Best foot forward for Jennifer

Jennifer Duthie, from Blackpool, with her Skribbies shoes
Jennifer Duthie, from Blackpool, with her Skribbies shoes
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Former investment banker Jennifer Duthie (pictured) is in the running to be crowned a top national businesswoman.

The 27-year-old, from Blackpool, who lost her job when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, is the only woman out of eight finalists, on the shortlist for Shell LiveWIRE’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Jennifer set up her innovative children’s shoe company Skribbies last year and has been developing the trainers, which can be decorated by children with special pens and stickers - and it all wipes off so they can start again.

The former Arnold School pupil has already collected a £1,000 start-up grant as part of the monthly Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Awards for her highly original footwear brand.

The Grand Ideas Awards have been given to 48 budding business developers over the course of the last year. Of this group, Jennifer and seven other young entrepreneurs have been shortlisted as the most innovative and promising businesses and will compete for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year title and £10,000 prize on November 21. The awards ceremony will held at Millbank Tower, London.

Business management graduate Jennifer said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected as a finalist for such a prestigious award.

“I hope to be able to inspire other young entrepreneurs, especially women to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams – as one day they could be an awards finalist too.

“It would make a massive impact on Skribbies to win the award and I am really excited for the final.”

Jennifer will now undergo a thorough judging process by a panel of eight independent business experts, including Prof Mark Hart, professor of small business and entrepreneurship in Aston Business School and Alex Mitchell, co-founder and director of the Young Brits Network and UK President of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance.

Each pair of Skribbies shoes comes with a pack of six pens, monster stickers and a wristband to wipe off drawings.