Sally in the running for entrepreneur award

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We're delighted to announce that our founder and director Sally Fielding has been shortlisted in this year’s regional Forward Ladies Awards.

Sally, who clinched Gold in the SME Growth category at the 2017 awards for the North West, Wales, Ireland and Isle of Man region, is now in the running for the title of the 2018 Female Entrepreneur of the Year.

Sally Fielding among a carpet of bluebells at Muncaster Castle

Forward Ladies is one of the country’s leading organisations for the promotion of women in business. Sponsored by HSBC, the regional award will see more than 50 finalists competing over 11 categories, with 10 women vying for Entrepreneur of the Year.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at The Lowry Hotel, Manchester, in October and will go through to the final of the Forward Ladies National Awards 2018, which involves a judging day in November with results revealed in December. All applicants are judged against three core criteria: community impact, financial performance of the business and leadership, strategic direction & personal resilience.

Sally says: “I’m a big believer in the role that local businesses play not only in the economy of an area but also the culture and sense of community. Our business thrives because people staying in our cottages enjoy the services of other local businesses. Other people have been able to set up businesses off the back of ours!

“In an industry dominated by private equity we can take a huge amount of responsibility for helping to raise the profile of the Lake District, and Cumbria as a whole, through the power of our incredibly popular Facebook platform.

“We’re also lucky in that visitors to our cottages appreciate our values of integrity, confidence and creativity. They like the fact that we care about what we are doing and that we respect them as people. This comes through in our reviews, with 98 per cent saying they would book with us again.”

Sally attributes a big part of the holiday cottage letting company’s success to the hard work of her locally based team.

She adds: “I started with one cottage and £1,000 to put into the business back in 2003. We now have over 475 properties, with even more about to join us, and in the past year we took an incredible £8 million worth of bookings.

“The business has grown through hard work, a certain resilience and a genuine energy for creating a service superior to other agencies.

“We have an amazing team working at Sally’s Cottages, from those in the Keswick office to our cleaners, handymen and all the freelancers. Everyone has a key role to play in helping visitors to the area have the perfect holiday in the Lake District.”