VOTING is now open for one of the most prestigious business awards in the south - The Venus Awards.

With more and more women starting their own businesses and making a vital contribution to the local, regional and national economy, it is important to recognise how they juggle and manage their commitments as working women, often combining it with motherhood.

The awards celebrate the vital contribution that women in business make to the local, regional, and national economy, and are unique in that anyone can nominate a friend, client or family member.

Video clips of the semi-finalists in the Daily Echo Business Mother and Wightlink Customer service categories can be viewed and voted for by the public on the Venus Awards website at

Voting closes on Wednesday September 6 at 10am.

The names of the three semi-finalists who have received the most public votes will be revealed along with the finalists from other categories on Friday, September 15.

The NatWest Hampshire Venus Awards 2017 in association with Wightlink and Peter Cooper Motor Group will culminate in a glamorous Ceremony and Gala on Saturday November 11 at The Spark in Southampton.

Semi-Finalists of the Southern Daily Echo Business Mother of the Year Award:

Claudia Beard – Mint Signs and Graphics Ltd

Danielle Rolfe – Penton Park

Freya Rees – Freya Rose Ltd

Jennifer Hudson – Hudson Blake Training

Katie Harris – Ginger Catering Company

Lisa D’Arcy-Burt – SMT Precision Engineering Ltd

Lisa Mann – Southampton Solent University and Re:So

Samantha Cleal – Croma Locksmiths & Security Solutions

Verity Evans – Southampton Pamper Parties & The Pink Room

Semi-Finalists of the Wightlink Customer Service Award:

Danielle Rolfe – Penton Park

Gillian Tully – Film Expo Space

Laura Kenward – Office Asset

Louise Pack – Bizpedia

Melissa Hewison – Elite School of Swimming

Natasha Macphosa – NTC HAIR Ltd

Nisha Haq – Nisha Haq Photographer

Samantha Cleal – Croma Locksmiths & Security Solutions