British luxury handbag designer Anya Hindmarch has been announced as the winner of the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award 2012.
The fashion accessories guru fought off stiff competition from fellow shortlisted entrepreneurs, Helena Morrissey of Morrissey Investment Management, and Ruth Rogers, founder of River cafe, in being awarded the coveted accolade.
Regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the business world, the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award is now in its 40th year and celebrates entrepreneurial women who have made a significant contribution to business life in the UK.
Anya’s commitment to running a socially responsible business was welcomed by this year's judging panel - particularly her iconic "I’m Not A Plastic Bag" campaign, launched in 2007.
Anya started her business at the age of 19, growing it from a tiny first floor shop on London's Walton Street to a cool 57 stores worldwide, including a London flagship on Sloane Street and a Tokyo flagship in Aoyama.
ABOVE: Baroness Verma with winner Anya Hindmarch
“It is the greatest honour to win," said Anya. "It is a very real compliment to be deemed to share some of the qualities of Veuve Clicquot herself, who was clearly a brave and pioneering woman."
Anya also hailed her fellow finalists, Helena and Ruth as "brilliant businesswomen and lovely people".
Anya has been frequently praised for her contributions to the British fashion industry in the past. In 2009 she was awarded an MBE. In 2011, she became a UK Trade Ambassador as well as becoming a Non-Executive Director of the British Fashion Council. She is also a trustee of both The Royal Academy and The Design Museum and a Governor of The University of The Arts. Her support of the next generation of British entrepreneurs, most notably through the Government’s "Start Up Britain" campaign was also cited by the judges as a reason for her being awarded business woman of the year.
“I congratulate Anya Hindmarch and hope her success inspires budding businesswomen across Britain," said the ceremony's keynote speaker and Home Secretary, Theresa May. "Women are at the heart of our economic future and I would like to see many more reaching the top of their chosen field.”
Three cheers to that - and congratulations to Anya for her win.
Words: Sophie Haslett. Picture Credit: Rex Features.