East Hoathly cancer survivor Sue Harbottle-Sear who set up her own business from scratch is in the running for a top award.
Konzepts, her way to help small rural businesses access the benefits the digital world has to offer, has seen her shortlisted in two categories of the Rural Business Awards.
Originally from Germany, Sue was diagnosed with breast cancer following a mammogram in 2016, resulting in a mastectomy and a gruelling course of chemotherapy.
Despite a high risk of infection and debilitating side effects, she continued to work full time, for as long as she was capable.
With rent and bills to pay and an unsympathetic employer Sue struggled to keep going until she lost her job in October 2016 with just a month’s salary to compensate.
She said: “It was a tough time with little help available, but I was determined to find a way to support myself. Initially it was about sheer survival. This was tough as I was over 55, had cancer, lived rurally and could not even work part time due to the effects of chemotherapy. It thought if everything conspires against you, you must find a way out. Not everyone has that drive but I drew on all my past experiences to help me,”
As a certified Social Enterprise, a percentage of Konzepts’ profit is distributed to projects supporting people in rural communities such as the East Hoathly and Halland Community Garden.
Sue, 59, describes her business as ‘social media with a social conscience.’ Passionate about the countryside and rural enterprise, she came up with the idea while helping a friend whose drinks business’ Facebook page and website needed updating.
She realised her career and experience gave her a talent for generating interesting content that delivers results. Not content with just providing her service locally her business plan outlines her aim to launch the Konzepts’ franchise, firstly across the UK and then internationally.