The Digital Women Entrepreneur of The Year Award recognises and celebrates women who are are operating a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so in the Digital Space. Entrepreneurs play a key role in employment and the the economy, using the skills and initiative necessary to anticipate needs and bring new ideas to market.
Here are your finalists:
Amy McManus – AM Marketing
Six years ago, I founded AM Marketing – an award-winning, top 30 Google partnered Kent-based agency specialising in digital marketing delivering campaigns for brands of all sizes across the globe. We are a team of five full-time staff and a roster of more than 20 freelancers offering industry-leading digital marketing ensuring our clients’ vision and goals are met in line with budget, time frames and quality.
My business continues to expand, and in two years I’ve seen it go from a spare bedroom business with two people to taking over a whole second floor in a Canterbury office that we’re continuing to fill with permanent staff. This is not only because of the considerable business growth, but also to allow the opportunity to bring talent in-house to offer our clients a one-stop shop under one roof.
We also offer graduate placements for young digital talent. One of my big passions is young women in digital and being able to house, educate and nurture the next generation of female digital talent by offering space for students to come and work with AM Marketing. This was a huge factor when selecting the new office space.
Amy McManus is the CEO and Founder of AM Marketing, a digital agency based in Kent. She is a UK Women of the Future finalist, freeman of the London Guild of Entrepreneurs, an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, finalist for National Businesswoman of the Year and winner of UK Female Business Speaker of the Year.
AM Marketing is an award-winning Google Partner agency that was placed in the Top 30 UK Google Agencies and has a portfolio of clients all over the world. The team at AM Marketing are experts in their field and have worked on some of the largest marketing accounts in the world, including Disney, Marvel, Very.com, and Easy Jet, winning numerous accolades for their work.
Sally Hawkesford – SHC Digital
In January 2019 I launched SHC Digital and was committed to doing things differently. I didn’t want to just be another digital agency offering the standard digital marketing services. I didn’t want to offer clients a service that focused on creating digital content or well-planned paid digital media – I wanted to combine the two and offer killer creative with sophisticated targeting, to offer clients an integrated approach that delivered against business objectives and achieved a better return on ad spend (ROAS). I set out to start an agency that doesn’t just offer clients a set approach and a fee structure set by channels.
My approach is to think audience first before you even start thinking about the channels and tactics. I work closely with clients to establish what they were looking for the activity to achieve and the audience they are looking to target before we start breaking the activity down into channels.
My first opportunity to implement this new approach came when homeware retailer, Dunelm asked me to manage the digital amplification of its new partnership with ITV and This Morning. Initially the project was planned to be three months where we would get the digital activation plan up and off the ground and set the plans in motion for the team to implement throughout the rest of the year-long partnership. This included launching a new Giphy channel, create a multi-channel campaign for This Morning Live at the NEC Birmingham, integrating This Morning into Dunelm’s wider digital marketing plan and ensuring the partnership delivered a commercial return. Fast forward to April 2019 and I recruited an assistant to help me, Dunelm extended the project for another nine months and I now had eight retained monthly clients. It was time to curate SHC 2.0, significantly quicker than I had ever envisaged. This meant I needed to recruit another team member, find a suitable office space and take things to the next level. I was no longer a one-man-band, I was now a full-blown digital agency.
Sally is the founder and director of SHC Digital. Sally has over 10 years’ experience working in digital marketing within in-house roles and agencies. With extensive consumer experience, Sally specialises in eCommerce, to deliver more bang for clients’ buck and delivering a return on ad spend. Sally loves nothing more than a good chat about attribution models and advanced data matching to help understand the true performance of digital media.
Jane Kavanagh – Feedalpha
Since we launched last year we have grown the company and now have 8 staff in total. Our brand awareness is continuing to build and we have had many exciting events over the past year.
We attended Social Day in London last May and launched feedalpha to the UK market, we sponsored Digital Picnic in Ireland and we even exhibited at the web summit in November. I also had the honour of speaking at Digital Women in November.
