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Founders of Queensland based Award Winning Accelerator, a program helping small businesses find and enter business awards, were honoured with the top Stevie Award in New York this month.

The Grand Stevie is awarded to organisations that win the most gold, silver and bronze awards at the annual awards event for women in business. This year it was taken out by Annette Densham and Lauren Clemett for helping Australian women enter and win in 14 categories including 3 gold, 5 silver and 6 bronze. They are the first Australian business to take out first place in the Grand Stevie Award.

Annette said it was a massive haul of awards for women in business whose achievements in business growth, innovation and making a difference are inspiring. “The best part of Award Winning Accelerator is we get to work with driven and purposeful people whom through their businesses, are doing amazing things helping others and driving change,” she said.

“What is most extraordinary is so often women in business are reluctant to step out because of the fear of being pulled back down, being seen a big noting themselves or being too big for their britches.

“Yet, to survive and prosper in small business, you have to get good at promoting yourself, acknowledging your wins and sharing them; otherwise no one knows you exist. You are the best kept secret and how do you make money or a difference if you have no visibility?”

The Award Winning Accelerator took three women to New York as part of the Award Winning Adventure – a program developed by Annette and Lauren designed to help small businesses to access awards. The program finds the right award for the business to enter, helps them with branding and public relations over a nine-month period.

“What I love about the program is we get to hear the incredible stories of achievement from every person who trusts us with doing their entry and then we get to celebrate their wins with them,” Annette said.

“This year, we worked with”

·       Chrissy Leontios, CLEON Legal and Mediation – 1 gold, 2 silver and a bronze

·       Anita Bentata Activating Artemis – 1 gold and 1 silver

·       Christine Stow – 1 silver

·       Angela Henderson, Angela Henderson Consulting – 1 bronze

·       Gail Creighton-Davies, G8 Ladies – 1 bronze

·       Holley Sommerville-Knott, Tell Someone Who Cares – 1 gold and 1 silver

·       Becca McGregor, Publicity Genie – 1 silver and 2 bronze

“Every woman who participated in the program won an award. They took out categories across Woman of The Year, Most Innovative Woman of The Year, Women Helping Women, Best New Product/Service, Young Entrepreneur of The Year, Maverick of the Year, Best Employee of the Year and Start Up of the Year

“On the night, the enthusiasm and excitement from the Australia table was a stand out,” Annette said. “With people coming up after the event complimenting us on our achievements and our energy.

“There was a resounding message from the evening, as each of these winners took to the stage – that their business is more than just making money. That there is a purpose to what they are doing, and they are driven by the desire to make a difference in other people’s lives.

“The judges saw this. It shone through their entries.”

Annette said most of the award winners are corporate refugees and women over 40. “The small business space is flourishing in Australia especially women in business. We are recognising our skills and abilities, and taking charge of our financial futures,” she said.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are the world’s top honours for female entrepreneurs, executives, employees and the organisations they run.  Entries came from public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small businesses. The 2018 awards received entries from over 30 nations and territories.

More than 1,500 nominations from organisations of all sizes and every industry were submitted this year. Stevie Award winners were selected by more than 200 executives worldwide who participated in the judging process.

Details about the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and the list of Stevie Award winners are available at www.StevieAwards.com/Women.