Friday, 20 February 2009

Beautiful Business Awards: Sweden's Business Woman of the Year.

Headed out last night to Parken on Söder as the temperature was dropping and lone snow flakes were floating to their final resting place. It was lovely to walk in and be handed a glass of sparkling rosé, be stopped by a fellow Våga Språnget member and stand and chat while listening to the most amazing harp player I have ever seen or heard. I never knew a harp could be played like that.

We were there for the Beautiful Business Awards , being held for the second year in a row and hosted by and Örlings PriceWaterhouseCoopers, supported by Nutek who this year added a category to the competition.

The evening's moderators were comedian couple Anna Mannheimer and Peter Apelgren who welcomed the audience and continued to entertain with their antics throughout the evening.

In their own words Beautiful Business Award 2009 is a national competition aimed to bring focus to exciting self-employed business women so as to inspire Sweden to more sustainable business practices. The Beautiful Business concept is about inspiring business that is characterized by sustainability, innovation and ambition. It is a mindset, that is equally admirable whether it be governing business thinking or general human behaviour. It is business with a conscience.

The competition awards Business Women of the Year, Service Developer of the Year and Challenger of the Year and is open to all women who have started or are running a business full-time. The first step is the nomination with the second being an application filled in by the nominees. It follows the BBA structure and requires the nominees to motivate why they are worthy of the award according to the following categories:

Sustainability: The company must be run with a long-term concept in terms of profitability, environment and ethics.
Innovation: The business shall be characterized by innovation and creativity in some way whether it be product/service, the approach, the industry, distribution channels or market.
The individual shall have a strong involvement, great courage and strive from growth.

This year an amazing 1731 women were nominated with 432 of those submitting competition applications. Of those 62% have been running longer than 3 years and 60% are limited companies with 34% or the women born in the 60s and 24% in the 70s. All regions of Sweden were represented with 34% coming from Stockholm and 14% from Västra Götaland.

The evening progressed and the 12 finalists and their businesses, selected by a jury, were presented and interviewed. Following on, last years winners Lingon & Blåbär presented their company and talked about what the award meant to them. We then mingled, snacked and drank more wine before the awards were presented.

Business Women of the Year 2009 went to Nina Ottosson of Zoo Active Products AB who designs, manufactures and sells her dog toys to 25 countries around the globe. Click on this link to see her products and watch an interview (Swedish) with her here. It was no surprise to see Service Developer of the Year awarded to Kristina Theander of Middagsfrid. Kristina and her staff deliver cleverly packaged and planned groceries and matching recipes to health conscious households in Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö. She takes away the what are we going to eat tonight stress in busy households.

Business Challenger of the Year was awarded to three women: Petra Wadström of Solvatten, Jeanette Gorosch of Nannynu! and Britt-Marie Gyllensvaan of This award brings recognition to relatively newly started companies deemed to have great potential.

Some of these women I have read about in business magazines, all of them were incredibly inspiring. They talked about the hard work and the determination that it took to get them where they are. It was wonderful to hear their stories and how thrilled they were to be nominated. Here is the whole list of finalists:
Nina Ottosson - Zoo Active Products
Jessica Löfström - ExpanderaMera
Mia Karlsson-Jonsson - Rex Bar & Grill

Bitte Ljungström - Vidilab
Petra Hammarstedt - Servicestaden
Katinka Bille Lindahl - LifeStone
Karin Bryskhe och Anna Stenstam - Colloidal Resource
Kristina Theander - Middagsfrid
Karin Almqvist - VICTRIX
Veronica Boxberg Karlsson - Better Business World Wide

Marianne Möllstam - Synergon
Veronica Hedenmark - VH Assistans
This fantastic award is the brainchild of Sofia Bergenstjerna and Frida Haavisto of Beautiful Business - themselves both very inspiring women. Fantastic that they have taken this opportunity to support both women and entrepreneurs.

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