I am a big believer that social media gives every company, small or large an even playing field for showcasing their business. With social media you have the opportunity to sell your services and products to a global audience. In order to reach that audience we must add value through our social media accounts and give our customers great content that will help them increase their reach and improve their bottom line.
Finding this content takes time and money and this can be challenging especially for small businesses. Feedalpha saves our customers so much time as they have access to thousands of articles / blogs etc and all they have to do is key in a search term and it will give them an entire stream of trending content to feed their social media accounts. There is a monthly calendar so you can schedule up to a months’ worth of content and save even more time. All this for only £10 per month.
Jane Kavanagh is the CEO and Co- Founder of Feedalpha. Jane launched the company 18 months ago and since then has won numerous awards, showcased the platform at Web Summit and is currently in the middle of a funding round to take Feedalpha to the next level. With a background is sales and marketing Jane wanted to help small businesses grow their online presence and increase revenue through Social Media.
Sandra Patterson – Kids Bee Happy Ltd
We sit between two traditional sectors – Direct Sales and Franchising, we have mixed it up to take the best of both – the proven business model of franchising, but without the high start up cost, and the support and friendly team structure of Direct Sales. In both of those sectors the norm is for very formal communication between the company and its members, and then usually facebook groups between the members. Because we wanted to give better support we needed to solve these problems digitally.
Over the past few months we have created a whole heap of resources that is outstanding in our category: – Video training materials – Video marketing materials – An image bank – A printed year book – 2 Digital Apps All of these seem very normal, but what is different is the volume and quality of these resources. It means that wherever a consultant is – they have access at full times to all of the information, help and support that will enable them to solve any problem or answer any question. This is significant because the majority of people joining us do not have any previous business experience, and rather than doing as many businesses in our sector do – simply relying on people to memorise rote scripts – for our consultants having this extensive digital resource in their pocket available to them at all times, means that they can be confident and authentic in the business.
I am CEO of an arts and crafts distribution company and our primary product is Sand Art. We sell through our own direct sales network of 300 branded consultants operating from Orkney down to the Channel Islands, and we have also replicated out business model with a partner in South Africa, providing a foundation for further international growth. In the UK we also sell directly to multi site corporate partners such as Parkdean, Haven etc.
I am a Chartered Accountant by training, qualifying with Arthur Andersen, and first went self employed in 2001 with a local village store. Myself and my husband also built an online courier platform which we successfully sold to the US market leader in 2010 I am completely passionate about achieving equality and creating a working environment fit for 21st century families. Kids Bee Happy is a Scottish Pledge company, our working style embraces proper flexible working and we are heading towards achieving the four day week by 2021. I adore business.
My training and background teaching me early in my career that all business skills and knowledge is infinitely transferable. My speciality is strategy and big picture, and understanding the detail needed to achieve that. My background in the 3Principles understanding also gives me a grounding that reduces stress, improves decision making, and creates an openness to new opportunities and thinking.
Lenka Koppova – Cambridge Social Media
Aside from my Social Media Consultancy business, I’ve also been running free monthly Social Media Meetups for freelancers and small business owners for the past 2+ years. At #CambSMmeetup we’re all about helping local entrepreneurs to get to grips with social media marketing – starting at the very beginning and building on from there to empower them to grow their businesses and achieve all their goals.
In November 2018, I’ve run the first annual Social Media Conference in Cambridge, bringing 10+ experts and speakers to deliver talks and workshops on various social media related topics to 150+ local professionals from many different industries. In 2019, I’ve run the same event spread across two days to be able to deliver amazing knowledge to people on different levels.
Lenka Koppova is founder of Cambridge Social Media and Cambridge Social Media Day an annual Social Media Conference in Cambridge, bringing 10+ experts and speakers to deliver talks and workshops on various social media related topics to 150 + Businesses. She is also an Organic Social Strategist and Trainer at Cambridge Social Media.
Suzi Witt – Pretty Witty Academy and Female Entrepreneur Journey
When I was 35 I walked out of my job as a lawyer because they said my request to work 9 to 6pm then 8 to midnight was not “flexible” enough for their clients.
