Inspirational women are being sought as an awards event to recognise their achievements is launched.

The regional awards for Successful Women in Business (SWIB) was launched in Dorchester in the presence of an audience of female business owners and entrepreneurs.

Appropriately enough, it happened on International Women’s Day, which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Nominations are now open for the SWIB awards in the categories of Successful Women in Teaching, Mentor, Creative, Health & Wellbeing, Innovation, New Business, Professional Services and Business Mother. The award of Successful Women will be presented to the overall winner from all of these categories.

The Successful Women in Business (SWIB) Network, founded by Gill Donnell MBE, is a membership organisation for women who want to grow their businesses or develop their careers with the support of other women at regular networking events and personal development workshops.

The Dorset Echo is media partner for the awards.

The SWIB Conference, where the awards were launched, was attended by more than 110 women who heard inspirational speeches by Diana Parkes, founder of The Women’s Sat Nav to Success and who is a leading authority on women in the world of work; Lisa Upchurch, Head of Tax at New Look; and Amanda Stansfield, Managing Director and owner at Granny Gothards, a Taunton-based ice cream producer.

Gill Donnell is an experienced leader, motivational speaker and personal development coach, who has spent much of her working life promoting the role of women in the workplace and supporting individuals to achieve their full potential.

Explaining why the awards were designed, Gill said: “The business world is full of hugely talented and successful women who not only run businesses or work in demanding roles, but often also juggle caring responsibilities at the same time.”

She added: “We understand the positive impact on women of recognising and celebrating their successes, including winning awards.

“The SWIB awards will celebrate and showcase the work and businesses of successful women across Dorset, Devon and Somerset and we’re encouraging everyone to nominate someone who they feel needs rewarding for their great work.”

For full details of the award categories and to nominate visit