By Maximilian Clarke

The finalists in the NatWest Everywoman Awards have been announced, recognising the UK’s most committed and inspirational female business owners.

These women are bucking the current economic trend to achieve success through their determination and passion to be the best. With many women re-assessing their career options as the UK economy shows scant signs of improving, these finalists are examples of how going it alone can reap huge rewards.

2011 sees the ninth year of the NatWest everywoman Awards, which have significantly raised the profile of scores of inspirational female entrepreneurs across the UK — encouraging thousands of other women to venture into enterprise.

The finalists for 2011 are as follows: -

The Artemis Award, sponsored by Crystal Clear — for female business owners aged 25 and under:
• Carol-Ann Brown, 25, from Dumfries, with her business offering the ultimate land-yachting experience - F5Karting
• Samantha Coe, 25, from Norwich, Norfolk, with The Wharf Academy, a contemporary music academy for all ages and abilities
• Rachel Ducker, 25, from Halesworth, Suffolk, with her full-service, global marketing company, Apparition Marketing and Design

The Demeter Award — for female business owners aged 26 to 35
• Joanna Behari, from London, with Home Jane, a property maintenance company with a 100% female workforce
• Sharmmilla Jeganmogan, from Croydon - Hi-Line Wines, which supplies wines, spirits and grocery to small, independent stores across the UK
• Elvina Pittaway, from Coventry, with her successful veterinary practice Broad Lane Vets

The Athena Award - for female business owners aged 36 to 49
• Archie Archer, from London, with her entertainment agency, Contraband International, which represents over 1,500 artists
• Wendy Hallett, from London with her business, Hallett Retail, which secures department store concessions for independent fashion brands
• Karen Williams, from Kent, with The Mulberry Tree, a family-run restaurant committed to using local, seasonal produce

The Hera Award, sponsored by Bluefin Group — for female business owners aged 50 and over
• Stephanie Hayman, from Deal, Kent, with her social enterprise, Whole School Meals, supplying freshly-prepared meals to local schools.
• Jan Steward, from Rutland, with Babybond through Ultrasound Direct, a business offering private scans for expectant mothers.
• Anne Walker, with her Devon based, yet globally reaching ballet supplies mail-order and manufacturing business International Dance Supplies

The winners of the four categories will be announced at a lunch ceremony at London’s Dorchester Hotel on Wednesday 7th December 2011. In addition, a number of further awards will be presented on the day including:

“The NatWest everywoman Awards have been recognising inspirational women across the country, and the finalists this year again show that anything can be achieved, no matter what the odds,” commented Karen Gill MBE, everywoman co-founder. “The women on this year’s shortlist have demonstrated passion, determination and dedication to get where they are, regardless of age, education or background. Given the plight of the economy it is more vital than ever that enterprise is encouraged and by recognising British success stories we will encourage more business start-ups.”

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