Venus Awards

Recognising Local Business Women



Devon has been incredibly successful in It’s first year, with a record number of nominations and applications. The decisions have been made and the votes are in, the winners of the Devon Venus Awards 2013 were announced on the 5th of September at The University of Exeter in the Great Hall. With the women in long and luscious dresses and the men dressed in black tie it was a very elegant and exciting night for everyone.

Now the Devon Winners are going to compete against the others 2013 winners from the other regions to become a national winner on the 22nd of November.

Indeed, this year is the first year the awards have held a National Final, after expanding from Dorset and Southampton, the award grew to Brighton & Sussex and Devon this year. We are expecting to have 120-130 people attend on the day, that includes winners and sponsors from each region.

Rhinefield was chosen as the venue not just because of its outstanding beauty but because Julia Hands owns and runs the business “Hand Picked Hotels”, obviously a very successful woman herself. With beautiful surroundings, blend of Tudor and Gothic, old and new design, the romantic and the eccentric, this New Forest hotel seems to be perfect for our ceremony.

Let me remind you of the DevonGRW_4215 Winners :

– Sarah Cressall, from The Creation Station Ltd, won the Entrepreneur of the Year award, sponsored by Bishop Fleming

Sarah is a total inspiration. She is a visionary and an amazing problem solver using her creative and business knowledge. With empathy and consideration, she knows how to make other successful and feel pride of themselves . At the same time she cares about her family life and hasn’t lost sight of her core values.

Bishop Fleming is a leading UK accountancy firm. Its specialist teams include some of the region’s top experts in wealth management, corporate finance, business recovery and insolvency, business and personal tax, payroll services, forensic and litigation support, VAT advice and of course adult assurance and accounts. Bishop Fleming has 7 offices based across the South West and West Midlands and its head office is situated in Exeter.

– Mariam Badavi, from Purity Boutique Spa Limited, won the Employer of the Year award, sponsored by  Cathedral Appointments

After setbacks, she got right back up and displays inspiring strength as a businesswoman and mother. She balances her role as a mother to her family and as owner and director of Purity Boutique Spa with grace and vigour. While making sure to put her clients’ needs and expectations first, she creates a loving environment for her team who are happy to go above and beyond for her as she does for them. she has just launch a 2nd business.

Cathedral Appointments are Exeter’s leading independent recruitment consultancy. Based in Exeter, we provide recruitment services for clients and job seekers across the South West. We offer a wide range of job vacancies up to executive level in a variety of areas including sales, marketing, HR, IT, engineering, legal, accountancy, financial services, manufacturing and general office work.

– Cathy Debenham, from YouGen Ltd, won the Green Business of the Year, sponsored by Centre for Business and Climate Solutions

“We have been very impressed by YouGen’s approach to renewable energy. It is doing a fantastic job helping to make renewable energy more accessible and the customers who come to us through YouGen are always well informed and serious about having renewable energy systems installed.” – Ellen Rodger, SunGift Solar

The CBCS is a leading Business Technology Centre, part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (2007 – 2013), which focuses on ways that businesses can consider, combat the effects of, and gain a competitive advantage from, climate change.

           – Olivia Champion, from Exeter University (scientist), won the High Achiever of the Year award, sponsored by Fidelius Insurance

Olivia is currently a Research Scientist interested in understanding how bacteria cause infections in humans. She gained her PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and in a career spanning 15 years she has built an outstanding reputation for herself and her research through working internationally in world class laboratories as a scientist. This has been achieved whilst raising two children.

Fidelius Insurance Services Ltd is one of the UK’s leading independent insurance brokers, providing a full range of bespoke insurance solutions to both corporate and individual clients. Their experienced and dedicated team’s passion for providing the highest level of personal service is second to none.

– Ros Debenham, from Radiance MediaSpa, won the New Business of the Year, sponsored by Hartnell Chanot & Partner

Ros was a Gp in Exmouth for 22 years & opened the 7,300 sq ft Radiance MediSpa in March 2013 with her daughter Katie. The MediSpa in central Exeter has 11 treatment rooms, a hair salon, gym & conference room. The equipment is state of the art. This is London brought to Exeter!

