Finalists for the 2021 Bold Woman Award by Veuve Clicquot Announced

  • Prof Sarah Gilbert, Dame Donna Kinnair and Sharmadean Reid MBE among shortlist
  • Fresh research reveals COVID crisis has galvanised female entrepreneurship 
  • Aspiring female entrepreneurs eager to make a positive societal impact

The finalists for the Bold Woman Award and Bold Future Award by Veuve Clicquot were announced on International Women’s Day. Now in its 49th year, the double award honours the impact of female leadership, innovation and entrepreneurism across the UK.

The Bold Woman Award celebrates female leadership, honouring inspirational women with an established track record of organisational and personal success. The finalists selected by the panel of judges are:

  • Maria Raga – CEO of fashion resale app Depop. Maria has been instrumental in driving Depop forward in its mission to reshape fashion consumption. Under Maria’s leadership, Depop has seen 100% year on year revenue growth, raised $100m in funding and has a community of over 27m users worldwide.
  • Prof. Sarah Gilbert – University of Oxford Professor of Vaccinology and co-founder of Vaccitech. Professor Gilbert has over a decade’s experience in developing cutting edge vaccines and led Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine development.
  • Dame Donna Kinnair – Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing. Judges were inspired by Dame Donna’s consistent commitment to the more than 450k nurses the RCN represents, from campaigning for Fair Pay For Nursing to standing up for nursing staff to have access to proper PPE as well as priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine for all staff.

The Bold Future Award celebrates female entrepreneurship and up and coming leaders of the future. The finalists selected by the panel of judges are:

  • Sharmadean Reid MBE – Founder of Beautystack, a beauty platform allowing consumers to book talented professionals directly based on photos of their treatments. Beautystack has seen impressive external investment and growth, all while its innovative ‘see it, like it, book it’ approach elevates service providers often left at the bottom of the multi-billion pound beauty industry
  • Ebinehita Iyere – Founder of Milk Honey Bees, a safe space for young  black women and girls to explore their creativity and gain skills to navigate society. Judges were inspired by Ebinehita’s drive to use creativity to make a significant difference to the lives of the young black girls she reaches through the organisation before and during the COVID crisis.
  • Theadora Alexander – Co-Founder of Young Foodies Group, a platform giving up and coming FMCG brands everything required to scale, from consultancy advice and investor matchmaking to a dedicated online supermarket. Young Foodies has become one of the fastest growing communities of emerging consumer names, representing more than 1500 brands with a combined turnover of £300m.

Both awards recognise women who emulate Madame Clicquot’s enterprising spirit and courage, as well as her values of innovation, audacity, fearlessness and drive. The judging panel look for evidence that nominees have excelled across four key pillars, from successfully reinventing traditions and demonstrating entrepreneurial daring, to championing better representation of female leaders and maintaining an ethical approach.

Kristina Blahnik, judging panel member and Manolo Blahnik CEO said:

“This shortlist celebrates the fearless, visionary and inspiring female leadership that has been on display over the previous twelve difficult months. These women have steered their organisations to success and pioneered innovation during intensely challenging and disruptive times. The judges have been awed by the calibre of leadership among this year’s nominees and we’re delighted to celebrate this collection of bold women.”

Alongside the shortlist, a new research report from Veuve Clicquot indicates that the COVID crisis has galvanised female entrepreneurship. The International Veuve Clicquot Barometer on Women In Entrepreneurship surveyed more than 34,000 adults around the world about their views on entrepreneurism, including 2,000 UK adults. When asked if they would like to become an entrepreneur, 47% of women said yes – an increase from 39% in 2019. This comes despite 70% of these female business leaders considering entrepreneurship a riskier prospect thanks to the COVID crisis. However, entrepreneurship is still seen as a more viable path by men – 62% of men said they aspire to entrepreneurism, compared to 50% in 2019.

Motivations to become an entrepreneur have also changed. In 2019, 45% of female aspiring entrepreneurs said the main motivation was being their own boss – this stands at just 11% today. Instead, financial security is now the main motivation for 31% of women, compared to 19% in 2019. 64% of aspiring female entrepreneurs said they would like to launch an environmentally-sustainable initiative (compared to 49% of men) and 57% of women said they would like to lead a business or organisation that benefits society, compared to 48% of men.

Jean-Marc Gallot, President of Veuve Clicquot, said:

“Veuve Clicquot launched the Bold Woman Award in 1972 and Bold Future Award in 2014 to recognise innovative and audacious female leadership, so it is fantastic to see that every changemaker on this shortlist truly embodies the pioneering spirit of Madame Clicquot. Our Barometer research highlights that despite these turbulent times, women have never been more eager to lead and innovate, and our 2021 Bold nominees are tremendous role models for the next generation of aspiring entrepreneurs.”

The winners will be announced in Q4 2021. Full global data from The International Veuve Clicquot Barometer on Women In Entrepreneurship will be released in Q2 2021.

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