Venus Awards


Why Cornish Mutual is proud to sponsor the Entrepreneur of the Year at the Devon and Cornwall Venus Awards

This year, for the first time, Cornish Mutual was invited to be a sponsor of the Devon and Cornwall Venus Awards. Those of you who are familiar with Cornish Mutual will know that we are passionate about supporting the communities we work in. From raising money for charity or volunteering our time to sponsoring events that benefit the rural community, we do like to roll our sleeves up and get involved.

Of course Cornish Mutual is different from most insurers because as a mutual organisation we have no shareholders. We are owned by and run purely for the benefit of our 24,000+ Members living and working in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset. It has always been part of our ethos to make a difference and help make the South West an even better place to work and live.

Referred to as the ‘Working Women’s Oscars’, the NatWest Venus Awards spread across the country after they were first launched in Dorset in 2009 to recognise and reward women in business. When we were asked to sponsor a category of these fast-growing awards we thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate business success in the region.

Cornish Mutual is proud to be Category Sponsor for the Entrepreneur of the Year, which is awarded to a woman who dares to take risks in business that pay off. We’re hoping that the spirit of entrepreneurship, which is alive and well in rural communities, shines through and is well represented in the contenders for the award.

Our Field Force team regularly visits our thousands of Members on farms and in rural communities across the region. We are frequently struck by what an innovative business farming is as well as the eclectic range of commercial ventures growing and thriving outside the traditional urban business environment.

Many of our Members have set up farm shops or tourism and hospitality businesses, for example, to make the best use of their land and buildings. The internet has broken down a number of barriers to entrepreneurship in rural locations. The rural community is increasingly diversifying and we regularly encounter really dynamic start-up businesses that have developed on farms or have been initiated by people moving themselves and their ideas out of the city.

Through our work with Young Farmers associations across the South West, we understand that many people look to start new businesses from the family farm. For instance one of our Members’ daughters is running a successful embroidery and print business from a converted outbuilding.

As an insurer, we have diversified ourselves to meet the changing demands of our Members. For example, we recently introduced our Motor Traders policy because a number of our Members are moving into agricultural repair work.

The Venus Awards focuses specifically on women in business. We know that the South West is home to many successful business women. Many of the great examples of entrepreneurship and innovation that we encounter are from women, who are often already involved in managing the family farm or other rural business and who see a further opportunity and run with it.

We want to ensure that these talented individuals are recognised for all the hard work they do in supporting business in rural areas.

Nominations are now open via the Venus Awards website. If you know a business woman in Cornwall or Devon who deserves recognition for her entrepreneurial spirit why not put her forward?

We know that entrepreneurship is alive and well on farms across Devon and Cornwall. The Cornish Mutual team will be at the awards ceremony and gala dinner in April and I hope that we will be cheering on some of our Members on the night.

By Sharon Plowright,  Head of Sales and Operations at Cornish Mutual