Montezuma chocolate chief scoops businesswoman award

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Founders of Montezuma's Chocolates Helen Pattinson and husband Simon
Founders of Montezuma's Chocolates Helen Pattinson and husband Simon
Helen Pattinson, co-founder and director with husband Simon of chocolate firm Montezuma, has been named winner of the Natwest everywoman Athena Award for female business owners aged 36–49.

A year-long trip around South America inspired Pattinson, previously a solicitor, to found the company in 2000 to create chocolate made from fairly-traded, sustainably-sourced cocoa beans.

She was forced to make the chocolate herself when her appointed manufacturer folded without notice, and faced a massive excess of stock in 2008 as a result of poor weather. But she bounced back from these setbacks to grow sales to their current £6M mark.

Distinguished group

Pattinson, aged 42, joined a distinguished group of businesswomen also recognised by the everywoman awards. They included Alexandra Tamasan, aged 25, boss of online pet food firm, who won the everywoman Artemis award for female business owners aged 25 and under.

Among others, Claudette Daysel won everywoman’s Gaia Award for a woman running a business with a clearly defined social or ethical purpose. She founded Benjamin UK, which provides residential therapy for children aged 12–18 who have been subjected to extreme trauma.

“As well as turning over significant revenues, these women all demonstrate passion for supporting and growing their teams, running socially responsible businesses and acting as ambassadors to UK plc overseas,” ​said everywoman founder Maxine Benson. 

  • Check out our gallery of Women on top in food and drink​ for women leading the way in the food and drink industry.

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