The 2017 Venus Small Business Awards, Hampshire

After a near six month-long battle, the final of the Venus Small Business Awards, Hampshire’s finest small business competition took place on Saturday 11th November 2017 at the beautiful Spark Building at Southampton Solent University.

As a small business owner myself, I have to wear many hats. So, as sponsor of the venus Small Business Awards, 2017 I was looking for a small business that not only had a big attitude but also was well rounded in Finance, Marketing, Sales and was also People Focused.

The whole day, from reading the nominations to Afternoon Tea with my semi-finalists and my panel of judges at Hotel TerraVina was a success. The final piece of the puzzle was for me to see them in action. I spent time in each of my finalist’s businesses seeing just what happens on a day to day basis and after all that, it has made the decision even harder.

Ladies & Gentlemen; The 2017 Venus Small Business Awards Finalists


Danielle Rolfe, Penton Park

Please allow me to introduce my first Venus Small Business Awards finalist; Danielle Rolfe of Penton Park. Danielle is a confident businesswoman who has taken on her business like another member of her family. She is always looking for ways to make it better and exceed her customer’s expectations. Spending time in Penton Park with Danielle felt like a magical experience.

The Penton Park has a lovely long driveway and when I visited, James Place was in full swing celebrating Hallowe’en. The family were involved and Danielle is an absolute fountain of knowledge having to go from one part of the business to another as well as being a mother to three children. She really does live and breath her business.

Laura Skilton, Baby Paddlers

My next Venus Small Business Awards finalist is Laura Skilton of Baby Paddlers.  Laura is extremely passionate about her business and the people that she works with.  To have taken her company from start-up to thriving business in such a short time, it is truly remarkable what she has managed to achieve.

Watching Laura in action on the pool. You can see how patient she is, as we know you never want to work with animals or children and some of the children in her classes certainly had, erm… character :).  Laura is adding more venues to her growing list of locations each month. Laura knows that consistency is key to great service and established standards for all her teachers.

Emily Walden, Happy Hounds

My final Venus Small Business Awards finalist is Emily Walden of Happy Hounds. Emily is an inspiration for changing her career to now running a business. Happy Hounds has grown from walking dogs to a daycare centre. Emily will soon to be adding grooming to her list of services, proving that nothing phases her!

My time spent at Happy Hounds with Emily was… muddy! Taking six dogs for a walk was a lot of fun and I can see how much Emily never needs the gym, but also the responsibility of taking care of all those pooches. I saw her plans for how the grooming salon is going to work along with making the current shop a lot bigger.

And The Winner Of the 2017 Venus Small Business Awards Is…

I don’t mid admitting that judging the finalists was a challenge. However, I had to make a decision, and even with all the information I had, it was a very close decision.

With that in mind, I’m delighted to announce the Venus for Small Business Hampshire 2017 went to Danielle Rolfe of Penton Park.

All three finalists, and in fact all the women that were nominated are all amazing.  I have learnt so much from being a sponsor and I know that it is going to benefit me going forward with my business. I know that this is not the last time I will see these three amazing women and know this is going to be a start of a regular coffee, okay maybe a gin and tonic club… if Danielle has any left from her events!

If you’d like any information on the Venus Small Business Awards, don’t hesitate to pop me an email on [email protected]


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