Emma Harrison founded A4e in Sheffield in 1991 when she took over her father’s training business. She soon established A4e’s philosophy. ‘We get dirty and do anything that will improve people’s lives,’ she says. The company helped redesign Jobcentres as open-plan agencies where job seekers sit with an adviser at a desk rather than talk through a glass window. It now runs 83 Jobcentres, handling requests from 70,000 job seekers a year. A4e also offers training and consulting services, advising 130,000 small businesses. Sales have grown 112% a year from £1.8m in 1998 to £17m in 2001, when it employed 496 people.
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