EVERYWOMAN AWARDS 2022 FINALISTS ANNOUNCED UK’s leading awards programme for women in business unveils shortlist

October 2022

Kate Shaw of Innovative Trials, from Letchworth announced as a finalist in The Hera Award category – sponsored by Saunderson House, awarded to the most inspirational woman running a business trading for 10 years or more

Nineteen extraordinary women from across the country have been unveiled as the 2022 finalists in the UK’s leading programme for female entrepreneurs. Now in their 20th year, the everywoman Awards in association with BGF, celebrate female entrepreneurs from all walks of life, providing a platform for them to share their achievements, challenges, and stories of success. From the founders of multi-million-pound empires to those spearheading social enterprises for the greater good, this year’s finalists are the role models whose success will inspire future generations of female entrepreneurs. Selected from nearly a thousand entries, the finalists’ stories tell of success in the face of adversity, innovative ways to solve business challenges, and an appetite for business growth.

The 2022 finalists span diverse industries – from pharmaceutical and medical businesses to spa chains and hair products, through to IT software and package design, from career coaching and construction machinery through to biodegradable wet wipes, early learning bibs, and pregnancy activewear. The 2022 finalists were chosen by a judging panel comprising some of the UK’s top business figures including Daina Spedding (BGF), Chrissie Rucker OBE (The White Company), Panni Morshedi (Beauty Pie), Rosaleen Blair CBE (Alexander Mann Solutions), Sam Smith (previously FinnCap), Annoushka Ducas MBE (Annoushka Jewellery), Helen Pattinson (Montezuma’s Chocolate), Roni Savage (Jomas Associates) and Melissa Odabash MBE. 

Female entrepreneurs face many complex challenges in setting up, growing, and sustaining their business. From gender stereotypes to a reduced access to finance, a range of barriers can prevent women’s businesses from thriving. 

Women, on average, have 20% lower confidence than men in their capabilities to start a business and  those  who do  pursue businesses will find that finance remains in short supply. Research suggests  that  women  in  the  UK  launch  with,  on  average,  53%  less capital  than  their  male counterparts and male entrepreneurs are 86% more likely to be funded by venture capital. However, consistent with findings from past years, women are overall about 10% less likely to report a business closure than men. These financial and confidence gaps mean that female entrepreneurs are an untapped pool of talent and potential that if addressed, could result in women starting and scaling  new businesses  at  the  same  rate  as  men  in  the  UK,  which in  turn  could contribute £250 billion to the British economy. At a time when growth and innovation are of such importance to the UK’s future, it is economically short-sighted to not unlock this potential.

This is why the everywoman Awards continue to play such an important part in British enterprise, with 76% of former Award winners agreeing that their everywoman Award has positively impacted their business and 63% saying it improved their personal and professional confidence. The Awards are a platform and spotlight for incredible women in business to build their confidence and inspire the next generation of female entrepreneurs, whilst facilitating powerful introductions to business mentors, commercial relationships, and investors.

Kate Shaw founded Innovative Trials in 2010, which specialises in delivering effective global patient recruitment and engagement strategies for clients’ clinical trials by adopting a patient- and site-centric approach. The company works with some of the biggest global pharmaceutical companies, clinical research organisations (CROs), and biotech companies to deliver effective patient recruitment and retention strategies for clinical trials.

This woman-led UK business is now a leading specialist player internationally in clinical trial patient recruitment and net profit is set to exceed £2.5m next year – the highest in its trading history. In July, the company opened its first international office, allowing Innovative Trials to expand operations in the USA, one of the world’s largest pharma markets. Innovative Trials operates in more than 70 countries around the world and has contributed to over 300 clinical trials across more than 25 therapy areas and 90 conditions, run in 65 different languages.

Kate says: “Across the industry, 86% of clinical trials historically fail to meet their patient recruitment targets because the sector has not fully grasped that trials are fundamentally about people and their emotional decision-making. Patients do not ‘walk through the door’ to take part in trials, so at Innovative Trials we have created a human-focused approach at the core of all our services. Part of that includes developing a full suite of communications and messaging for each clinical trial to ensure patients are fully informed about the implications and expectations of the studies they are enrolling into. This is hugely important because the implications of a failed clinical trial are significant. Crucially, this affects the trial patients themselves, and future patients with the same conditions. Additionally, there is a huge knock-on effect for pharma companies, their funding cycles, drug patent lengths, and ultimately ongoing investment levels in medical research.”

Kate founded Innovative Trials after leaving pharma giant Roche, where she was the only Patient Recruitment Specialist for a Top 10 pharma company internationally. Her passion has always been education and support, and before entering the industry, she worked overseas for the European Commission and British Council, contributing to development aid projects and scientific education programmes. Kate has balanced building a brilliant business with being a hands-on mum to two boys, who were aged just six and four when the business began trading back in 2010. Kate has also helped create an informal business network for other healthcare-sector companies in the region – all of whom are owned and managed by women – to share advice, insight and support, and build relationships.

The award winners will be announced at a live ceremony on 8th December 2022 when the greatest female talent will once again unite to celebrate the achievements of these extraordinary women and their businesses. 

Speaking about the finalists, Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman comments: “For the past 20 years, these awards have provided a platform to share the stories of hundreds of entrepreneurs; encouraging, emboldening, and empowering other women to follow suit. We hope their experiences will go on to inspire others and provide the motivation that will strengthen the backbone of the UK’s economy.”

Kirsten Pettigrew, Chartered Financial Planner at Saunderson House added: “After the angst that has been experienced across the country over recent years, it feels vitally important that we celebrate the achievements of these inspirational women and their businesses. This award highlights women and business that has traded for 10+ years, which is an achievement in itself but magnified by the torment businesses have experienced in recent times.  Saunderson House are proud to support the HERA award for the fourth year in a row in order to continue recognising businesswomen and their successes, and the inspiration they provide for other female entrepreneurs and businesswomen.”


For further information about the finalists or to book a table at the awards ceremony, visit: www.everywoman.com/ewawards 

Notes to editors:

About everywoman – Advancing women in business – every woman, everywhere.

everywoman is a global platform for women in business that drives positive change by empowering women

to achieve their professional potential. Established in 1999, everywoman has supported thousands of women worldwide in establishing businesses and progressing their careers. Working with leading corporations and organisations, everywoman improves productivity and performance through diversity insights to unlock female potential resulting in an economic and societal gain. Through its cross-industry awards and forums everywoman has created thousands of female role models and inspired generations of future leaders. For more information visit www.everywoman.com @everywomanuk #ewAwards 

About BGF

BGF was set up in 2011 and has invested £3bn in more than 500 companies, making it the most active investor in the UK. BGF is a minority, non-controlling equity partner with a patient outlook on investments based on shared long-term goals with the management teams it backs. BGF invests in growing businesses in the UK and Ireland through its network of 16 offices. BGF models have now been set up in Canada and Australia, with other countries evaluating the opportunity to replicate this.


BGF has been named the most active institutional investor in women-led businesses for the last three years by the ScaleUp Institute. Since 2011, BGF has invested £364 million in women-led businesses and provided £60 million of follow-on funding.