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Top business award for black belt Rachel

PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:54 15 March 2010

WHEN it comes to all things business, Rachel Ducker is already proving she is something of a black belt.

WHEN it comes to all things business, Rachel Ducker is already proving she is something of a black belt.

The 23-year-old entrepreneur has just taken the prestigious title of East of England Young Businesswoman of the Year - a mere seven months after starting up her own PR company Apparition Marketing and Design.

Working out of two bases in Well Street, Bury St Edmunds, and Market Place, Halesworth, Rachel impressed a panel of judges with her drive and vision to win this year's Institute of Directors' award. And she puts some of her success down to her martial arts background, where she is an expert in the Korean system of Kuk Sool Won.

She told the EADT: “I have been practising martial arts since I was two years old and believe this has had a big role to play in helping me to have the concentration, focus and determination to put into my own business.

“I don't know if I would be where I was today if I didn't have that experience and confidence in myself.

“It is a stress reliever as well. My commitment to martial arts is still very important to me.” Rachel's father Martin runs a string of martial arts academies throughout the area. He and her mother Alison are both Kuk Sool Won masters.

Rachel is a fourth degree black belt, making her one of the highest qualified women in Europe. To make it a family affair, her brother Jason, 21, is also a fourth degree black belt.

Rachel's positive outlook and confidence gave her the impetus to strike out on her own in business.

She said: “I have lots of experience in various industries, such as publishing, design, web development and online marketing. I got to the stage where I thought if I didn't do it now I don't know if I will ever get the chance. So I took a leap of faith.

“I am very determined, but my attitude is one of a caring nature. The two complement each other well.

“I felt I could give a really nice service and develop a new way of business - not one that is all about financial gain or getting as many clients as you can, but one which helps other businesses to grow.”

Despite being able to punch above her own weight, Rachel said it was still intimidating to go before the six judges for the Young Businesswoman of the Year award.

A 20,000-word essay and a 20-minute Powerpoint presentation proved quite daunting. Rachel said: “It was very Dragon's Den-like and quite intimidating as they were all past winners of the award.”

However, now she has won the title Rachel is firmly focused on the future

She said: “Hopefully it's onwards and upwards. I don't look back. Who knows what will happen in the future, but I would like the business to continue growing.”

- Full round up of all the business awards in Tuesday's Business East.

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