I was a new mum and I had no clue what I was going to do. So I decided to bake some cupcakes (having never even opened the oven before – I literally had to take the plastic covering on the inside out)!
Those 12 cupcakes led to a multi 7 figure business with an online cake school, online shop and online cake courses and online digital magazine. I was the first women in my industry back in 2012 to create an online school to teach cake decorating and built a guest tutor base of 80+ tutors.
There was little precedent so I just made my own path and it worked. The reason I went online is because I had launched face to face classes in 2010 and by 2011 I had had students attend from over 35 countries – literally flying in to the UK to where I taught (from home!). It was just so clear to me that the business would be far more scaleable (and far better for the environment!) if I took the class to them using digital.
I launched my first membership site in 2012. Over the following 6 years, 39,000 people joined my cake school. But, there was a sting in the tail. Because I was not literate in tech myself back then (I was hiring IT people and web designers), I didn’t know that the website was a house of cards. I was beset with tech issues which got worse and worse as the years went on.
The failing digital side was going to destroy what I had built and I was powerless to help myself as I knew nothing about the tech side. So, in 2018 I decided enough was enough. I was captive to IT companies who were controlling my every move as I was so heavily reliant on digital. I wanted to break free. To do that and to be able to hire properly in the future, I needed to properly understand the digital world and the tech more. I needed to become literate in the digital world to gain freedom So, I made the huge (and totally scary) decision to close that first membership school (the failing tech was going to destroy it eventually) and start over.
I decided I would teach myself how to build my own advanced membership site – and make it better than the “pros”. I wanted to build it myself as that, for me, was the best way to learn everything I possibly could. Learning on the job with a real live business. Then I would have all the knowledge I needed to do things myself and to ask the right questions in the future. I knew nothing about tech back then. I literally started with googling “what does html mean” and “what is a plugin?” What I didn’t realise is that I would end up going on to be a role model for so many women in the cake and creative industries who are now following my path and building their own sites and learning more about digital.
In November 2018, I launched my new membership – a new business academy for cake makers (both hobbyists and business). This time, I built it all myself. It was a 6 figure launch. I now have a small team who run that business for me. The entire business is online using digital learning as a means of training people all over the world.
Suzi Witt is a former lawyer who quit her job to build a business around her family. Having never baked before, she turned 12 cupcakes into a global multi 7 figure online business teaching women all over the world how to make cakes. In 2018, Suzi launched a second self-built membership site which is a multi 6 figure online school teaching business to cake decorators. She focuses on helping other women to start, build and grow their own cake businesses – both offline and online.
Due to her own experiences in building her businesses, in 2020 Suzi launched The Female Entrepreneur Journey with the aim of helping as many women as possible in every industry around the globe to build their own online business. Suzi focuses on tech and the mindset needed to build a successful online business – drawing entirely from her own experiences in building 6 and 7 figure businesses. Suzi’s strongly believes that women can use the digital world to change the world as we know it and her mission is to help empower as many women as possible on their own journey.
Pamela Finn – Hashtag Media
20 years ago I literally walked in to our regional TV station and asked them how would I be successful in media – the response at the time, from a news anchor I managed to corner was – read a newspaper every day – know what is going on in the world and find a story to tell…that hasn’t left me, I went back to college and studied journalism to hone my storytelling skills, set up a PR agency ( after working for newspapers /radio for over a decade ) then just over two years ago, I created Hashtag Media and asked my now co-business partner to join me in creating good social media content for our clients – we combined our multimedia powers to create one of the most innovative digital media agencies to emerge in the last two years.
I saw a gap in the market to bring an alternative viewer experience to social media and wanted to not only stay ahead of digital trends but create them, hence the advent of Social TV.
This brings the experience of an event to life online for the viewer. Streaming live across the event but in an entirely new interactive way which moves away from traditional broadcasting. I set out to achieve my dream and that became a reality by not only presenting on TV but creating Instagram & Facebook documentaries, launching Social TV in Los Angeles last June and most recently being asked to speak at Enterprise Week Masterclasses nationwide.
