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Awards: Meet county's Business Person of the Year

With the 2021 National Business Women’s Awards open for entries, Velvet meets inspirational Cambridge entrepreneur Faye Holland - founder of communications company cofinitive and winner of SME Cambridgeshire Business Person of the Year - to talk ambition and achievement

Faye Holland of cofinitive (48876716)
Faye Holland of cofinitive (48876716)

Tell us about your career journey?

I’ve always been in the world of communications, starting in hi-tech businesses. From the outset it was obvious that it was really important to help to translate the ‘tech-speak’ into something that means something to business and its end-users, so that’s where I started my career and where it continues to date. I had the pleasure of working with big and small brands as an employee, but became more interested in the companies that I was working with than working for, so decided to create my own comms company and the rest is history.

cofinitive offers a wide range of services and works with a wide range of clients. We're guessing no two days are the same?

Never! And that’s what makes it so interesting. If we only worked with one industry day in and day out it would not be cofinitive. We are motivated by how what you do in one industry can be utterly transformative in another industry - and that’s the impact we want to have, and indeed why our clients like us. So one day we might be filming for a new product with BBC Click, another building the brand for a sustainability project, and the next writing a strategy for a game-changing emerging tech. It certainly keeps the grey matter working.

Your Business Person of the Year title is one of many awards you've won since founding cofinitive. What's the secret to that success?

We believe in what we do, we work with clients who are game-changing, and we are a passionate team. We are also team players so paying it forward and making connections with and between our network of contacts is part of our ethos. I think in today's society this really resonates with people and that’s what we are recognised for.

Why do you think awards such as the NBWAs, which recognise the achievements of women in business specifically, are important today?

Awards are incredible for third-party recognition for businesses of all sizes. However they are much more than that. There are so many amazing women of all ages and abilities out there, from all walks of life, and we need to encourage these individuals to raise their heads above the parapet. These awards provide an opportunity to do that, and if more women being seen as role models encourages just one more person to take a next step, then maybe one day we won’t need women-only awards.

What are your top three tips to women who want to start their own business?

You have to have passion for what you do. You will work long hard hours being HR, finance, business development, cleaner and all, as well as doing the business you started the venture to do - so if you don’t love what you’re doing, or are in it just for short-term gain, then you are unlikely to succeed.

Secondly, say yes. Our brains may well tell us that we’re already too busy, that we’re not sure how to do something, or some other reason to turn down an opportunity. But if it’s something you know you can do, say yes and then magically, as with all aspects of our life, you will manage to make it happen. Having said that, trust your instinct, it won’t let you down. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

And my last piece of advice: do something with a higher purpose. Whether that’s using some of your time to pay it forward, or making connections that have no immediate benefit to you, I am a firm believer that you get back what you put in, so let’s make an impact on the broader society, not just the areas that we excel in.

National Business Women's Awards Media Partner Logo (48876805)
National Business Women's Awards Media Partner Logo (48876805)

With 21 categories, ranging from Micro Business Woman of the Year and Best New Business right through to Corporate Leader and Lifetime Achievement, candidates have until Thursday, August 5 2021 to enter the awards. Each candidate can enter up to three categories, at a cost of £65 + VAT per entry. The Lifetime Achievement and Business Hero categories are free to enter. The awards ceremony will take place at Hilton Wembley on Friday, November 19 2021. For more information go to nbwawards.co.uk or call (01908) 542720.

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