By Heloise Wood
Brixton-based entrepreneur Ellie Laycock has scooped the platinum prize in a quest to celebrate the borough’s best businesswomen.
The creative mind behind Hunted and Stuffed was chosen ahead of some 60 other applicants after she pitched the idea to judges in a Dragons’ Den style contest at the National Theatre last month.
Her stylish cushions, made from “upcycled” tea towels and silk scarves, won the platinum award in the Brand Amplifier Awards, a scheme set up to support female entrepreneurs.
She told the Brixton Blog she found the experience empowering and “revolutionary”.
“I was thrilled to get through to the finals as I knew getting mentoring from professional, successful business women would be invaluable,” she said. “The informal and friendly setting at the JP Creative offices was perfect for the mentoring sessions where we were not only mentored but got to know each other as a group of female entrepreneurs and now we have formed out own peer network to hep each other along the way.”
Kate Hathway won the gold award for her gardening project Tom and Amelia, while silver was shared between Lesley Brewster for the online events magazine Hotminute and Victoria Holt for lingerie company Fred and Ginger, stocked by Selfridges and Coco de Mer.
Brand Amplifier was established in 2009 by Jeanette Pritchard whose business JPCreative is found in the Piano House, Brixton. Following winning a Lambeth business award, Pritchard wanted to encourage more female business owners in the area.
She said: “The idea of Brand Amplifier is to allow enterprising young females to have access to successfully established female business women, and pick up tips on how to best visualise, promote and enhance their business.”
Last week a report published on the eve of International Women’s Day revealed some of the challenges faced by women business owners.
The research showed that over half of female entrepreneurs are taking responsibility for 75 per cent of childcare duties whilst a third of male entrepreneurs take less than 25 per cent of the responsibility.
However the report also revealed that the number of female entrepreneurs rose by 12% in 2011.