24 May, 2019 - 13:23 By Tony Quested

Champagne at the double for Cambridge woman entrepreneurs

Enterprise uncorked: Poppy Gustafsson (second left) and Sherry Coutu (second right) share the winners’ platform at the Veuve Cliquot event

Cambridge duo Sherry Coutu and Poppy Gustafsson scooped major accolades in Veuve Clicquot’s Business Women Awards 2019 at a sparkling event in Kensington last night.

Coutu, the founder and inspiration behind the transformative Founders4Schools initiative, chair of Raspberry Pi (Trading), Workfinder & The Scaleup Institute, won the Social Purpose Award.

Darktrace CEO (EMEA) Gustafsson – who in March was named Business Weekly/Cambridge Judge Business School Woman Entrepreneur of the Year – won the New Generation Award.

Judges said: “Sherry’s outstanding efforts to connect young people with successful businesses and therefore helping them make informed decisions about their future, was one of the key achievements outlined by the judging panel.

“Poppy Gustafsson’s mathematical and data-driven mindset has spearheaded the growth of Darktrace which after five years, under her leadership, was recently valued at $1.65 billion.”

Judges added that by building smart connections with over 3,000 partners including teachers, parents and leaders of the business community, Founders4Schools’ social purpose was to help all young people in the UK be well-informed about their future options, motivated to succeed and equipped to lead enterprising lives.

“The judging panel was impressed with the social impact that Sherry has made through the Founders4Schools platform so far, which has supported over 900,000 Student-Employer Encounters in the classroom or workplace and nearly 290,000 students.”

Coutu added: “I am thrilled to receive the Social Purpose Award from Veuve Clicquot for my work at Founders4schools and Workfinder. It has been such an immense privilege to work with amazing colleagues and friends to help bring about change and I love seeing what happens when our technologies facilitate communities acting together on issues they care about.

“Businesses need young talent with experience of the workplace in order to flourish and their employees benefit from hosting work experience and from speaking to students in classrooms. I firmly believe we can make work experience work for everyone and thereby reduce inequality and promote inclusive prosperity.”

The judges noted Poppy Gustafsson’s role in developing the Darktrace cyber security technology which has been deployed more than 5,000 times across five continents, as well as growing the organisation globally to 900 employees.

They said: “Poppy’s passion for encouraging young women into technology careers was also recognised; Darktrace recently became a sponsor of WISE, a social enterprise that aims to increase female participation in science and technology.”

Gustafsson said: “I am honoured to receive the New Generation Award from Veuve Clicquot. The phenomenal success that Darktrace is experiencing is testament to the passion, fearlessness and hard work of our brilliant team of 900 employees, as well as the fundamental innovation behind our autonomous fight back technology.”

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