Selecting the Entrepreneur of the Year for the ‘working women’s Oscars’

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This year, Cornish Mutual is proud to be a sponsor of the Devon and Cornwall Venus Awards. Often referred to as the ‘working women’s Oscars,’ the awards celebrate the achievements of business women across the two counties.

As sponsor for the Entrepreneur of the Year award, a team from Cornish Mutual are in the privileged, but extremely difficult, position of judging the entries. The awards received a very high number of entries this year, with 37 women in our category alone. With a pile of seriously impressive award submissions in front of us, we knew we were not facing an easy task.

Entrepreneurship is something that means different things to different people, so we felt it was important to agree criteria on which we were judging the entries. We decided we were looking for business women who displayed a number of qualities:

  • Vision and passion
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Humility
  • Confidence, optimism and enthusiasm
  • Resourcefulness
  • Determination, tenacity and drive

With these qualities in mind, we eventually managed to select our five semi-finalists. We then decided to meet each of them and learn more about them and their businesses. This was a fantastic opportunity for us and we were blown away by the preparation and enthusiasm shown. This then helped us select just three finalists who will go through to the gala dinner in April.

Lauren Aston is founder of Lauren Aston Designs, which creates chunky knitted soft furnishings and clothing, as well as selling knitting kits and yarn. When she started her business in 2015, Lauren was the first person selling chunky knitwear so quickly attracted national media attention and a huge online following.

Kat Green runs Bay Care Group, which provides care services to people living in and around Paignton. We were all inspired by Kat’s personal journey, tenacity and unwavering commitment to her clients. In just six years, Kat has grown the company so it now employs 85 staff and has a turnover of £1.6million.

Leane Bramhall is founder of Kineta, a Dartmoor-based health and lifestyle business specialising in matcha green tea. Since launching the business in 2015, Leane has made Kineta the third most popular matcha bought online and even stocks Google head office.

The Venus Awards organisers have described the Entrepreneur of the Year as ‘a woman who dares to take risks in business that pay off.’ These three have certainly done that and any one of them is worthy of winning the Entrepreneur of the Year award. We would like to congratulate them for their achievements and look forward to celebrating with them at the awards ceremony in April.

By Dan Loring, Member Services Team Leader at Cornish Mutual