Hartnell Chanot & Partners is a firm of family law specialists. Founded in 1991 by Norman Hartnell, Hartnell Chanot & Partners (formerly known as Hartnell & Co) has grown to become the largest firm of family law solicitors in the South West region with offices in Exeter and Plymouth. Our team of family law solicitors hold a variety of specialist qualifications and service standards.

– Julia Bramble, from BrambleBuzz, won the Business Mother award, sponsored by Heart

Many say they dont know how she does it! But they recognise that she is driven by huge ambition – for her children, for her business and for all the businesses she works with. They would say she works hard and has lots of fun too. One Devon EC member says: “Julia believes in our dreams and makes us believe anything is possible “. That encapsulates her in business and as the hugely lucky mother she is.

Playing ‘More Music Variety’, Heart gives you access to the worlds biggest artists and bands, exclusive showbiz interviews and the chance to win fantastic competition prizes. Heart is available across Exeter on FM and online.

– Jacqui Batterbee, from Batterbee Thompson & Co Ltd, won the Small Business of the Year award, sponsored by NatWest

Jacqui set up the company in 2005 with Michelle Thompson with a view to providing hands on and caring accountancy service and tax advice. The business now employs 6 wonderful ladies based in lovely bespoke offices in Plymouth. It is a great place to work, the flexible working hours make for a great work life balance. The team is very close and supportive and this shows in the excellent client service.

NatWest are proud to be associated with the Venus Awards. As a sponsor of the New Business award, we aim to recognise a New Business that demonstrates that its focus and commitment are second to none.

– Tracey St Anton, from Boswell Farm Cottages, won the Employee of the Year, sponsored by The Exeter Daily

A joy to work with, Tracey is always positive and accepts any task cheerfully, no matter how daunting and will always go the extra mile to get the job done. Equally valuable in the team or leading it, she is always supportive and encouraging to others. Her personality and “can do” attitude is an asset to any company. She can be totally relied upon to perform at the highest level, yet she is happy to “muck in” on the most menial of tasks.

The Exeter Daily – a local, daily newspaper for the digital age. Providing news stories & lifestyle articles that you can enjoy either at home, in the office or on the move, The Exeter Daily is not only independent of any major publisher, it is free to use. It’s available via your laptop but there is also a mobile version that you can access by typing our url into your browser. The team behind the project have a strong track record in publishing.

– Glynis Lidster, from  Welcome Hall Ltd, won the Inspirational Woman of the Year, sponsored by The Old Bag Company

Glynis cares for her elderly, disabled mother at home as well as working more than full time hours managing a local community resource centre. She is at the centre each and every Saturday to run 2 Saturday childrens clubs – The Bright Little Sparks and Stage-Rite. She is regularly fundraising for her groups. She have walked from Looe in Cornwall to Plymouth in Devon, along with scarey sleepovers and fun runs. She also runs 2 weekly Lunch Clubs for the over 50s.

From her local beach in Devon Sally Hurst created a bag that became a company, a passion and a lifestyle. Her family have been a key part of the story, however, seven years on the children are growing up and we feel it’s time for the company to move on too. She is delighted to say we have achieved this without losing any of the personality of the brand with an exciting new look and bag designs that are contemporary, stylish and fun.

– An Swinnen, from British English Consulting Service Ltd, won the Networker of the Year award

Mike Mortby said: “During the last five years I have met An several times during business trips to the Middle East. She is an expert networker and has good connections in a number of countries. She always has bundles of energy and enthusiasm which is infectious. It is a pleasure to be in her company.”

– Lea Singleton, from  Zebra Design, won the Home Based Business of the Year award

“Lisa goes above and beyond every time. I have left deadlines for artwork until the very last minute but she has always managed to surpass all expectations and to get that artwork to the printers on time, whilst remaining her usually cheery and friendly self – unflappable, calm, professional and all whilst producing an advert, flyer or brochure to delight her clients”.

– Jackie Bligh, from TaxAssist Torquay, Paignton & Exeter

She spent 15 years working as an accountant in manufacturing. 8 years ago she started her own accountancy and Tax practice in Torquay. And in 2009 she expanded and opened an office in Paignton and then a year later she opened her 3rd office in Exeter.

I hope you will enjoy the ceremony !!

And all benefits will be offered to Women’s Aid. It’s the national domestic violence charity that helps up to 250,000 women and children every year.


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This entry was posted on October 24, 2013 by in Devon and tagged , , , .
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