Helen Cannon, Founder and CEO of Surrey-based travel management company ISON Travel, has won the everywoman Woman of the Year Award.
Cannon was described as “a force to be reckoned with” by judges, managing to grow her business from a turnover of £9.7 million in 2019 to £40 million in 2023.
The mother of five started her business from scratch in 2013 after deciding she couldn’t make the corporate world work for her and her family.
She believes every woman should have the opportunity to pursue a career in their chosen field.
“To be recognised in this way is one of my proudest moments, endorsing my bold approach of steering ISON Travel successfully through the pandemic and our subsequent substantial growth over the last three years,” she said.
“It demonstrates that success doesn’t hinge on adhering to the conventional nine to five, five-days-a-week job, reaffirming my firm belief that, regardless of personal circumstance, every woman should have the opportunity to pursue a career in their chosen field.”
The TMC employs a diverse workforce of talent, 70% female and 50% part-time, who have delivered fourfold growth in two years, with offices in London, Southampton, Singapore, Dubai, India, and the Philippines.
The 11 winners were selected from nearly a thousand entries at a ceremony on December 6 at The Londoner Hotel, in association with BGF and NatWest.
For over two decades everywoman has been at the forefront of the drive to increase the number of female entrepreneurs, working with government, industry bodies and the corporate sector to accelerate the rate of progress and dismantle barriers that remain for women, particularly when it comes to accessing funding, growing, and scaling their businesses.
Despite a record breaking 150,000 women founding new businesses in the UK last year and all-female-led companies representing over 20.6% of UK businesses (up from 16.7% in 2018), the percentage of total deal value for all-female-founder businesses has decreased from 5.8% in 2016 to 3.5% in 2023.1
Maxine Benson MBE, Co-Founder of everywoman, said: “The everywoman Entrepreneur Awards have a central role to play in highlighting the disconnect between the growth ambitions of female founded businesses and their access to funding.
“These brilliant women are wealth and job creators and the businesses we must be investing in for the growth of UK Plc. The awards are a call to arms for the investment and finance communities to double down on their efforts to understand how they can better serve these ambitious, unstoppable female founders.”