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Business Awards: Run The World (Girls)


By Louise Cummings


Are you one of thousands of women out there running your own successful company? The National Business Women’s Awards were created to help support industrious and hard-working female entrepreneurs up and down the country, both endorsing their achievements and celebrating their success.

This year’s awards, which Velvet Magazine is media partnering, were launched at Newmarket Racecourse, where judges, previous winners and sponsors joined to raise a glass to high-flying businesswomen. Speaking at the event on behalf of Gold sponsor, My Mustard, June Cory said: “We are celebrating the determination and the resilience of some of the most incredible people. It is all about excellence and celebrating excellence.”

There are 16 categories to choose from, and candidates, from businesses of all sizes, can enter up to three.

Caroline Strawson, whose company The Divorce & Breakup Coach won Best New Business category, explains how much scooping the accolade meant to her: “The effect that it has on your business is amazing. For me posting on social media that I had won an award ultimately raised my profile and catapulted me to be an expert within my industry, so that I was able to attract more clients and be featured in national press.”

Grab the opportunity to shine the spotlight on your brilliant business, by entering at nbwawards.co.uk

The Grand Awards Celebration, where winners will be crowned, takes place at Wembley Stadium on Friday, December 6. Good luck!

A Purrfect Winner

Abi Purser was crowned Business Owner of the Year in 2018. She tells us about her unique company, Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel, which was a world-first when it launched in 2010

What made you want to launch Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel?

I had a rescue cat called Norman and I took him to a cattery when we were going on holiday, and although it was clean, it was clinical and not very friendly. It lacked everything that I wanted as a pet owner, so the emotional side was really missing for me. It gave me the idea of a luxury cat hotel, and so after I had a baby, and was looking to work from home, I decided to create Longcroft. I used to work for the British Equestrian Olympic Team on the saddle-fitting side, looking after our team’s horses, so that’s where my animal welfare knowledge comes from. I just applied it to smaller four-legged people!

Tell us what your feline residents enjoy on a Longcroft stay. . .

We have six large suites for our pussycats, situated in the back garden of my home in Welwyn Garden City. It’s very home-from-home, with thermostatically-controlled bedroom areas with wrought-iron beds, which is our nod to luxury! Our guests can sit in bed and look out of their window at the garden, and it’s very private so they can’t necessarily see other guests. We have background music playing in the day, and physically put the cats to bed at night, tucking them up in their beds.

We hear there’s fine dining on offer?

Our menu was born from Norman stealing bits of chicken off my plate in the evening! Alongside our healthy grain-free options, as a little bit of a treat we have our A la Cat menu so a few king prawns or the Longcroft Lean, which is poached chicken.

How many Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotels are there now?

We’ve actually got 20 open at the moment and we only franchised in 2014, so in four years we’ve grown incredibly. It was only ever meant to be me at home with my boys looking after the pussy cats but the first Christmas I opened we had 300 people wanting to book in their cats. It was absolutely bonkers; because we were a world first, the media swarmed on us. Our first franchise hotel opened in 2014 in St Albans and it’s grown organically from there, so we now have Longcroft hotels from Glamorgan down to Chicester. Each one is housed in the homeowner’s back garden and has six suites, like ours – and we’re very picky to ensure we bring the right, like-minded people on board. There’s another seven Longcroft’s in the pipeline and we’ve notched up over 2,500 five star reviews from happy customers on our website!

Why are the National Business Women’s Awards so important?

I think it’s about visibility and it adds weight to a business. So, if you’ve got two businesses side by side offering similar services (not that there’s anything like ours out there), you’re going to go with the award-winning one. It’s lovely for our team as well – it builds team morale, and we have a great time at the events.

How did it feel to win last year?

It was absolutely amazing, just a real sense of achievement. You always look at the competition and think you’re never going to win, so it was lovely. You forget to pat yourself on the back sometimes so it’s nice to recognise you’ve done a good job!

Find out more at longcroftcathotel.co.uk



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