Natwest Everywoman Awards 2020 Finalists Announced -Helen Chapman of Dotty Fish named


UK’s leading awards programme for women in business unveils short list of entrepreneurs

Helen Chapman of Dotty Fish, from Fleet, announced as national award finalist

London, 26 October 2020: 22 awe-inspiring women from across the UK have today been revealed as 2020 finalists in the NatWest everywoman Awards. They include environmental and sustainability disrupters, technology innovators and visionaries who risked everything to build their businesses from scratch. All are united in one common purpose - to leave the world a better place than they found it.

Now in their 18th year, the NatWest everywoman Awards celebrate female entrepreneurs from all walks of life, providing a platform for them to share their achievements. From the founders of international 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. Spanning diverse industries - fashion, jewellery, design, hospitality, skincare, food, technology and social care - the 2020 finalists were chosen by a judging panel comprising some of the UK’s top business figures including Chrissie Rucker (The White Company), Helen Pattinson (Montezuma’s), Sarah Wood (Unruly), Roni Savage (Jomas Associates), Annoushka Ducas MBE (Links of London/Annoushka), Rosaleen Blair CBE (Alexander Mann Solutions), fashion designer, Melissa Odabash, Abi Wright (Spa Breaks), and Sam Smith (FinnCap).

The 2019 Alison Rose Review identified “relatable and accessible mentors and networks” as the biggest opportunities to help female entrepreneurs. The NatWest everywoman Awards provide exactly this; a community of the UK’s leading female business owners that connects them with peers, advisors and investors.

Women account for 17% of business owners and there are approximately 1.5m women self employed, representing an increase of around 300,000 since before the 2008 financial crash . The growth in the number of women in the UK becoming self-employed is unprecedented. Historically, women have made up just over a quarter of the self-employed, but since the 2008 downturn 58% of the newly self-employed have been female. Self-employment has started to decline for men, but not for women . Despite this, only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female, a gender gap equivalent of 1.1m missing businesses and a potential value add of £250bn to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men .

Helen Chapman of Dotty Fish, from Fleet, is a finalist in The Aphrodite Award, sponsored by Daily Mail, and awarded to a woman who founded her business whilst raising a child/children aged 12 or under.

As a mother of two young children Helen was shocked by the cost of leather baby shoes and believed there was potential to create a quality product at an affordable price. With no design experience, Helen drew some basic sketches and ordered 500 pairs of baby shoes. She had early success on eBay but in 2009 it was cut short by the financial crisis. With just £1000 left in her bank account and against all advice Helen decided to create a recession friendly shoe. This proved highly successful until her supplier defaulted on all her orders and she lost everything. Nonetheless, Helen faced the challenge head on and convinced her husband to secure a loan on the house. Converting the garage and recruiting her first member of staff, she was determined not to make the same mistake again. Sourcing new suppliers in China she flew out to visit starting relationships that still exist today. Dotty Fish continued to grow, moving into offices and recruiting staff. Always striving for the best Helen worked with the London Podiatry Centre to provide shoes that both looked good and encouraged healthy foot development. Dotty Fish has thrived since and now exports around 70% of their shoes globally. When Covid-19 hit she put her staff first insisting they stay home whilst she and her husband packed and despatched all the orders. She is now focused on sustainability and reducing plastic in the supply chain.

The award winners will be announced at an online ceremony on 3 December 2020. Additional awards on the night will include the Spirit of everywoman Award presented to a woman who has helped change the landscape for businesswomen in the UK; the everywoman Ambassador Award celebrating the success of a high-profile entrepreneur; and the Fortuna Award recognising an individual who is investing in women-run enterprises.

Speaking about the finalists, Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman comments: “For 18 years the NatWest everywoman Awards have provided a platform to share the journeys of hundreds of entrepreneurs and we continue to encourage, embolden and empower women to follow suit. This year’s finalists have shown remarkable resilience in the face of recent extraordinary trading conditions. We believe that, by amplifying their stories, they will inspire other women to have the courage and confidence to embrace self employment. Following the 2008 financial crash we saw a surge in female self employment and if Covid-19 has any positives, it will be the catalyst for greater innovation and enterprise.”

Yvonne Greeves, Director of Women in Business, at NatWest Group, says: “We are delighted to once again be supporting these prestigious awards for some of the UK’s most talented and inspirational female entrepreneurs. At NatWest we are proud of our long standing partnership with everywoman and these awards help showcase role models that have the potential to inspire those around them and female talent from every sector across the length and breadth of the UK. Congratulations to all the shortlisted finalists and we look forward to the Awards on the 3rd December.”

Celia Duncan, Women’s Editor at The Daily Mail added: “The Daily Mail is particularly proud to sponsor the NatWest Everywoman Aphrodite Award for Mumpreneurs In what has been an extraordinarily tough year for business. The amazing finalists took on the twin challenge of starting a business and raising a family and are now working doubly hard to manage the challenges of a pandemic . Their success is utterly inspirational.’

For further information or to book a table at the virtual awards ceremony, visit


About Dotty Fish

Dotty Fish is committed to designing quality soft leather baby shoes that children love, and parents can afford. Established 15 years ago from our MD’s living room floor Dotty Fish has grown to a successful international online retail business with an annual turnover of over £1million. We have offices in Farnborough employing 11 staff and ship our lovely leather baby shoes all over the world. All Dotty Fish baby and toddler shoes are designed in England and made with the growing little feet they protect in mind. We use baby safe leather that is sample tested using REACH Annex XVII guidelines and are also members of Eurofins / BLC, a leading leather testing centre in England. Dotty Fish teamed up with The London Podiatry Centre using their cutting-edge gait analysis equipment and specialised knowledge of paediatric podiatry. The overwhelmingly positive results of this testing reinforced our belief in the benefits of wearing a less structured shoe in the early years. We used this research to further develop our offering and now have a ‘next-stage’ shoe with a rubber sole for toddlers who are venturing outside. For more information visit

About everywoman

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 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. @everywomanuk #ewawards

About NatWest

At NatWest we know that starting and running a business can be both exciting and challenging. We understand that female entrepreneurs and businesses need the right combination of support, advice and funding to succeed, which is why we provide a wide range of services for businesses of all shapes and sizes, across every sector. NatWest has a network of over 400 externally accredited Women in Business specialists across the UK offering specialist support, practical guidance and networking opportunities to female entrepreneurs. We are proud to work closely with everywoman who promote and support women’s enterprise. For more information, visit

1. Women in Enterprise: A Different Perspective, RBS Group 2013

2. Women’s Budget Group, 2016

3. The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship 2019

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