AN ENTREPRENEUR from Cwmbran is among 21 women who have been named as finalists in the 2019 NatWest Everywoman Awards.

Kelli Aspland, co-director of Solar Buddies is one of two Welsh businesswomen to be named as a finalist in The Aphrodite Award, which will be awarded to a woman who founded her business while raising a child or children aged 12 or under.

Ms Aspland is co-inventor and co-founder of Solar Buddies, a specialist sun cream applicator for children.


The idea for Solar Buddies arose after Ms Aspland experienced first-hand the issues her children were having applying their own sun cream at school. One of her older children had been asked to help her younger son apply sun cream as no-touch policies meant that staff were unable to help. The result was a mess and an argument between the siblings.

Ms Aspland realised this was a common problem among school children, and, with her friend Laura Waters, set about designing an applicator that would be easy for children to use themselves and would work effectively with no mess. Starting with a £5,000 loan from her father, Ms Aspland worked with students on a re-useable roller ball design and set up a patent for the product.

This was her first foray back into the working world.

For many years, she had been caring full-time for her daughter, who had leukaemia, and son, who required open heart surgery.

Ms Aspland threw herself into the challenge, securing investment from GoCompare founder Hayley Parsons, and even tweeting JoJo Maman Bébé to pitch successfully for Solar Buddies to be stocked. The business now has a successful website has grown in revenue by more than 200 per cent in the last two years, and sells products nationwide, and increasingly internationally.

Last year the partners picked up the Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the inaugural South Wales Argus Business Awards.

Now in their 17th year, the NatWest Everywoman Awards celebrate female entrepreneurs from all walks of life providing a platform for them to share their achievements.


From the founders of international multi-million-pound empires to those spearheading social enterprises for the greater good, this year’s finalists are the role models whose success will inspire future generations of female entrepreneurs.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in December 2019 at Grosvenor House, London.

Yvonne Greeves, director of Women in Business at NatWest, said: “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. To help these entrepreneurs and would-be business owners, NatWest has a network of more than 500 externally accredited Women in Business specialists who understand our customers’ ambitions and provide business advice, mentoring and networking opportunities.”