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Brave fightback by award-listed businesswoman

PUBLISHED: 12:55 12 November 2009 | UPDATED: 11:19 12 July 2010

A businesswoman who battled back after the closure of a family firm to set up her own construction company has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

A businesswoman who battled back after the closure of a family firm to set up her own construction company has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Rachel Gurney-Rackham, from Diss, was forced to close a 120 year-old building business last year after the industry was hit by the global economic downturn.

But despite the recession, the 29-year-old took the decision to form a new company, which this week saw R G Rackham move to new premises.

The businesswoman spoke of her delight yesterday after she was revealed as a finalist in the 2009 NatWest Everywoman Awards for the most inspiring entrepreneur between the ages of 26 and 35.

Mrs Gurney-Rackham, who is one of a handful of women in the male-dominated construction industry, formed R G Rackham in August 2008 following the closure of G N Rackham and Sons in Diss, which resulted in 40 redundancies.

She put her house up as security and worked seven days a week whilst studying for a BSc in building surveying to get the new business off the ground.

The company, which employs about 10 people, has undertaken nearly 900 jobs in the last year and moved to new permanent premises in Palgrave, this week.

Mrs Gurney-Rackham, who was nominated for the NatWest business award by her sister, said she could not believe that she had made it to the finals. She hopes her success will inspire other women to get into the construction industry.

“I was really, really surprised. You do not get a lot of women in the trade, but there are a lot of good women in business,” she said.

The winners of the NatWest Everywoman awards will be announced at the Dorchester Hotel, in London, on December 2.

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