Penny Streeter was in her early twenties when she set up her first recruitment business with her mother and a former colleague. They rented an office, took out a bank loan and enjoyed two months of decent trading in 1989. Then the business collapsed, owing £20,000 to creditors, because of the economic downturn. When Streeter’s marriage ended a few years later, she found herself living on benefits in a hostel with her three children.
In 1996, she had another try at being an entrepreneur, launching a venture specialising in finding work for nurses. After just a year, the business turned over £1m. A24, based in south London, expanded to cover doctors and other health workers and now has annual sales of nearly £50m.
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