UK’s leading awards programme for women in business unveils shortlist

Monika Ludwiczak of Everlasting Brows, of London, announced as national award finalist

Nineteen extraordinary women from across the country have today been unveiled as the 2021 finalists in the UK’s leading programme for female entrepreneurs, the NatWest everywoman Awards. Selected from nearly 1,000 entries, the finalists’ stories tell of success in the face of adversity and demonstrate that even they are not immune to the challenges of the past 18 months.


Now in their 19th 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 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.


The 2021 finalists span diverse industries - from home accessories and cooking supplies through to law and architecture, from IT and energy to health supplements, and from milk to gin. The 2021 finalists were chosen by a judging panel comprising some of the UK’s top business figures including Chrissie Rucker OBE (The White Company), Helen Pattinson (Montezuma), Rosaleen Blair CBE (Alexander Mann Solutions), Roni Savage (Jomas Associates), Annoushka Ducas MBE (Links of London/Annoushka), Melissa Odabash, Kelly Hoppen CBE and Sam Smith (FinnCap).


Female entrepreneurs face many complex challenges in setting up, growing and sustaining their businesses. From gender stereotypes to a lack of access to finance, a range of barriers can prevent women’s businesses from thriving. Earlier this year the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women reported that 1 in 10 women cited the pandemic to be the greatest challenge they had ever faced and 4 in 5 reported a negative impact on their business. Many of this year’s finalists were forced to pivot their businesses as the pandemic hit and their journeys, with successes and failures, serve as a handbook to future generations of how to survive and thrive against the odds.


A self-confessed rebel, Polish born Monika studied clinical psychology to please her parents, but was drawn to the beauty industry after graduation. She quickly developed her own product line and found a passion for teaching, but her breakthrough came with the creation of her formula to enhance the eye area, alleviating the need for surgery. She took her technique international to North America and Asia and it was in Hong Kong that she saw the potential of new techniques and products in microblading (permanent make up).


Alarmed by the unethical and unsafe practises that she came across, Monika created a superior product, launching initially in the US. With her business flying, Monika was hit hard by Covid-19 when salons shut down. With no end in sight she pivoted the business to create online, subscription based workshops, which created huge trust between her and her customers. Future plans include expansion within Europe and Monika has acquired a Polish base enabling her to bypass the issues surrounding Brexit.


The award winners will be announced at a ceremony on 7 December 2021 when the cream of business will once again unite to celebrate the achievements of these extraordinary women.


Speaking about the finalists, Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman comments: “For nearly two decades these awards have provided a platform to share the stories of hundreds of entrepreneurs; encouraging, emboldening and empowering other women to follow suit. Against a backdrop of Covid, these women have shown how innovation and enterprise have helped their businesses to thrive under extraordinary trading conditions. We hope their experiences will go onto inspire others and provide the motivation and inspiration that will be the backbone of the UK’s economic recovery.”