Barmy owner Eve Lodge has been shortlisted for The University of South Wales (USW) Making Business Happen Awards.
Eve, who celebrated her 18th birthday on March 1 and is in her last year of A level study at Shelley College near Huddersfield, is competing against nine other finalists from across the UK, to win the Aspiring Entrepreneur Award, which is sponsored by NatWest.
Now in its second year, the Making Business Happen Awards gives student entrepreneurs, future business owners and social entrepreneurs the opportunity to operate in a real-world setting and prove their abilities.
The winners will be announced on March 22, where they will receive a share of £3,000 with their school or college, along with business mentoring and support from the USW Business School.
The runner-up will receive a share of £1,500 along with support from the USW Business School, and third place will receive a share of £500 as well as a package of support.
Eve, of Kendal Vale, Worsbrough, has created the business ‘Barmy’ – which produces hand-crafted, hand-sewn, bespoke British bunting for individuals, companies and events.
The former Horizon College pupil has shot to prominence over the last few years – and last month was named in the Top Future 50 by the prestigious Northern Power Women Awards, as well as being nominated for an RBS Global Focused Women Award.
She has also been nominated in the Yorkshire Choice Awards, in the Independent Business and Young Achiever categories, which will be announced at a glittering ceremony at Elland Road on Saturday, April 2.
Award-winning Eve also reached the 2015 final of The Pitch, recognised as one of the biggest small business competitions in the UK; was named the 2015 Yorkshire BiY Solopreneur; was nominated for the 2015 Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards; and won Twitter accolades from Ann Summers CEO Jacqueline Gold and Theo Paphitis (she is seen pictured with him below).
“Bunting has such a universal appeal – my customers come from countries around the world; even the set of Coronation Street and the current leader of the Labour Party,” said Eve.
“My research has found that even in a time of ‘austerity’ craft spending appears to be holding up better than spending on related categories of design, art and luxury goods.
“The word craft is associated with terms suggesting quality such as handmade, workmanship and personalised. Over a third of respondents who sampled my work said they would buy craft items to own something nobody else has, which is why I personalise my bunting for each client.”
Eve’s success with the company has now meant she is able to add products to the ‘Barmy’ range, including ‘Barmy Baubles’.
Professor Jonathan Deacon, a Reader in Marketing and Enterprise in USW’s Faculty of Business and Society, said: “The finalists in the competition have come up with some fascinating business ideas – from bunting, make-up through to technology, support for disabled people to online shopping, and food sales to plumbing.
“What it shows is that young people not only have the imagination to come up with some amazing ideas, but also the expertise needed to carry these ideas through to fruition, and to take them to market.
“As a university that focuses on entrepreneurship, engagement and employment – which this competition brings together – we are delighted the competition has received such strong entries, and that future entrepreneurs are showing what they can do.”
Cheryl Gourlay, Regional Enterprise Manager for NatWest, added: “The inaugural Making Business Happen Awards last year were a huge success and NatWest is delighted to be sponsoring the awards once again.
“Recent research released by NatWest suggests that nearly half of Britons who are not already say they would prefer to be self-employed, and a record 27% say that now is a good time to start your own business. But the number of people actually taking that leap has fallen.
“There is a persistent gender gap in attitudes and action towards starting a business. Men are more likely than women to judge that now is a good time to start a business, to want to start-up and to be doing so.
“Young people have been consistently more positive about entrepreneurship than older people. Those aged 18-30 are markedly more likely to be starting their own business and to say that now is a good time to do so. They are also more likely to have positive attitudes about future entrepreneurial activity.
“Initiatives such as the Making Business Happen Awards are a vital part of the entrepreneurial landscape, celebrating those who are already on the road to success and encouraging those who are taking their first steps on the journey. We look forward to hearing lots of inspirational stories from this year’s awards entrants.”
For more information about the awards, visit: www.uswbusinessawards.co.uk/aspiring-entrepreneurs-award