AN Anglesey bee keeper is buzzing after being honoured as an 'inspiration' in awards marking exceptional women in business.

Katie Hayward, who overcame a stroke to become managing director of Felinhoneybees, at Cemlyn, Cemaes, is a national award finalist in the 2019 Natwest Everywoman Awards.

Katie is in the category for the most inspirational woman running a business trading from three to five years, in the Demeter Award, sponsored by Nutriment.

She was one of 21 women from across the UK who were announced as finalists on Monday.

Now in its 17th year, the awards celebrate female entrepreneurs.

Katie founded Felinhoneybees when a stroke put an end to a successful career as a Senior Project Manager in the Construction industry.

Unable to continue in the job she loved, Katie turned to her lifelong passion for beekeeping, took over the family farm and set about turning it into a successful business.

She sold all her belongings to invest in the expansion of the farm, rapidly growing from just four hives to 75.

Creative in driving revenue, the business now encompasses a construction arm, government contracts, and retail.

Katie now has more than 1,000 beehives in North Wales and 400 in the South of France.

She also runs bee therapy sessions with children and adults, specifically to help children who self harm, prisoners who are on suicide watch, PTSD sufferers and drug addiction therapy.

Katie credits her bees, and her husband, for helping her to recover from the stroke and believes passionately in the role that beekeeping has to play in combatting both physical and mental health issues, with its focus on training the mind and body to be calm.

With most beekeepers being male, Katie struggled to be taken seriously in the industry and was given the nickname “Barbie the Beekeeper.”

Celebrating her differences, rather than fighting it, Katie proudly built an all-female workforce and for the 2018 Year of the Woman, painted every single hive pink.

The award winners will be announced at a ceremony on December 3, 2019 at Grosvenor House, London.

Katie said: "I’m so honoured to have made it to the finals in London with such inspirational women. I feel like screaming with joy!"

Further awards will include the Spirit of Every Woman Award presented to a woman who has helped change the landscape for businesswomen in the UK; the Every Woman Ambassador Award celebrating the success of a high-profile entrepreneur; and the brand new Fortuna Award recognising an individual who is investing in women-run enterprises.

This years finalists range from the founders of international multi-million-pound empires to those spearheading social enterprises for the greater good.

They are set to be role models inspiring future generations of female entrepreneurs.

The finalists span diverse industries from fashion, jewellery, hospitality, skincare, food, and social car.

They were chosen by a judging panel comprising some of the UK’s top business figures, including Helen Pattinson (Montezuma’s), Julie Deane OBE (Cambridge Satchel Company), Sarah Wood (Unruly), Poonam Gupta OBE (PG Paper Company), fashion designer, Melissa Odabash, Harriet Hastings (Biscuiteers), Sam Smith (FinnCap) and Rowan Finnegan (Regenerative Investment).

Overall, only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female, a gender gap equivalent of 1.1 million missing businesses, despite the potential for £250 billion of new value to be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men.

The Alison Rose Review identified the three biggest opportunities to help female entrepreneurs, which included: “…relatable and accessible mentors and networks”.

Since 2003, the NatWest Everywoman Awards have been building a community of the UK’s leading female business owners and connecting them with peers, advisors and investors.

Maxine Benson MBE, Co-Founder at Every woman said: “The Alison Rose Review cited the vital influence of role models and through this programme we have reached over 4,000 female entrepreneurs, sharing their stories and success to inspire others.

"Our work focuses on empowering women with professional opportunities and we must address the reasons why 60% of women who have considered starting a business, did not

Yvonne Greeves, director of Women in Business, at NatWest, says: “We are very proud to recognise these women, who are not just successful in their own businesses, but are also great role models.

"The importance of women in business cannot be underestimated, so we hope these role models will inspire other women to take their first steps in business."

Suzanne Brock, managing director of Nutriment, adds “Not only do the awards promote the achievements of women in business, they also offer inspiration, motivation and support to any woman who dreams of starting her own business.”