A BUSY expectant mum says she is overwhelmed by the support shown for her fledgling business after she picked up two prestigious county-wide awards for her work.
Maddy Alexander-Grout, who runs My VIP Card, which covers Hampshire, won the Business of the Year and Phenomenal Product Awards at the first Hampshire Women’s Business Awards.
She picked up her awards in front of more than 180 businesswomen at a gala dinner at St Mary’s Football Stadium in Southampton.
Maddy said: ‘I am so overwhelmed and incredibly grateful to have won these awards. I am excited about what the future holds for My VIP Card and I can’t wait to shout about this from the rooftops.’
My VIP Card, a discount card and employee benefit scheme, advertises more than 600 businesses to card holders for free, providing 4,000 discounts.
Maddy set up the Southampton baby and toddler forum as a support network after suffering with pre and post-natal anxiety while pregnant with her son Ben.
The Facebook group grew quickly and she started to allow businesses to advertise for free. She also started to arrange discounted soft play and in July 2017 she created a discount card for parents. It was meant to be a hobby but when she launched in December 2017 with 80 companies, it was already very popular.
In March, Maddy was made redundant from her day job and decided to make the card into a ‘proper business’.
By this point, Maddy had also found out she was pregnant with her second child. Despite pregnancy symptoms, Maddy grew the card and in July she launched it to the public and re branded for everyone, not just parents.
The awards were organised by Trudy Simmons who runs the Hampshire Women’s Business Facebook group. Trudy set up the group last year to provide businesswomen a place to receive support. It now has more than 2,800 members.
Eight awards were handed out on the night, after more than 9,800 votes were cast on Facebook. The winners were: Sarah Guilder from Bay Leaves Larder, Belinda Sampson from Bella Craft, Jackie Neat from The Whimsical Kitchen, Karina Artun from Theatre Train, Suzy Dierckx from Sociable Suzy, and Charlotte Barsby & Joanna Cutting from Brief Marketing.