As with all the greatest success stories, Sarah Reeves' starts off with great misfortune. After being laid off twice in the aftermath of the Credit Crunch, Sarah decided to go into business for herself.

In 2012 she set up a franchise of Bright and Beautiful Homes, an eco-friendly and ethical housekeeping business, operating in The Chilterns, Great Missenden, Wendover, Amersham and surrounding areas.

She has now been shortlisted for a Best Business Woman Award in the Best Franchisee category, with the ceremony due to take place on October 20.

The awards are in their second year with business women from across the country nominated for 18 awards.

Since its launch Sarah's franchise has not just grown to employ a further 12 housekeepers, who work in hundred of local homes, but has also become an active part of the community.

In addition to looking after a number of vulnerable people with conditions such as dementia, autism and schizophrenia, Sarah’s business also supports the Bucks Air Ambulance and the Household Cavalry, and also provides a free ironing service to one family a week via the Pepper Foundation which provides dedicated nursing support for children who have a terminal or life limiting illness and their families.

Last year's winners of the awards celebrating the best achievements of businesswomen from across the country

Sarah said: “I’m so delighted to be shortlisted for this award, not only for myself but for all the people who have supported me as I built and grew my business.

"From my family and friends to our amazing clients and other local businesses including my Tesco delivery lady, who insisted on taking some of my leaflets in the early days.

Will Sarah bring back the award on the 20th?

“I’m so proud to have been able to create a business in the Chilterns area that supports and empowers my community – from our clients who need their homes cared for so they can enjoy their free time to our teams who have fair employment rights and flexible working hours and the local charities and that we are able to support.”