Matthew Neville

The search is on for London's ‘most inspiring’ women in business

An awards programme dedicated to celebrating the London women breaking barriers in business has opened for entries.

Business women leading the way in their industry are being called on to put their applications in ahead of the 2022 Great British Businesswoman Awards in November.

Last year, 40 per cent of FTSE 100 board positions were held by women and the government suggested that major strides had been taken in changing attitudes. However, out of the 414 women in board roles, just 29 of them were in executive director positions, a slight decrease since 2020.

With a potential £250bn in value to the UK economy accessible if women’s participation in business was equal to men’s, it’s hoped that the awards will help to change gendered perceptions and serve as a source of inspiration for women over the country to back themselves in taking on senior leadership roles.

Also being encouraged is collaboration and support from men in business, with the Male Advocate Award celebrating those championing their female counterparts and welcoming more diversity at the top end of the corporate ladder.

The series debuted last year with a virtual ceremony and saw a host of women awarded for making waves in industries from sports to construction, with Unilever’s Leena Nair being crowned the overall Great British Businesswoman of the Year.

The organisers are hoping for an even better turnout this year with the event being held live for the first time in London. The awards were founded by the team behind the Great British Entrepreneur Awards in recognition of the consistently high standard of female entries into their other programmes.

Founder Francesca James commented: “Being a trailblazer in business is, in itself, a challenging and intimidating feat, so I have the utmost admiration for the determined women who are also inspiring others and helping to challenge stereotypical ideas of business leaders.

“There is still a common notion about business people being inherently corporate, high-powered and altogether unrelatable to many, which is why it’s so important to hear the individual stories of the finalists who may not all fit the stereotype and can vouch for the fact that business is so much more than that.

“It’s all about celebrating the many types of role models with their own unique experiences and instilling confidence in women who may have a business idea or are considering taking on a leadership role - we truly hope these awards can play a part in this and have some influence on making the business world increasingly diverse and welcoming to all.”

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