The Enterprise Vision Awards (EVAs), the biggest UK business awards for women, have unveiled the Cumbrian contenders for its upcoming finals.

This group of 161 finalists, leaders in their professions, act as role models to inspire the next generation to explore the path of entrepreneurship.

Dani Hope, from Lake District Hotels, Emma Browning of Meraki HR, Mel Walmsley from Lakes Sandwiches, Natalie Barker of M&M Business Support, Vicky Hutchinson and Carol Wallace from CreativeHutch, and Vicky Pike from The Freedom Project West Cumbria will be representing Cumbria at the awarding ceremony.

Vicky Hutchinson and Carol Wallace from CreativeHutchVicky Hutchinson and Carol Wallace from CreativeHutch (Image: Supplied)

Keswick's Ms Hope, nominated in the Hospitality Industry, joined the family enterprise in 2011, and is now director of a popular chain of six Lake District hotels.

Meraki HR, founded by Kendal's Emma Browning, aims to nurture startups and 'scale ups', helping them grow.

Ms Browning is nominated in the Customer Service category.

Mel Walmsley's family-run Lakes Sandwiches, Kendal, has evolved into a supplier of high-quality sandwiches and Food2Go products, owing to their locally sourced ingredients.

She will compete in the Family category.

M&M Business Support, created by Ambleside's Natalie Barker, offers a diverse range of services, providing support in areas from customer service to marketing, allowing clients to concentrate on their main business operations.

Natalie Barker of M&M Business SupportNatalie Barker of M&M Business Support (Image: Supplied)

Ms Barker is nominated in the Customer Service category.

Vicky Hutchinson and Carol Wallace, nominated in the Creative category, co-founders of CreativeHutch, a branding and marketing agency in Carlisle, work with a wide spectrum of businesses striving to achieve their corporate goals.

Workington's Vicky Pike, charity manager for The Freedom Project West Cumbria, works hard to fight against abuse in Cumbria, delivering services for those whose lives have been affected by both domestic and sexual abuse.

She has been nominated in the Not For Profit category.

Coral Horn, the founder of the EVAs, said: "Every year, we discover women leading innovative and impactful businesses, from home-based ventures to global brands.

"This year’s entrants took their applications to another level.

"It's clear that the UK is a hotbed of talented female entrepreneurs!"

A new awards category, the ‘One To Watch,’ has been introduced this year.

All finalists are eligible for the Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by NatWest.

Heather Waters, regional enterprise manager at NatWest, said: "We are proud to have been a sponsoring partner of the Enterprise Vision Awards over the last eleven years and once again, this shortlist showcases the incredible talent, energy and potential of female-led businesses.

"Women’s entrepreneurship is crucial to the success of the UK economy and these awards help to shine a light on the talent that is based here and the opportunities that exist.

"Importantly, the awards also present an opportunity to showcase that success – and let others hear these inspirational stories.

"Every nominee, finalist and winner should be proud of their achievements.”

The next phase in the awarding process will involve interviews with an independent panel of judges, a public vote and a robust social media campaign marked with #EVAS2024.

Past EVAs Hospitality Industry award winner, Amanda Wilson of The Pie Mill in Keswick, said: "Winning gave me a surge of confidence in my own abilities and a boost for the team who have supported our goals through unprecedented times of economic and personal challenges.

"The EVAs has been a valuable way to promote our brand and attract new customers as well as making wonderful friends and connections throughout the whole process. Good luck to all the finalists!”

The awards will take place in a grand ceremony on September 27 at the Empress Ballroom, Winter Gardens in Blackpool.