Helga Chapman announced a finalist in 2018 NatWest everywoman Awards

Helga Chapman of Chapman IP is one of just 22 women from across the UK announced as a finalist in the 2018 NatWest everywoman Awards, the UK’s leading awards programme for women in business.

Helga’s nomination is for the HERA award, sponsored by EDF Energy, which is presented to the most inspirational woman running a business trading for 10 years or more.

Helga graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. When she became pregnant in 1998, maternity leave at her job was very limited. With her husband away in the army and no support from her family, it became impossible to work strict full-time hours, which inspired her to start her own business. She was also determined to completely change the landscape and create a successful firm that provided the help women needed to thrive in the workplace. This was the start of Chapman IP – a team of patent and trademark attorneys specialising in protecting innovations on behalf of large multinational companies and high-tech start-ups. Helga grew the business organically from a start-up in 2002 to 22 employees and impressive revenue of over £4.1 million. Recognising the various routes to success, Helga now wants to give young non-graduates the chance to achieve the same career goals as their graduate counterparts. She supports a local charity through corporate partnerships and has made it her mission to donate at least £25,000 each year to help charitable causes.

For 16 years, the NatWest everywoman Awards have celebrated female entrepreneurs from all walks of life and created a platform for them to share their achievements. This year is no exception. From the founders of international multi-million-pound empires to those spearheading social enterprises for the greater good, the 2018 finalists are the role models whose success will inspire the next generation of female entrepreneurs. 

Research shows that whilst funding for entrepreneurs in the UK as a whole doubled in 2017, the proportion invested in female-founded businesses fell from 14.9% to 8.5%. * Women reported having to constantly deal with unconscious biases from investors and defy stereotypes such as prioritising raising a family over their career goals. ** The UK could unlock a £10bn boost to the economy if it supported potential female entrepreneurs and tackled these challenges preventing them from starting a business. *** This is why the work that the NatWest everywoman Awards programme does to highlight successful female-owned businesses, is so important.

This year’s finalists were chosen by a judging panel comprising some of the UK’s top businesswomen, including Chrissie Rucker OBE (The White Company), Rosaleen Blair CBE (Alexander Mann Solutions), Poonam Gupta OBE (PG Paper Company) and Fashion Designer Melissa Odabash. 

Speaking about the finalists, Maxine Benson MBE, Co-Founder at everywoman comments: “Despite the fact that the UK is one of the best places to grow a business, only one third are owned by women****, and everywoman is committed to recognising and addressing the reasons behind this. By unlocking the talent within aspiring female entrepreneurs, we are moving closer to the £10billion contribution they could make to the UK economy**. This year’s finalists are a demonstration of the innovation that women already bring to entrepreneurship. Their inspirational stories will encourage others to follow in their footsteps” 

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 450 externally accredited Women in Business specialists who understand our customers’ ambitions and provide business advice, mentoring and networking opportunities.” 

Beatrice Bigois, Managing Director of EDF Energy’s Customers business, adds: “We are delighted to once again sponsor the Hera Award for the most inspirational woman running a business trading for 10 years or more, and wish to congratulate all the finalists. We know it takes hard work and dedication to grow a sustainable business. With new innovations and disruptive technologies, the only thing that is certain is change, so we are proud to offer our support and recognise the success of these inspirational women able to lead and adapt for the best of their companies.” 

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