THREE years after launching her promotional staffing agency on campus, Sunderland University graduate Fern Snailham has now been named as one of the UK’s leading female entrepreneurs.

The 25-year-old has been included in a list of 32 UK female entrepreneurs to look out for by Business Leader, the go-to industry bible for businesses.

Fern, 25, started out with just £800 in her pocket, zero staff and a burning ambition to grow her business.

Now UNEEK Staffing has grown into a flourishing business with a projected turnover of more than £500k, a database of over 4,000 staff and a list of clients running the length and breadth of the country from football clubs, racecourses, gyms, exhibitions, automotive, retail, food and drink brands, charities, shopping centres, pop up shops, and roadshows.

The first-class Business Management graduate was named Duke of York Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018.

She said: “I feel honoured to be recognised for making waves in the business world.

“I am so grateful to have made the list as one of the UK’s top Female Entrepreneurs. Credit always to everyone I work with.”

She added: “I am very ambitious and always want to operate in an innovative and memorable way across communities and within business to help inspire others.”

Fern moved into new premises in Team Valley, Gateshead, last year, to cope with the business growth, having been given her start by the Enterprise Place, the University of Sunderland’s business support facility which gave her access to their co-working office space in Hope Street Xchange, Sunderland’s centre for enterprise and innovation.

Laura Foster, Enterprise Place manager, said: “Since joining the Enterprise Place in 2017, we’ve seen Fern go from strength-to-strength.

“She has shown determination and passion and is an inspirational example of a graduate entrepreneur. 

“She fully deserves this latest success, being named among the UK’s leading female entrepreneurs and we have every confidence her business will continue to flourish.” 

Fern also applied for and won a £2,500 University DOSH (Development Office Scholarships) Futures Fund award to support and enhance her business in order to maximize and open new opportunities to enable growth and stability. 

Fern, who is from Stanley, said: “It has been crazy since I launched UNEEK staffing in 2017.

“The high growth of the company was challenging as the way we operate always needs to align but also ensure we are keeping to our core values. Working with all of our amazing staff and clients UK wide has been a blessing.”

She added: “My knowledge of dealing with clients and situations have developed so much, I’ve had to learn everything pretty quickly. I even had to develop my own website from scratch, as funds were tight when I first started out, but it’s been all worth it.

“Luckily I could draw on all the expertise around the Enterprise Place which has been invaluable.

“I’m so pleased I took the plunge and had the confidence to go out and grow my own business.”