Award winning entrepreneur ‘Best PR Agency in Ireland 2020, Founder of Hashtag Media – Voted Hottest Company of 2019…Pamela Finn aka PR Pam has worked in the media industry for over two decades in social media years that’s about a century…
Lauren Hampshire – The Milky Tee Company
When I had my second daughter I really struggled to find clothes I could breastfeed in, which looked like normal tops and didn’t have layers or obvious flaps. I had an idea to add discreet zips to a T-shirt and so I bought some fabric and zips and the Milky Tee was born.
Initially it was just for me to use but I soon realised lots of other mums could get use out of them too, so I decided to set up an online shop to sell them – TheMilkyTeeCompany.com.
The business has now been running for almost two years and we have sold over 8000 tops. I protected the design with a registered design right so the design is unique to us and I also have the trademark for Milky Tee in the UK, EU, US and have applied for the Australian trademark. My Milky Tee range started off as just T-shirts but we now also sell breastfeeding sweatshirts and long-sleeved tops, all with our unique hidden zip design.
I personally felt quite self-conscious breastfeeding in public so I wanted our tops to allow mums to nurse without having to reveal any parts they didn’t want to or to have to pull their tops up or down. As well as helping mums be able to breastfeed easily and discreetly, I wanted our tops to help them feel trendy, stylish and comfortable (which I think is very important as you can feel a bit low in self-esteem after a baby as your body has changed and your boobs are sore and leaking!), so our tops are made with 100% premium cotton and are designed to look trendy with a wider neckline and rolled-up sleeves.
They also have a range of slogans on them, including Coffee + Concealer, Bossing it and Tired is the New Black. I also wanted the zips to be very fine and hidden so the tops can be worn even after mums finish breastfeeding.
I am a mum of two, former broadcast journalist and founder of award-winning breastfeeding clothing brand The Milky Tee Company.
Laura Hogan – JellyBean
I pretty much reset my life in 2018 (end of long term relationship, buying my own home, leaving a safe role I’d had for six years etc), so in 2019 I set myself the goal of building a digital marketing agency that bought service and relationships back to it’s heart.
The company has been fortunate to run campaigns with some fantastic names including Tote, Thomas Cook (RIP), Box, Oxbridge, 24/7 Fitness, CT Travel Group and Nailcote Hall. We’ve been fortunate enough to continue speaking engagements in 2019 and 2020, with our first international talk happening later in 2020 and sponsorship of the Women in Tech Festival – women supporting women is massively close to my heart.
Laura is a proud Brummie and the owner of JellyBean: a digital marketing agency focusing upon SEO, PPC and Digital PR.
Pam Obasa – The Lucrative Lady
I started running my brand The Lucrative Lady in September 2018 after a few failed/unprofitable stints at online marketing. When I started this brand I chose to focus on Sales Systems, Stories & Messaging and within about 9 months we made over 6 figures in revenue. I teach a Mastermind and have a membership community, which are both thriving and getting a lot of successes for members and clients
Pam Obasa is an incredibly powerful Serial Entrepreneur, Speaker, Writer, an Optimist with unshakable faith, a no-nonsense business accelerator dedicated to equipping women around the world to create a life and business that exceeds their imagination! The Founder of The Lucrative Lady, Pam’s secret weapon is ‘Storytelling’. Not only does she use the power of storytelling to engage, captivate and compel diverse audiences, but Pam has taught audiences globally, ‘How to use Stories to Sell!’
