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Bristol and Bath Women in Business Awards winners revealed

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Written by: Gavin Thompson | Posted 18 March 2016 6:00

Bristol and Bath Women in Business Awards winners revealed

John Richards would be so proud. When he died, he left £2,000 and a note for his daughter urging her to “do something good” with the small sum of money.

Vashti Seth fulfilled his wish and then some. She started a charity called Deki, named after a Tibetan refugee living in India who her dad had sponsored.

The charity provides micro loans to people in developing countries so they can start businesses, helping them to in turn help grow their economy.

Last night Vashti was named Woman of the Year at the Bristol and Bath Women in Business Awards.

Women in Business

The awards, run by the Bristol Post and Bath Chronicle in association with the University of the West of England, celebrates the achievements of businesswomen and entrepreneurs across the region.

The Woman of the Year title, sponsored by Mentor Training, was hotly contested. Vashti edged out an impressive set of finalists:

Lucy Ackland, a young engineer from Fishponds who works for Renishaw and is an inspiring role model encouraging more young women into the field

Mel Bound, founder of This Mum Runs, a series of running groups and networks helping mums get back into fitness

Margaret Hook, owner of Banwell Village Pharmacy who has run pioneering programmes to detect early signs of dementia among her customers

And Angela Hicks, chief executive of the North Somerset Enterprise Agency, based in Weston-super-Mare, which supports hundreds of new start-ups every year.

While Angela missed out on Woman of the Year, she still had reason to celebrate after being given a special Outstanding Contribution prize by the judges, recognising the incredible support she has given new businesses in North Somerset over nearly 30 years.

The awards were handed out at a ceremony at the Bristol City Centre Marriott hotel last night.

Bristol Post managing director Sarah Pullen, who presented the awards, said the event, now in its third year, had become a key date in the calendar.

“We’ve watched our women-led businesses grow along with the awards,” she said. “It’s lovely to see last year’s Young Entrepreneur winner Ellen Green returning to win the Business of the Year category this year with her Blue Badge Company.

“We had inspiring new entrants too.

“The strength of Bristol and Bath’s female business community was reflected in ourWoman of the Year category.

“Our finalists included women with a strong track record of success and experience as well as those still relatively early in their journeys. They came from engineering, retail, health and fitness, business support and the charitable sectors. Each with a very different story and each of them a fantastic role model.

Sarah added: “There still remain certain challenges for women in business but we believe celebrating the remarkable achievements of all our finalists tonight and sharing them with our growing audience is just one step towards overcoming these challenges.”

Read more about all our winners on throughout next week, and look out for a special Business pull-out in the Bristol Post on Wednesday.

The winners

Woman of the Year, sponsored by Mentor Training: Vashti Seth Deki

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Samantha Payne, Open Bionics

Mentor of the Year: Alice Chapman, Practice

Female Apprentice of the Year: Malgorzata Barzowska, Airbus

Award for Innovation, sponsored by Spire The Glen Hospital, Bristol: Sally Higham, RunAClub

New Business of the Year: Denise O'Leary Purpol Marketing Ltd

Business of the Year, sponsored by Close Brothers Asset Management: The Blue Badge Company

Contribution to the Community, sponsored by The Mall, Cribbs Causeway: Layla Ismail, Refugee Women of Bristol

Home-Based Business of the Year Cressida Bullock Fun Science Ltd

Award for Outstanding Management & Leadership Karen Banfield Echo Managed Services

Customer Service Award, sponsored by GWR: Margaret Hook, Banwell Village Pharmacy

Outstanding Contribution to Bristol and Bath, sponsored by UWE Bristol: Angela Hicks, North Somerset Enterprise Agency



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