Laura Tenison, founder JoJo Maman Bebe, winner of Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Awards in the UK
The winner of the Veuve Cliquot Business Woman Awards in the UK was announced this week, Laura Tenison, founder of JoJo Maman Bebe, and it was certainly not her first prize as an entrepreneur.
Business acumen, social responsibility, ethics, how green is the contestant: these were all criteria that the jury, including Governmental Champion of Digital inclusion Martha Lane Fox, took into account, and that applied the most to Laura.
As founder and managing director of retailer JoJo Maman Bebe, she has been heavily involved in the Nema Foundation, a Mozambique based charity for infant mortality since the start of the venture.
About her company she said to TheNextWomen in 2009:
"I launched in the last recession and have grown the company organically to its current size with Gross turnover of £19M, without the need for VC or private equity. We are surviving the recession and are currently trading about 11% up on a like for like basis."
About female entrepreneurship she said:
I believe very strongly that women ‘can have it all’, but actually not that many women want it; and fulfillment in life does not always come down to being a multitasking person….
Laura was able to grow her company. As the UK’s foremost niche market specialist in the pregnancy and baby market, she offers fashionable maternity wear, a Breton inspired children's collection and original nursery products, gifts and toys.
Sales are done via all channels; the website, 200 page catalogue and the 23 stores.
The business ethos is based on a strong code of ethical business practice. The company prides itself on high levels of staff retention with the majority of the founding members still part of the team.
Laura Tenison is a trustee of the company’s designated charity, Nema; chosen to ensure that donations make a real difference to the lives of less fortunate children around the world. ‘Nema’ (registered charity number 1113131) which translates as “happiness after hardship” is currently receiving assistance from JoJo in the form of UK administration, bookkeeping, website, ongoing in-house donations and fundraising. This year JoJo will build and support a school in rural Mozambique and provide around 70 children with secondary school scholarships as well as funding several other projects.
Its not the first prize, Laura received. Here is a fairly extensive list:
Laura Tenison was the Welsh Entrepreneur of the Year 2003, Harpers & Queen Entrepreneur of the year 2005, Winner of the Fast Growth Business Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2008, received and MBE for services to business in the Queen’s 2004 New Year's Honours List and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the University of Wales in 2008.
JoJo Maman Bébé has won numerous awards over the years including the following in the last couple of years:
- Winner, Drapers Children’s Wear Retailer of the Year 2009
- Winner, Prima Baby Fashion Awards, Best Catalogue/Mail-order Service 2008
- Member of Courvoisier Future 500 of Fashion & Retail 2007
- Winner, Pregnancy & Birth Best for Underwear Bloom Award 2007
- Winner, Prima Baby Pregnancy Reader Awards Best Buy, Mail Order 2007
- Winner, Fast Growth Business Awards, Retail/Leisure Female Entrepreneur 2007
- Winner, Fast Growth Business Awards, Retail Business of the Year 2007
- Winner, Practical Parenting Baby & Toddler Fashion Award 2007
- Winner, Practical Parenting Maternity Fashion Award 2007
- Nominated a Superbrand in 2005
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