Growing Business Awards: Entrepreneurs’ Entrepreneur

Cauldwell reckons allowing Lehman Brothers to fail will prove to be one of the most “cataclysmic” things to have happened during this crisis.

“The future is in the hands of the entrepreneurs,” he adds.

Onto the award presentation and the winner is…


Here’s another entrepreneur that Real Business identified early on – and she provides an outstanding example to entrepreneurial women.

Linda Bennett learned her trade from the shop floor before, at the age of 26, opening an accessories shop in Wimbledon village with £13,000 savings and a £15,000 bank loan.

In classic retailer fashion, she focused on location and more or less single-handedly built up the LK Bennett chain of 70-plus shops with sales of £60m. And she did it without courting the limelight: “I just think the product is the most important thing to put forward, rather than me,” she once said. “I’d rather focus on running the business than talk about it.” It didn’t prevent her being nicknamed the “kitten-heel queen.”

But her focus was rewarded. This year, she sold a majority stake to private equity firm Phoenix Equity Partners, netting one of Britain’s most successful female entrepreneurs approximately £70m.

Bennett is famously a woman of very few words and she lives up to that reputation, taking the limelight for only a few moments. “I’m really very honoured; thank you,” she says.

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