Helen Lord of Used Kitchen Exchange from Widnes has been chosen as a finalist in the Demeter Award category sponsored by Nutriment Limited – this Award will go to the most inspirational woman running a business which has been trading between 3 and 5 years.
Helen started Used Kitchen Exchange with nothing more than a laptop, a phone and a car. She set out with one goal: to change the face of an established industry and prove that she could make a ‘do-good’ business with very strong environmental and social ethics into a successful, profitable company.
Used Kitchen Exchange is an innovative business that promotes the profitable recycling of used kitchens; offering a complete re-sale service, returning the majority of the profit to the seller. As well as providing affordable, quality pre-owned kitchens to ethically minded, cost conscious families and buyers, Used Kitchen Exchange gives a commercially efficient environmental solution for used kitchens, preventing high volumes of MDF from going into landfill. In the next three years, Used Kitchen Exchange aims to save the amount of kitchens it would take to fill at least 21 football pitches from becoming landfill. The Used Kitchen Exchange website draws 20,000 visitors a month encouraging people to buy kitchens ‘that don’t cost The Earth’.
The surge of entrepreneurship has been one of the most encouraging business trends of the last decade with record numbers of new business registrations. The prospect of lighter regulation, lower corporation tax, an enviable pool of talent and venture capital funding makes the UK one of the easiest countries to launch and grow a business. Yet the rate of women-led business start-ups remains significantly lower than that of men – 5.7% versus 10%. Research undertaken by Deloitte suggests that targeted help for early stage women entrepreneurs could provide a £100bn boost to the UK economy over the next 10 years, proving the need to provide a better environment in which women-led entrepreneurial businesses will succeed at similar levels as for men, thereby benefiting the companies, stakeholders and, ultimately, the national economy. The FSB agrees, with its report by the Women’s Business Council suggesting that the UK is missing out on some 1.2 million enterprises due to the untapped business potential of women and recommends more visible and diverse role models as one of its seven key recommendations
Speaking about the finalists, everywoman Co-founder Maxine Benson MBE comments, “The ambition, success and humility of our finalists make them all strong accessible role models for other women and girls considering starting their own business. Gender has never been a barrier to great ideas or initiatives and this year’s finalists bear that out. We live in one of the best countries for entrepreneurship and there is no better place for enterprise to flourish, as our finalists prove. We wish them continued success and good luck!”
Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise at NatWest, said: “We are very proud to recognise these women, who are not just successful in their own businesses, but are also great role models. The importance of women in business cannot be underestimated, so we hope these role models will inspire other women to take their first steps in business. To help these entrepreneurs and would-be business owners, NatWest has a network of over 340 externally accredited Women in Business specialists who understand our customers’ ambitions and provide business advice, mentoring and networking opportunities.”
Suzanne Brock, Managing Director of Nutriment Limited, adds “Not only do the Awards promote the achievements of women in business, they also offer inspiration, motivation and support to any woman who dreams of starting her own business. I am enormously proud to be involved again this year.”
The awards were judged by 19 of the country’s most successful businesswomen including Chrissie Rucker MBE, Cath Kidston MBE, Julia Hands MBE, Amanda Wakeley OBE and Rosaleen Blair. The winners will be announced on Wednesday 7th December at a lunch reception at The Dorchester Hotel attended by over 300 leading figures from business, politics, the media and the City.