Veuve Clicquot celebrates bold and successful businesswomen

Veuve Clicquot, the champagne house, is calling for nominations for its 2011 Business Woman of the Year Award. You must be the founder or leader of a successful business, based in the UK, and – for the first time – demonstrate commitment to responsible and sustainable business practices. The winner is drawn in March from a shortlist of five.

The awards, launched in 1972, are among the oldest in what is an increasingly populated field. The first winner in the UK awards, inaugurated in 1974, was Stella Brummel, managing director of Benford, the concrete mixer manufacturer. The awards now run in 16 countries.

This year’s title holder is Laura Tenison, founder of JoJo Maman Bébé, the mother and baby products retail chain. Past winners in the UK have included Gail Rebuck, chief executive of publishers Random House; Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop; and Pru Leith OBE, restaurateur, cookery writer and broadcaster.

The award commemorates Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, the woman who inherited a few vineyards on the death of her husband, François Clicquot, in 1805 – the year of the Battle of Trafalgar. At just 27, the widow Clicquot grew the champagne house into one of the world’s most recognised international brands. She was not only an indefatigable dealmaker, defying the trade embargoes of the Napoleonic wars to establish Veuve Clicquot as the official champagne of the Russian court, but also a committed scientist. Her clarification system is used by all champagne makers to this day.

Sometimes we forget that bold, successful businesswomen are not a recent invention. While their numbers may be few, their legacy is long.

To nominate or apply for the 2011 awards, go to and follow the links.

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