I am still feeling a bit dazed. Last week I went to the Mumpreneur UK 2011 conference… and came back with the top award: Inspirational Business Mum of the Year award.
The conference is an opportunity for parent entrepreneurs to meet up, learn from one another and from the seminars (on subjects like using Google Analytics more effectively), and to celebrate the achievements of parent entrepreneurs in the awards ceremony at the end of the afternoon.
Nosy Crow, as we’ve already mentioned on the blog, was shortlisted in the Best Start Up category, and there were 10 other categories in addition to the final award, the Inspirational Business Mum of the Year award, which has no shortlist.
When we didn’t win the Best Start Up award (it went to Gander Kids), I was, I have to say, a little bit disappointed. The award, judged by a panel including former Dragon Duncan Bannatyne of The Bannatyne Group, was for a company that had made the biggest impact in the shortest period of time. I really hoped that we were in with a chance, given our UK and international sales performance since our launch in January, the selection of many of our books in key UK book retailers’ promotions, and the reception that our apps have had.
But I’m realistic: I knew that there were 720 entries for these awards, and, besides, I’d been to enough award ceremonies in my years of publishing to know that you win some, and you lose some, so I applauded Maxine Lewis of Gander Kids and settled down to the rest of the awards.
Best Online Business was won by The Letteroom
Best Green Business was won by Evolve Beauty
Best Supporting Business was won by Lawyers 4 Mumpreneurs
Best Saleswoman was won by Clare Moran of My Secret Kitchen
Best Interactive business was won by The Creation Station
Best International business was won by Cuski
Best Dadpreneur was won by Daddy Natal
The Mum on a Mission prize, a new prize for women who’d set up charities and social enterprises, was won by Sarah Settelen of The Promise
The gold Best Product award was won by Twinkle Tog from Dream Genii
I thought that the Inspirational Business Mum of the year would have won one of the category prizes already.
But as the spokeswoman from the sponsor, Intuit (whose QuickBooks system we, by happy chance, already use), started to describe the winner, the story seemed awfully familiar to me… because it was my story, and Nosy Crow’s story.
I stumbled up to the stage to accept the prize and gabbled something: I’ve never been less prepared to speak. But if I had had my wits about me, this is pretty much what I’d have said:
This is the most fantastic – and unexpected – validation of the hard work of the clever and professional staff of Nosy Crow and of our creative and professional authors and illustrators. I am proud of their work every day.
I am so grateful to our customers, from independent bookshops just a few minutes down the road to major supermarkets and online retailers in the UK. I am grateful, too, to our overseas customers, particularly to Allen & Unwin (in Australia and New Zealand), Carlsen in Germany, Gallimard in France, Candlewick Press in Boston and Apple throughout the world, whose support of the books and apps we are publishing has made our first few months of publishing such a success.
And, of course, I am grateful to Mumpreneur UK, Yell, DHL and Intuit for making the awards happen, and to my kids and my husband for their daily support and understanding.
Anyone setting up a business, a social enterprise or a charity, particularly in the current economic climate, is courageous. To do so while having young – or youngish, in my case! – children takes even more bravery. I think all the parents shortlisted for the awards are inspirational, but I am very proud and happy that we were singled out.
To win this award, almost 2 years to the day since leaving corporate publishing, is one more indication that, in starting Nosy Crow, I made a great decision.
But I am still kind of stunned.