Rosie Brent of Darlington, owner of Personalised Administrative Support Services, has won the Avanta Business Start Up of the Year at a Houses of Parliament ceremony.
Avanta supports the long term unemployed to return to work or set up as self-employed, and the firm also helped Brent realise her dream of setting up her own business, having been out of work battling bi-polar disorder for nearly three years.
Having suffered a near nervous breakdown in 2009, Brent accepted redundancy from her then employer and struggled daily with both her health and negotiating the benefits system which severely affected her confidence to reenter the job market.
Six months after setting up the business, with help from the health service and her Jobcentre, Brent has also won a number of social media awards for her creative use of Twitter and she now works with clients across the UK, growing her small business gradually.
She said: “This award is something I could not have dreamed possible just twelve months ago and I hopes that my success will be an inspiration to others in similar positions across the country at a difficult time economically.”