers as part of my team, so it has worked in a similar way to with my employees
- You expand your network – I have met some amazing people including some who I have already or might in the future want to buy goods or services from or who might want my services in the future
- There is always something you can learn from the other people in the process, the other finalists in my category ran very different businesses to mine, but were extremely impressive individuals as were the others in different categories – I have learnt a lot from listening to them.
- Finally don’t underestimate how motivational for you as the owner or manager to have external recognition of your work and a chance to take stock of how your organisation has progressed. As the founder of my business I don’t have a ‘manager’ or someone to tell me whether I’m doing a good job, so the external recognition is a great way to remind yourself that you’re on the right path.
I’m delighted to be a winner but many of the benefits from this year I got last year from being a finalist too, so if you are wondering whether or not entering an award is worth while, I would say go for it. At worst you’ll get to meet some great people and learn from others in the same or related fields!
The press release for the awards ceremony is below:
Santander Thames Valley Venus Awards 2018, in association with Marshall Volkswagen, announce winners at Grand Ceremony!
Winners of the Santander Thames Valley Venus Awards 2018 in association with Marshall Volkswagen were announced at a Grand Ceremony and Gala Dinner at the Royal Berkshire Conference Centre, Madejski Stadium on 8th June 2018.
Over 250 guest, finalists and sponsors from across the South East, attended the Inspirational Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner of the Santander Thames Valley Venus Awards 2018, held at the Royal Berkshire Conference Centre, Madejski Stadium on 8th June 2018.
The Venus Awards – dubbed by Channel 4 as “The Working Women’s Oscars” – celebrate the vital contribution that women in business make to the local, regional, and national economy, and are unique in that anyone can nominate a friend, client or family member.
Hosts for the evening’s inspiring celebrations were Tara Howard, founder of Venus Awards, and Robert Kenny, The Breeze Radio.
Every sponsor emphasised the outstanding calibre of their category Finalists when presenting the winner with their “Venus” trophy.
Cheryl Adams, Regional Director, Santander Corporate & Commercial said: “We’ve been supporting the Venus Awards in Thames Valley since launch. It gives us the opportunity to celebrate the outstanding contribution of women in business across the region. We have seen the Venus Awards grow from something quite small to something so impressive and are very proud to be part of it.”
Andrew Lean, Marshall Volkswagen Franchise Director said: “It’s a delight to be part of the Venus Awards, we were also involved last year and it’s a really great fit for us and our business. The Winners ceremony is a fantastic night with a great buzz and atmosphere.”
This year’s Charity Sponsor is Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent. They provide specialist end of life care, aiming to help people live as well as possible with the effects of their conditions by offering care, symptom management and support from a multi-professional team.
The roll call of nominees, finalists, winners and sponsors is a testament to the growing appeal of the Venus Awards in the Thames Valley. This year’s winners will now progress to the Venus Awards National Finals to be held in the Summer of 2018.
Winners of the Santander Thames Valley Venus Awards 2018 in association with Marshall Volkswagen are:
Networker of the Year Award sponsored by Prysm Group:
Marketing & PR Award sponsored by ShowState:
Green Business Award sponsored by IKEA:
Employer of the Year sponsored The Breeze Radio:
(M-four Promotions Limited)
Business Mother of the Year Award sponsored by Reading Chronicle:
(Heritage Estate Planning)
Entrepreneur of the Year Award sponsored by Grandesco:
(Holy Book Associates Ltd)
HR Manager of the Year Award sponsored by Benefex:
Inspirational Woman Award sponsored by Reading University:
Sales Director of the Year Award sponsored by Sandler Training:
Small Business Award sponsored by Local Buzz:
(Therapists on the High Street)
Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Wise Owls:
Gerry Lejeune OBE
(Berkshire Community Foundation)
PA of the Year Award sponsored by Sandler Training:
Influential Woman of the Year Award sponsored by Parfitt Cresswell Solicitors:
Customer Service Award sponsored by Marshall Volkswagen:
(Nikki Butler Medical Tattooing)
Director of the Year Award sponsored by Santander:
(The Kids Food Company Ltd)
Finance Professional of the Year Award sponsored by Rapid Search & Interim and Firefly:
(Iris Software Group)