Cariad Marketing’s managing director, Justine Perry, found herself in exalted company when she attended the finals of a prestigious national awards ceremony.

Justine, who founded Hertford-based online marketing agency Cariad six years ago, was shortlisted as a finalist in the entrepreneur of the year category at the FDM everywoman in technology awards.

Over 650 guests, including senior personnel from some of the country’s leading blue-chip companies, gathered at the London Hilton on Park Lane for the awards ceremony which is designed to celebrate and advance women in technology.

Guest speaker was the Rt. Hon Jo Swinson MP, Minister for Women and Equalities and the awards were presented by TV presenter Pollyanna Woodward of Channel 5’s The Gadget Show. Entertainment was provided by the winner of the BBC’s The Voice Jermain Jackman.

Justine, who has built Cariad in to one of Hertfordshire’s leading digital marketing agencies, was beaten to the entrepreneur of the year title by Patricia O’Hagan MBE, CEO of Northern Ireland-based Core Systems which specialises in technology solutions for high security facilities and offenders. After the ceremony Justine commented: “The word inspirational is bandied about way too much but the women I met tonight were absolutely inspirational. I met some truly motivational people who have achieved incredible things through technology. Though I didn’t win I was genuinely humbled to be a finalist alongside these incredible role models.”

The overall Woman of the Year was presented to Lt Cdr Roxane Heaton from the Royal Navy who has transformed the navy’s digital processes putting it at the forefront of digitalisation and modern learning techniques.

With only 16 per cent of all jobs in technology being filled by women the awards are a part of a national drive to encourage more girls in to the industry.

Cariad Marketing was set up around Justine’s kitchen table in 2009. It now employs 10 people and saw turnover increase by 135% last year. The agency, which is based in Cowbridge, provides bespoke internet marketing services including search engine optimisation (SEO), social media, online marketing campaigns and web design.