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Outstanding Mumpreneurs who deliver excellent business results whilst balancing their family needs, have been recognised in a new award programme, Shining Stars. The awards were created by Mums UnLtd, a national business networking company that supports Mums to run successful businesses by providing advice, support and business opportunities.

According to a report from economics think tank, Development Economics (commissioned by eBay), Mumpreneurs contribute £7.2 billion to the UK economy and are growing at a rapid rate. Figures published in 2016 by the UK’s Office for National Statistics revealed more than 800,000 women and mothers now run a business venture from home either part or full-time across the UK. By 2025, the report claims, the Mum economy will generate £9.5billion for the UK and support an extra 13,000 employees, taking the total jobs created by Mumpreneurs to nearly 220,000.

A high number of applicants entered the first year of the Shining Star Awards. Key criteria for winners included demonstrating clearly their business knowledge, experience, creativity, commitment to customer care and strong evidence of business achievements. Entries were judged by a panel of business experts and the winners were announced at a gala lunch at Rothamsted Institute.

Local business owner Gail Barnes was selected alongside 14 other finalists from across the UK.

“It was an honour for me to be recognised by Mums UnLtd for Whitstable Holiday Homes’ achievements. Since starting the business 11 years ago, I have witnessed a saturation of holiday homes in the town and increased competition from the likes of Air BnB and TripAdvisor. But with my dedicated team and a continuing high level of customer service and care, we have continued to grow and sustain a loyal repeat customer base. It is an absolute pleasure to welcome old and new faces each year to our unique town each year.”

Debbie Gilbert, author of ‘The Successful Mumpreneur’ and founder of Mums UnLtd, said ‘the Shining Star awards are all about raising the profile of Mumpreneurs who have become the backbone of the UK economy. Currently, little is done to showcase their achievements and so we are delighted to recognise them’.

She continued, ‘huge numbers of women find major issues combining full-time employment with raising a family, largely due to rising child care costs and inflexible employers. This has seen a significant rise in the number of women setting up a small business in recent years’.