SOME of the brightest lights in the business world came together last Saturday for the Devon Women in Business Awards.

The event, staged at Buckfast Abbey, saw Teignbridge scoop an impressive collection of awards in four categories, and the winners will now go forward to next year’s West Country Women Awards.

Devon Women In Business (DWIB) meet for monthly networking lunches, hosted by Louise Jenner of The Dream Job Coach.

Louise explained: ‘I took on the DWIB group in June 2021. At that time it was a small Facebook group which we’ve grown since.

‘Businesswomen have come through a tough few years and I take my hat off to them, especially those who have started up in that difficult time.

‘I wanted to recognise their achievements so, with the help of Maureen Frost, who has experience in these things, I set up the awards.’

This is their second year running, and Louise has seen a fourfold increase with more than 100 entries for the 2022 awards, which were judged by Louise herself, along with Maureen from Astrality Business Services and Emma Woodward of Dawes Accountants.

The four Teignbridge winners were:

► Best Female Start Up 2022

For a Devon based business founded by a female that started trading after January 2021. Winner: Karen Hagenow, The Posh Bits Co, Teignmouth.

► Inspirational Leader 2022

For  someone seen as a leader in their field, a source of advice and expertise. This person motivates others and inspires other women in business.Winner: Sarah Jane Williamson, Mare & Foal Sanctuary, Newton Abbot.

​► Female Employee of the Year 2022

For someone who has demonstrated a positive and proactive contribution to their employer and is valued by their colleagues and manager.  Someone who has proactively developed their skills and has ambitions for the future. Winner: Maddie Holland, Educated Recruitment, Newton Abbot.

► Best Female Led Small Business up to ​10 Employees 2022

​​For a female-led business based in Devon, employing between two and 10 people, that can demonstrate business growth and success, effective marketing strategy, customer satisfaction and a clear plan for the future. Winner: Joanne Manville Virtual Assistance, Newton Abbot.

Louise said: ‘The main difference to a woman’s approach to business is we are more collaborative, not competitive. We want to do better together.’

This was typified when Louise learned that the West Country Women’s Awards were taking place very shortly after her own. ‘Rather than see it as a difficulty, we got together over a coffee and came up with similar ideas,’ she said. ‘The result is that our winners will have a “Golden Buzzer” into next year’s West Country Women Awards.

‘There are a good many women in Teignbridge who would not have the confidence to enter a regional competition. In a way our awards are providing a staircase for them to go on to higher things in the business world.’

The DWIB group is holding a pre-Christmas lunch at the Dartmoor HalfWay Inn, Newton Abbot, on December 14, when everyone is welcome to join.

For more information contact Louise on 01626 437782 or email [email protected]