THE semi-finalists have been announced in Dorset’s awards for working women.

The Dorset Venus Awards attracted a record 1,301 nominations and 402 applications.

Sponsor Breeze Volkswagen hosted the announcement of the 80 semi-finalists at its Poole showroom.

The awards include 15 categories celebrating working women, plus the Employee of the Year category which is open to both sexes.

Tara Howard, who founded the awards as the Langtry Manor Women in Business Awards in 2009, said: “We have been absolutely blown away with the number of nominations and entries.

“The calibre of entries was particularly high and I know that it was no easy decision to create the semi-finalist shortlist for each category.

“However, the chosen semi-finalists all had the edge to stand out against stiff competition.”

There are no semi-finalists in the Daily Echo and Dorset Echo Business Mother of the Year or Customer Service Award, which are decided by public vote.

The semi-finalists are as follows.

Dutton Gregory Small Business Award: Sarah Carlile, Coconut Creatives; Michelle Cheeseman, Munchkins Play Café; Dee Clayton, Simply Amazing Training Ltd; Sam Firkin, Dorchester Physio; Melanie Thomsett, Sensory Smart.

Breeze Volkswagen Influential Woman Award: Chris Buckingham, Buckingham Healthcare; Gill Donnell, Successful Women; Margaret Farman, NHS; Georgina McBurney, Wiltshire Social Services ; Lynn Steblecki.

Tigerlilly Nails New Business Award: Lisa Niemer, Clinic Visjeune; Jennifer Poyner, Jennifer Poytner Flowers; Oxana Ruckhaber, Minster Designs Bridal Boutique; Susan Walker, The Little Sewing Company; Alison Williams, Ministry of Dog Ltd.

Desixn Digital Media and Online Business Award: Debra Adams, Arena4Finance; Lindsay Anderson, Shop Dorset; Charlotte Hughes, Sophia’s Choice; Emilia Hyland, Bright Horizon Accountancy; Tara Mussel, Ratio

Bournemouth University Inspirational Woman Award: Lynn Butterworth, Correli; Jaya Da Costa, Dorset Blind Association; Wendy Imashev, Seamless Social Support Services; Rosanna Mead, Musica; Emma Willis, Shine Cancer Support.

Stewart Gardens Centre Lifetime Achievement Award: Barbara Cox, Nutrichef/BC Nutrition Ltd; Linda Eve, Evenlines; Sally Harvey, AOK Rucksack Appeal; Joanne Keeling, Izzy and Ollie Ltd; Mandy Payne, Spotcheckers.

Play Golf Networker of the Year: Zelda De Hollander, Studio Shotz Photography; Barbara Fowler, My Baby Log; Sue Franklin, Recruiting Together Ltd; Jan Peters, Katalytik; Caroline Swaine, Inxpress

Mouchel Entrepreneur of the Year: Cheryl Dennet, Local Eye Magazines; Tara Mussell, Ratio; Hollie Power,; Simone Thomas, Simone Thomas & Crowning Glory; Cathy Warne, Catwards Draughting Limited.

Exterion Media Marketing and PR Award: Sunny Bird-Little Bird PR; Sharon Canning, Move On Rentals; Jenny Brandon, Scape Interiors; Sarah Uzzell, Whitehall Hospitality Ltd; Susanna Woods, Autism Wessex.

SMART Business of the Year Award: Helen Challis, Quay Holidays; Julie Cook, SOS Recruitment; Lisa Delahunty, Waste Management Facilities Ltd; Helen Molloy, Forum Jewellers Ltd; Rosie Wallace, Marsham Court Hotel Ltd.