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Bold Woman Award and Bold Future Award announce 2021 shortlist

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

11 Mar 2021


Veuve Clicquot’s Bold Woman Award, which celebrates female leadership and honours inspirational women, has announced the finalists for its 49th annual event, including Depop’s chief executive, Maria Raga.

The awards, which take inspiration from Madame Clicquot, is the longest-running international accolade for female business figureheads. This year’s Bold Woman Awards features Raga alongside Oxford vaccine developer Professor Sarah Gilbert and Royal College of Nursing Chief Exec Dame Donna Kinnair, who represents more than 450,000 nurses, on the main award shortlist.

The awards honour the impact of female leadership, innovation and entrepreneurism across the UK and in a press release, judges said that they were impressed with Depop’s “huge growth” under Raga’s leadership, particularly over the past 12 months.

As chief executive of fashion resale app, Depop, Raga has been instrumental in driving forward its mission to reshape fashion consumption and during her tenure, Depop has seen 100 percent year-on-year revenue growth, raised 100 million US dollars in funding and has a community of over 27 million users worldwide.

The Bold Future Award by Veuve Clicquot celebrates female entrepreneurship and up and coming leaders of the future and has shortlisted Sharmadean Reid founder of Beautystack, a beauty platform that allows consumers to book talented professionals directly based on photos of their treatments.

Joining Reid is Ebinehita Iyere, founder of Milk Honey Bees, a safe space for young black women and girls to explore their creativity and gain skills, and Theadora Alexander, co-founder of Young Foodies Group, a platform giving up and coming FMCG brands everything required to scale, from consultancy advice and investor matchmaking to a dedicated online supermarket.

Depop chief executive and Beautystack founder nominated for Veuve Clicquot’s Bold Woman Award 2021

Both awards recognise women who emulate Madame Clicquot’s enterprising spirit and courage, as well as her values of innovation, audacity, fearlessness and drive. The judging panel was tasked to find nominees that excelled across all four key pillars, from successfully reinventing traditions and demonstrating entrepreneurial daring, to championing better representation of female leaders and maintaining an ethical approach.

Kristina Blahnik, judging panel member and Manolo Blahnik chief executive, said in a statement: “This shortlist celebrates the fearless, visionary and inspiring female leadership that has been on display over the previous twelve difficult months. These women have steered their organisations to success and pioneered innovation during intensely challenging and disruptive times. The judges have been awed by the calibre of leadership among this year’s nominees and we’re delighted to celebrate this collection of bold women.”

Aspiring female entrepreneurs eager to make a positive societal impact, according to new research from Veuve Clicquot

Alongside the shortlist, new research from Veuve Clicquot indicates that the Covid crisis has galvanised female entrepreneurship. The International Veuve Clicquot Barometer on Women In Entrepreneurship surveyed more than 34,000 adults around the world about their views on entrepreneurism, including 2,000 UK adults.

When asked if they would like to become an entrepreneur, 47 percent of women said yes, an increase from 39 percent in 2019. This comes despite 70 percent of these female business leaders considering entrepreneurship a riskier prospect due to the Covid crisis. However, entrepreneurship is still seen as a more viable path by men with 62 percent of men stating that they aspire to entrepreneurism, compared to 50 percent in 2019.

Motivations to become an entrepreneur have also changed the research has revealed. In 2019, 45 percent of female aspiring entrepreneurs said the main motivation was to be their own boss, this stands at just 11 percent today. Instead, financial security is now the main motivation for 31 percent of women, compared to 19 percent in 2019.

In addition, 64 percent of aspiring female entrepreneurs said they would like to launch an environmentally-sustainable initiative, compared to 49 percent of men. While 57 percent of women stated that they would like to lead a business or organisation that benefits society, compared to 48 percent of men.

Jean-Marc Gallot, president of Veuve Clicquot, added: “Veuve Clicquot launched the Bold Woman Award in 1972 and Bold Future Award in 2014 to recognise innovative and audacious female leadership, so it is fantastic to see that every changemaker on this shortlist truly embodies the pioneering spirit of Madame Clicquot.

“Our Barometer research highlights that despite these turbulent times, women have never been more eager to lead and innovate, and our 2021 Bold nominees are tremendous role models for the next generation of aspiring entrepreneurs.”

The winners of the Bold Woman Award and Bold Future Award will be announced in Q4 2021.

Since 1972, the Bold Woman Award by Veuve Clicquot has recognised some of the most notable businesswomen and female entrepreneurs in the UK, including Jo Whitfield chief executive of Co-op Food, Liv Garfield chief executive at Severn Trent, Poppy Gustafsson, co-chief executive of Darktrace and renowned architect Dame Zaha Hadid.

Image: courtesy of Veuve Clicquot by Sam Copeland; L-R: Bold Woman Award nominees Maria Raga - chief executive of Depop, Dame Donna Kinnair - chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, Prof. Sarah Gilbert - University of Oxford Professor of Vaccinology and co-founder of Vaccitech. Bold Future Award nominees Sharmadean Reid - founder of Beautystack, Ebinehita Iyere - founder of Milk Honey Bees, and Theadora Alexander - co-founder of Young Foodies