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Observer Ethical awards Winners 2011

YouGen Blog

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

The previous year we were shortlisted in the Ethical Blog category of the Observer Ethical Awards and included in the BusinessGreen Twitter Top 100 (Green Guru category).

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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4 comments - read them below or add one

D Boreham

D BorehamComment left on: 30 September 2013 at 1:52 pm

Many congratulations Cathy - these awards are thoroughly well deserved! Your site is certainly trusted, authoritative and an essential prerequisite for any steps I take towards energy efficiency changes.  Well done & keep it up.

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 30 September 2013 at 1:23 pm

@D Boreham Thank you very much - all feedback is much appreciated - especially if it's as kind as yours!

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Gilly Jones

Gilly JonesComment left on: 19 September 2013 at 12:41 pm

Thanks for the kind words - it’s great to hear that you're finding the site useful.

YouGen team

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AndrewNE_ScotlandComment left on: 19 September 2013 at 11:11 am

Many congratulations on your award.  I'm a relative newcomer to your website; it struck me immediately as a treasure trove of well written, insightful and reliable information.  I think I'm on the road to becoming a yougen addict - not a bad addiction as addictions go!

Keep up the great work.



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