Grace Lachowicz of Dekko Interiors from London has been named winner of the coveted NatWest everywoman Award - one of the UK’s most revered prizes honouring British entrepreneurial success.
Polish-born Grazyna – known to her team as Grace – grasped her entrepreneurial opportunity when her employer encouraged her to found her company so they could outsource their fitted kitchen, bedroom furniture and bathroom vanities. That first job saw her install 100 kitchens into a high-rise development and she freely admits that whilst the client was happy with the result, the chaos behind the scenes was indescribable, with Grace knee deep in free-standing kitchen units in her garage. Undeterred she took on larger contracts and signed personal guarantees on product delivery, such was her self-belief.
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Five years on and Dekko Interiors designs and manufactures high quality furniture for housing, providing a single supply solution to major property developers building social housing through to £5 million high end luxury apartments. Grace has built the business into a self-funded, profitable multi-million pound company, simultaneously raising her three children. She acknowledges the challenges she has faced as a young professional female working in environments where she is frequently the only woman. Fanatical about self-improvement, she has an insatiable thirst for learning and is a passionate advocate of financial education in schools. Not content with her extraordinary success to date, she has plans to launch a retail offering and is currently working on developments requiring fit outs for 1,700 individual properties.
The winners of the annual NatWest everywoman Awards, the UK’s most prestigious awards for female enterprise, were announced today. For 14 years these annual awards have identified and championed the women behind Britain’s most successful businesses, from promising start-ups in their early years of trading to established international companies. These women are the epitome of entrepreneurial excellence whose companies’ combined turnovers amount to over £47million.
The UK is seen as one of the most attractive countries for business1 reflected by the surge in entrepreneurship in Britain in recent years2. Despite these encouraging signs the numbers of women-led start-ups remain significantly lower than that of men. Both everywoman and the Women’s Business Council separately undertook research in 2016 with each concluding that role models play a vital part in encouraging and inspiring women to further their professional
Speaking at the ceremony, everywoman co-founder Maxine Benson MBE commented, “For 14 years the NatWest everywoman Awards have uncovered and celebrated the extraordinary achievements of Britain’s female entrepreneurs. Starting a business from scratch takes courage and self-belief, qualities that our winners have in abundance. We applaud their success and send them out to spread the message to other women that enterprise is a rewarding and fulfilling career upon which the success of the UK economy depends.”
Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise at NatWest, said: “We are very proud to recognise these women, who are not just successful in their own businesses, but are also great role models. The importance of women in business cannot be underestimated, so we hope these role models will inspire other women to take their first steps in business. To help these entrepreneurs and would-be business owners, NatWest has a network of over 340 externally accredited Women in Business specialists who understand our customers’ ambitions and provide business support, mentoring and networking opportunities.”
The winners were selected by a judging panel from 15 of some of the UK’s best known and successful business figures including Chrissie Rucker MBE, The White Company; Cath Kidston MBE; Amanda Wakeley OBE; Julia Hands MBE, Handpicked Hotels; Rosaleen Blair, Alexander Mann Solutions; and Wendy Hallett MBE, Hallett Retail.
ENGAGING, ADVANCING & RETAINING WOMEN IN BUSINESS
everywoman is an expert in the advancement of women in business. We provide leading edge products and services designed to enhance the existing potential and talents of women in business globally. Since 1999, we have developed highly acclaimed events, elevating female role models and high-quality training programmes, helping to shape tomorrow’s leaders and their teams.
Our learning and development platform, the everywomanNetwork, stretches to tens of thousands of members in over 100 countries, enabling women and male ‘ambassadors of change’ to access first class development resources anytime, anywhere. The digital platform has been shown to have a positive impact on the way women view their own careers and future progression, whether that’s with their current employers or as entrepreneurs.
Our clients include companies from a diverse range of sectors who want to develop and retain a pipeline of female leaders, through to individual women who are committed to driving their future success and inspiring others. To find out more visit www.everywoman.com.
NatWest is proud to lead the way as the pioneering Bank for women's enterprise. Each year, more and more women are launching their own businesses, and for many, it’s a big decision with a number of challenges to overcome. Recognising these unique challenges and the contribution that women business owners make to the UK economy, NatWest has a network of over 340 externally accredited Women in Business specialists across the UK offering specialist support, practical guidance and networking opportunities to female entrepreneurs. We are proud to work closely with organisations like everywoman that also promote and support women’s enterprise. For more information, visit http://business.natwest.com/business/womeninbusiness.html, or call us on 0345 711 4477.