A WOMAN who set up her business while fighting breast cancer has been shortlisted for a national award.

Sue Harbottle-Sear from East Hoathly is shortlisted in two categories of the Rural Business Awards.

Her business Konzepts is a social enterprise and a percentage of profits goes to support people in rural communities.

Sue, 59, describes her business as “social media with a social conscience”.

In January 2016, she was diagnosed with breast cancer following a mammogram, resulting in a mastectomy in March.

In mid-May, she began a course of chemotherapy.

Despite a high risk of infection and debilitating side effects, Sue continued to work full-time for as long as she was physically capable.

She struggled to keep going until she lost her job in October 2016 with just one month’s salary to compensate.

“It was a tough time with little help available, but I was determined to find a way to support myself and initially it was about sheer survival.

“This was going to be tough as I was over 55, had cancer, lived rurally and was not even able to work part time due to the effects of chemotherapy.

“My attitude was if everything conspires against you, one has to find a way out – not everyone has that drive.”

Sue came up with the idea while helping a friend whose rural drinks business Facebook page and website needed updating.

She said: “Konzepts is based in a truly rural location and hence we are aware of the economic and personal challenges this environment can bring.

“For those living in these communities, life is not as idyllic as many believe it to be.

“We set out to help small rural businesses access the benefits the digital world has to offer, by providing social media and web design services at affordable rates.

“The intention is to extend these services throughout the UK, allowing more rural businesses to connect with the digital world and enabling them to grow their brands and customer bases.

“Especially in smaller businesses, time is very valuable and the focus needs to be on carrying out the core business activities and, for many business owners, marketing may not be a strength.

“By helping rural businesses to grow, they are likely to employ further staff, helping to reduce the challenging employment issues in their communities.”