A WOMAN who spent £10,000 of her savings to set up a recruitment firm has been shortlisted for an award.
Catherine Kennard, 27, who founded Lovework in January, has been nominated for female entrepreneur of the year by Smarta 100.
She has a one-in-10 chance of winning and needs public votes to improve her current third-placed standing.
Lovework has already been named one of Britain’s best 100 small businesses.
Mrs Kennard, who lives in Hofmann Mews, Henley, said: “I noticed that entrepreneurial businesses, more than any other, need the very best team of people to help their ventures to be truly successful.
“At the same time, I realised that such businesses often lack the recruitment function and budget that many bigger companies have at their disposal. Further, in this high-growth and early stage environment, managers and directors often lack sufficient time to dedicate to searching for new recruits since all hands are needed on deck to push the business forward.”
Mrs Kennard graduated from Durham University with a 2:1 in natural sciences in 2007 and joined Michael Page International on its graduate scheme as a consultant.
She left after two years because she lacked motivation working in a large company and became a science teacher at Reed’s School in Surrey, where she taught biology and chemistry.
She left after six months because she didn’t feel “totally fulfilled” and was head-hunted to work as a senior consultant at the Bright Network, a social network business.
Mrs Kennard said: “From there I developed the bug for working in a small, high-growth, agile environment. I loved my new found responsibility as well as the feeling of being valued and of having a genuine impact on the business.
“I relished the challenge of driving my own workflow each day as opposed to being closely managed and for being directly accountable for the outcome of that.
“I also felt caught up in the energy and buzz of working in a high-growth company where the priorities continuously change.
“As a result, as I developed the recruitment arm of the business, I directed my efforts towards start-ups and to helping people who, like me, may be feeling unfulfilled in their current roles to access these exciting positions.”
Mrs Kennard is married to John, a commercial manager for the Lotus Formula 1 team and they have two dogs, Freddie, a whippet, and Max, a poodle.
Voting for the Smart 100 awards closes on November 1. For more information and to vote, visit