FINALISTS in the Wessex Businesswoman of the Year competition will learn who has claimed this year's title at a glittering lunch at the Hampshire Rose Bowl in West End tomorrow. There are four finalists representing a broad spectrum of business from hotel and finance through to recruitment and sports bras. Here are the women:

AVRIL OWTON - Cloud Hotel, Brockenhurst

Avril trained to be a professional dancer and was a member of the Tiller Girls for four years.

She married into the hotel industry with no hospitality experience. In 1991 her husband died aged 45, leaving her with four children, a failing hotel and no financial support. She admits she was clueless regarding the hotel business.

"I didn't know a bottom line from a chorus line," she said.

"But I had to turn my life and my business around to be able to support myself and my children."

In 1995 Avril was voted Hampshire Business Woman of the Year and in 1999 the hotel was voted Independent Hotel of the Year.


Selaine founded her sports bra company LessBounce three years ago.

The 32-year-old has a first class degree in Management Studies and Maths from Cambridge University and worked in both consulting and marketing before becoming self-employed, initially working as a personal trainer and aerobics instructor.

LessBounce is now based in Netheravon, 20 miles north of Salisbury. The business has one full-time employee as well as Selaine. LessBounce now offers the widest range of sports bras in the UK with exclusive brands from the USA. The bras are sold via a mail order catalogue and the Web.

SUKI FLOYD - Corporate Computer Leasing

Suki has been recognised for plugging a gap in the market for business finance.

Corporate Computer Leasing started from the kitchen table and has grown over the years to employ 21 people.

Ten years ago, UK businesses had found it virtually impossible to obtain finance for new software.

Over the past decade, Suki has built relationships with some of Europe's leading finance providers, demystifying the often complex area of software solutions to enable UK business to get the support it needs.

Suki has gone on to lead her sector in product innovation, developing finance models - including Rental Exchange - that allow businesses to develop an ongoing IT acquisition strategy.

Suki's role over the years has changed with the needs of the business. Her main role is that of managing director.

However, on a day-to-day basis she drives the business forward from a sales perspective and is responsible for the smooth running of the company.

JENNY WARNER - Family Match Ltd

Jenny Warner, managing director of Family Match Ltd, has worked within the recruitment industry for many years.

Prior to setting up her own company, Jenny's career in recruitment had included high level recruitment work in the West End.

On moving to Hampshire following her marriage to Michael, Jenny joined a firm of executive search consultants for two years before taking a break to have her three children.

In 1993, Jenny started Family Match, which offers a high quality recruitment service in Hampshire and neighbouring counties for families and organisations requiring professional childcare.

After operating for ten years, Family Match won the prestigious Small Business of the Year A ward 2003, presented by Business Link Wessex, in May this year.

During 2002, Jenny launched a new associate company, PA Search Ltd, to offer a specialist service for top executives seeking experienced personal assistants.