Another gong for YouGen!
Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 19 September 2013 at 9:01 am
It's not like us to blow our own trumpets but - PARP! - we did just want to say how proud we are to have been named Green Business of the Year at an award ceremony for women in business. Our founder Cathy Debenham also reached the finals of the Inspirational Woman category of this year's Venus Awards Devon.
Cathy started YouGen in 2008, after noticing how difficult it was to get the practical information she needed to assess whether renewable energy was suitable for her house. Since then, the website has had nearly a million visits, and 2.5m page views.
“It was a great honour to win the award,” Cathy said. "Especially as we were in the finals with two other excellent businesses, that also have green values running right through them: the Green Funeral Company and Surplus WEEE.
"While I got to go on stage and pick up the award, it's also testament to my great team of colleagues. There are four of us, all women, all working part time from our own homes, yet we manage to give the service you'd expect from a much larger organisation.
"When you're working in an under-resourced small business you sometimes forget to look up and notice how much you've achieved. Winning the Green Business of the Year is a great opportunity for us to do just that, and to celebrate our successes."
This is not the first time that YouGen has been before the popping lightbulbs of the red carpet in the awards world (PARP PARP!). Last year YouGen was the winner of the prestigious WWF Green Game Changer Award at the International Green Awards, was shortlisted for the SW Green Energy Awards and a Finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year category at the PEA (People and Environment Achievement) Awards.
Cathy faced a number of challenges in setting up YouGen: She came to the project with solid journalism, PR and marketing skills, but faced a steep learning curve: she needed to learn much more about renewable energy; government incentive schemes (which constantly change); how to run a business; and the rapidly evolving ways of communicating and doing business online.
YouGen is now a trusted brand in a new, fast growing industry. Cathy is regularly invited to speak at events such as the Westminster Forum (for senior politicians and policy makers) and the annual solar power roadshow, and sits on some government industry working groups. Her twitter account (@yougenuk) has more than 6,000 followers.
Well done Cathy - and well done us!
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