08.11.2017

Fashion Enter makes Natwest Everywoman Awards Shortlist

Twenty-one extraordinary women have been revealed as this year’s finalists in the 15th annual NatWest everywoman Awards, the UK’s most prestigious initiative recognising the achievements of female entrepreneurs. 

The announcement comes as research by NatWest Business shows female entrepreneurs have contributed 77,000 new jobs and over £3.5 billion to the UK economy, via 100,000 new businesses over a 12 month period.

Jenny Holloway of Fashion Enter at London has been chosen as a finalist in the Gaia Award category, sponsored by Montezuma’s Chocolates – awarded to the most inspirational and successful female founder of a social enterprise who has combined strong community benefit with a sustainable business model. 

Jenny set up Fashion Enter, a not-for-profit company, in 2006. Shortly after its incorporation she met the founder of ASOS.com, who helped her significantly with opening her first factory. She is now the owner of an award-winning social enterprise, employing over a hundred people, that strives to be a centre of excellence for training and development within fashion and textiles. This is a long way away from when she first began her business when Jenny didn’t have the money to hire top people and had to rely on paid interns. 


Now, what she finds most rewarding is being able to provide hope and inspiration to so many unemployed people by providing quality training which takes them away from the job centre and into full-time work or on the path to starting their own fashion brands 
Fashion Enter has now reached a turnover of £3.5 million, which wasn’t easily achieved; it had to overcome issues of cash flow, skill shortages, bad debt from clients whilst ensuring that they never compromised their high-quality standards at any time during their 12 year history. Jenny remains a true advocate for not buying disposable fashion by highlighting the importance of ethical and sustainable sourcing here in the UK. Her ambition and vision helped introduce garment manufacturing back into the UK and she now wants to open an academy in Leicester to develop the right skills for the growing garment manufacturing industry. 

Selected by a judging panel of 18 of the country’s most successful businesswomen including Chrissie Rucker MBE, Cath Kidston MBE, Rosaleen Blair CBE and Poonam Gupta OBE, this year’s finalists were chosen for the drive, ambition and tenacity they demonstrate in the face of adversity. 
Speaking about the finalists, Maxine Benson MBE, Co-founder at everywoman comments: “When we created these awards 15 years ago to champion women in enterprise, little did we know the stories we would uncover and the phenomenal women we would meet. Over the years we have been delighted to learn of the impact these awards have had on previous winners. We believe women from all backgrounds should have a platform to share their success stories and highlight what can be achieved even when faced with life’s biggest challenges. This year’s finalists are a true testament to the breadth of female talent in this country and we wish them all continued success." 

Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise at NatWest, said: “We are very proud to recognise these women, who are not just successful in their own businesses, but are also great role models. The importance of women in business cannot be underestimated, so we hope these role models will inspire other women to take their first steps in business. To help these entrepreneurs and would-be business owners, NatWest has a network of over 450 externally accredited Women in Business specialists who understand our customers’ ambitions and provide business advice, mentoring and networking opportunities.”

Helen Pattinson, Co-founder & Director at Montezuma’s Chocolates, adds: “Montezuma’s Chocolates is delighted to be supporting the NatWest everywoman Gaia Award. As a past NatWest everywoman Award winner, I know the excitement and pride around winning such a prestigious award. As a business with ethics at our heart, we felt the Gaia Award, recognising founders of successful businesses with a social and community benefit, was a perfect fit.” 

Winners will be announced at a ceremony held on 6 December 2017 at The Dorchester, London, attended by Government, media and hundreds of leading business figures. In recognition of the awards’ anniversary year, 15 ambassadors will share their inspirational stories of the impact that the awards have had on their business success. These include Julie Deane OBE, founder, The Cambridge Satchel Company, Pip Murray, founder, Pip & Nut, and Ayesha Vardag, President, VARDAGS London.