Yvette Pearson – Small Business Admin Network
I have set up several businesses, trying to digitise different industries. Firstly, Bookastall – trying to revolutionise the craft fair and crafter market by building a platform on which people can showcase their small craft businesses. Secondly, Small Business Admin Network – bringing together companies and suppliers who offer products and services to small businesses and startups. I have worked for a startup and understand first hand what it is like to need an adviser in absolutely everything you are doing as you are often required to wear dozens of hats at the same time. Thirdly, I am setting up Prepping Partner which is designed to bring together the bodybuilding and bikini competitor community. With dozens of federations, each with their individual rules, competitions and T-walks, coupled with the industry often being tarnished with a few rogue trainers, I wanted to create a safe place for competitors to get information on what it’s like to compete, and details of people who can help them on their journey
An innovator in everything she does, Yvette looks to transform small businesses using data and analytics. As founder of Bookastall, Prepping Partner, and Small Business Admin Network, she works across the globe to help businesses of all kinds. An international public speaker, author, bodybuilding competitor and triathlete, Yvette also has a decade-long career in Executive Support, Office Management and Business Intelligence.
Sam Charles – Float Digital
Alongside running a 6-figure agency, Sam is an experienced international speaker delivering talks to small groups, schools and non-profits, through to large audiences up to 3,500 delegates.
Events include Europe’s largest Search Marketing conference, BrightonSEO, and workshops on behalf of the largest marketing award-body, CIM.
I’m studying Level 8 (PhD/Doctorate equivalent) CMI Postgraduate Diploma, Strategic Direction & Leadership, as we aim to achieve £1m turnover.
Sam is a Google certified digital marketing expert with 9 years experience and the founder of a fast-growing and multi-award-winning SEO & PPC agency, Float Digital. In her career, she has successfully helped deliver 350+ campaigns for brands such as Argos, Thorntons, J.P Morgan, Victoria’s Secret, Eastpak, Manfrotto and Emirates Airlines.
Alongside running a 6-figure agency, Sam is an experienced international speaker delivering talks to small groups, schools and non-profits, through to large audiences up to 3,500 delegates. Events include Europe’s largest Search Marketing conference, BrightonSEO, and workshops on behalf of the largest marketing award-body, CIM.
In 2019, Sam received business mentoring support from Peter Jones from Dragon’s Den after winning the Sage #BusinessAmbition award (as advertised on TV). She has also been nominated for 30+ awards/honours, winning plenty along the way, which has attracted press from The Times and other high-profile publications.
Susan Kabani – Ugenie
In 2016, Susan launched Ugenie, which provides organisations with tailored digital platforms to more effectively engage their membership. Ugenie’s vision is to provide affordable and easy to use technology to organisations or businesses that could not normally afford their own mobile technology. It currently focuses on small to medium sized organisations that have an existing membership or customer base to which they deliver regular content. The platform also allows enables the organisation to build stronger communities in private and customised digital space. Ugenie has also just been named a finalist in the Small Business of the Year London category for the Venus Women’s Awards. In addition to Ugenie, Susan is the community manager for The People Who Share, a global social Enterprise raising awareness to the sharing economy and collaborative consumption, co-chair of the London board of GroYourBiz, a female advisory board for women, chair of the Islington group of The Athena Women’s Networking Group and a London Fellow for the Start-up Leadership Program. She was also a finalist for the Venus Women’s Awards in 2018 for the Small Business of the Year Category, finalist for the Digital Communication Award for the Successful Women in Business 2019 and finalist for New Business of the Year for New Business for Women’s Business Conference.
With a background in intellectual property law and SME business development, Susan Kabani launched Ugenie, a private membership hub for businesses. Susan helps businesses grow an audience or better engage their current clients. Susan also works closely with her clients to formulate digital communication strategies to ensure their successful use of technology in business.
Molly Wright – Molly Moodle Media
Successfully managing a social media agency with a team of three women who are constantly pushing their careers in digital and media. Continuing to help young women pursue a career in digital and the media industry by supporting them at their early stages with work experience at Molly Moodle Media.
Molly ‘Moodle’ Wright is the Founder of Molly Moodle Media, an award-winning social media marketing agency that helps independent, creative and digital businesses develop their social media presence. Molly is a regular speaker at South East Creatives, a guest lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University and radio host of ‘Molly Moodle’s Mash-Up’.
Congratulations to these incredible Female Entrepreneurs!
Join us on the 9th March in London as we celebrate international women’s day and the work women are doing in digital and business.