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Local businesswoman recognised in awards

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 July 2009 | UPDATED: 08:20 01 August 2010

A WOMAN who has overcome adversity to set up her own business has made it through to the final of a national competition.

Sophie Garrett, of Seething, owns the online company yours2share, which enables people to find other like-minded people to share commodities, from property to horses.

A WOMAN who has overcome adversity to set up her own business has made it through to the final of a national competition.

Sophie Garrett, of Seething, owns the online company yours2share, which enables people to find other like-minded people to share commodities, from property to horses.

The company has been named as one of the UK's top businesses in the 2009 Barclays Trading Places Awards, which honours men and women who are turning their lives around by choosing to start up a business.

They recognise business heroes who may have dealt with illness or disability, faced challenging family responsibilities, or turned their back on benefits.

The 45-year-old was seriously ill for a year with cancer, which left her unable to continue to work on a full-time basis.

Sophie's employer allowed her to work reduced flexible hours from home, only going into the office a couple of times a week. However after five years she was still only able to work part-time, so decided to make a change and work for herself.

She first had the idea for yours2share in 2005. She and her partner were then living in west London, and had a small cottage in Beccles which they only visited every other weekend.

Realising that this was a waste of resources, she decided to advertise the cottage to anyone who was seeking a second home to rent on a part-time basis. But when she looked online, she discovered there was nowhere to advertise this type of rental.

Similarly, her father wanted to buy a villa abroad and expressed an interest in sharing the property with like-minded strangers, if he could find them.

Realising that the same sharing principle could be applied to all kinds of valuable assets - from boats to aircraft, mobile homes to horses, swimming pools to diamond necklaces - Sophie decided to start her own online sharing website.

“I really don't understand why it's not more mainstream,” she said. “It's almost a no-brainer. It's just so fantastic because it's so much less hassle.

“I was shocked that I got to this level because it's only the second awards that I've entered and this is by far the biggest. I've got my fingers crossed!”

Yours2share has over 10,000 unique visitors a month and 3,000 members, with over 200 more joining each month.

Barclays marketing director for local business, John Davis, said: “We hope Sophie's story will inspire other budding entrepreneurs in Norfolk, who face similar difficulties in there private lives, to come forward and turn their own business dreams into reality.”

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