THE Dorset Venus Awards celebrated the county’s working women before more than 400 people.

The event, at the Bournemouth International Centre, saw cosmetics company Lush recognised with a special award which saw them named as Outstanding Business of the Year.

The Poole-based business was among 16 award-winners at the event on Thursday, October 20 which attracted more than 400 guests.

Dubbed the “Working Women’s Oscars” by Channel 4 and now in its seventh year in Dorset, the Venus Awards goes from strength-to-strength in discovering and recognising the talents of enterprising women in our midst.

Competition was fierce this year with 785 nominations and applications across the 15 award categories.

Venus founder Tara Howard and Paul Kinvig, business coach with Aspirin Business Solutions compered the event - which was held in association with Mercedes-Benz of Poole

This year’s charity sponsor was BOO, which aims to help African children who are disadvantaged through economic poverty.

Dorset Winners will now proceed along with other regional Venus Awards winners to the National Winners Ceremony to be held in 2017.

Poole based IT consultancy Enhanced sponsored the Company of the Year Award, which was one this year by Hoburne Holidays in Dorset.

Gail Pilling, PR and brand manager for Enhanced, said: “What a great evening. Tara and her team certainly know how to ‘put on a do’.

"It was such an inspiration and so good to see so many deserving women receive the acknowledgement and recognition they deserve. All were winners.

“It is great to be a sponsor for the Venus Awards – who doesn’t want to be part of a brand that just goes from strength to strength and shows such dedication and commitment to the future of working women not only in Dorset but beyond. Well done to all those involved.”

Tara Mussell, Co-founder and Managing Directress of Bournemouth software company Ratio, and sponsor of the Digital Media and Online Business Award, said: “After a phenomenal night at the Dorset Venus Awards, Ratio simply had to find a way to come back and join the 2016 party.

"This year did not disappoint. It was a huge honour to be able to sponsor the Awards and to be part of such a unique and wonderful process.”

“We’d like to pass on our congratulations to all of the winners, and especially our Digital Media and Online Business Award which went to Arabella Lewis-Smith of Salad Creative.”

Meanwhile Sue Murphy, head of business development and marketing at Dutton Gregory, who are now in their sixth year of supporting the Venus Awards, said: "All the team at Dutton Gregory had an amazing evening at the biggest Dorset Venus Awards celebration ever.

"So many influential people in the room sharing their journeys and success stories with us. It's a great way of celebrating and recognising people with an audience who understand what it has taken to get to the pinnacle event and stand victorious on the winner's podium."

This year's Venus Awards Winners were:

Ash Elite Professional of the Year

Amy Cousineau-Massey – Steele Raymond LLP

ATLAS ELEKTRONIK Inspirational Woman in Technology (STEM) Award

Dr Tania Humphries-Smith – Bournemouth University

Bournemouth University Inspirational Woman of the Year

Sally Harvey – AOK Rucksack Appeal

Christchurch Jewellers Entrepreneur of the Year

Kate Atkinson – Bridal Reloved Franchising Ltd

Dutton Gregory Small Business of the Year

Hollie Power – Forever Gorgeous

Enhanced Company of the Year

Rosie Kennar - Hoburne

Exterion Media Marketing and PR Award

Suzanne Revell – Churchill Homes

Fizz Benefits Musical Talent Award

Helen Jenkins

Interlink Express Customer Service Award

Rosy Jones - BEBC

Mercedes-Benz of Poole Influential Woman of the Year

Amanda Jenner – Potty Training Academy

MPLOY Manager of the Year

Mandy Kittlety – Luxury Care

Outstanding Business Award


Playgolf Bournemouth Networker of the Year

Zelda De Hollander – Studio Shotz Photography

Ratio Digital Media and Online Business Award

Arabella Lewis-Smith – Salad Creative

Talbot Heath School Business Mother of the Year

Michelle Bartlett – Live Laugh Love Ladies Club

Tigerlilly New Business of the Year

Ali Dolphin – Mindful Solace Ltd