Anita Lowe, Chief Executive of Venues Event Management, from Swindon is the winner of The Hera Award for the most inspiring entrepreneur aged 50 and over.
Everywoman and NatWest are delighted to announce the winners of the 2010 NatWest Everywoman Awards, recognising the phenomenal success of the UK’s most inspirational female business owners. The eighth annual award ceremony celebrates successful entrepreneurs who are playing their part in helping to pull the UK out of recession and acting as inspirational role models for the next generation of aspiring business women.
Whilst working for Marriott, Anita successfully opened a new hotel in Swindon and won the Sales and Marketing Manager of the Year award for bringing in three million pounds of business. Anita decided she wanted a new challenge and after spotting a niche in the market, she set up her own events company, Venues Events Management. Starting during a recession was tough, but the business steadily grew and after four years, she moved the business premises out of the cottage to an organic milk farm, representing the quirky personal service they deliver for clients well.
Venues Event Management prides itself on providing high levels of personal customer service and has won awards reflecting this. Anita believes her company is successful as they always look after clients well in both good and bad times, offering a high level of service with personal customer relation managers for each client. The client base includes AXA, BT, BP, BUPA, Morgan Stanley, Mercedes Benz, and The National Trust.
A blow came when after several considered offers, Venues Events Management was bought out by AIM listed Real Affinity, who used the profitability to subsidise other loss making companies in the portfolio, to the point that their company was forced into administration without warning. Anita and her husband struggled to buy back the company, having to remortgage their houses in order to save the livelihood of staff and retain their clients. Anita now hopes to continue to gain the new British industry standard accreditations for Sustainability Management Systems, to add to that for quality and the Investors in People accolade.
Inspired by her father, a serial entrepreneur, Anita is involved with Leeds University, regularly speaking to students studying event management and in 1991 Anita became the first female President of the Chamber of Commerce in Swindon and as a result has won awards in her own right. Anita also helped to fundraise for the new Prospect Hospice, getting National Power on board.
Karen Gill MBE, co-founder of Everywoman, comments, “I am delighted to present Anita with The Hera Award. The NatWest Everywoman Awards are growing from strength to strength each year. The standard and number of entries gets higher every year, resulting in an increasingly difficult judging process! This is a testament to the extraordinary contribution of female entrepreneurs to UK plc.”
Carolyn Currie, Head of Women in Business services at NatWest, “Congratulations to all the winners of the NatWest everywoman Awards. We continue to partner on the awards as we know from our customers the importance of highlighting female entrepreneur’s success stories to inspire more women to move on with their businesses and to encourage others to start-up in business. The support services we and Everywoman both offer business women makes this a perfect partnership”