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Award-winning agency The Recruitment Duo growing with specialist support

Published: 11 April 2024

Business owners receiving advice from a specialist adviser

Solihull start-up The Recruitment Duo share their experience of receiving expert advice and grant support through Business Growth West Midlands.

Looking for grants and funded support in your area? Contact us today.


Pictured, from left: Louise Dunn & Holly Vaughan, Founders of the Recruitment Duo, and Charlotte Bowden, Business Growth West Midlands specialist adviser.

Starting out

Holly Vaughan and Louise Dunn boast 35 years of recruitment experience work between them. They’d been colleagues at an international recruitment agency for many years and always had ambitions to some day go out on their own. When the pair were furloughed due to COVID in 2020, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. They used the time to develop branding, business plans and raise initial capital, and on 1 October 2021 The Recruitment Duo was launched with a simple social media post. 

Their base of Solihull has a large number of head offices, making it the perfect location for their recruitment agency, which specialises in business support recruitment such as Administration, PA, Customer Service, Sales/Marketing, HR and Finance dealing with both permanent and temporary contracts. They are current working with nearly 40 clients and has already helped over 170 people into jobs. 

The Recruitment Duo’s ambition is to become the number one recruitment partner of choice in Solihull and beyond. Having seen a representative turnover increase of 175% from their first to second year of trading, and won awards such as the Solihull Chamber of Commerce “Excellence in Customer Service” 2023, they are on the right path to achieve their business growth goals.

Sandra Cunningham

Accessing support for growth

Louise and Holly began their business support journey after the Solihull Chamber of Commerce recommended they reach out to the Birmingham and Solihull Growth Hub’s Business Advisers – their area’s delivery arm of Business Growth West Midlands (BGWM).

Sandra Cunningham (pictured), an accredited BGWM Business Adviser, carried out an initial assessment, to make recommendations and referrals to help Holly and Louise on the path to growth. Holly said, “Her energy and enthusiasm is amazing – she was our champion right from the start. And so efficient; within a couple of days of our initial meeting she’d already fired off loads of emails making introductions and referrals. We were really impressed by her.”

The Duo launched with a humble business loan of £15k, and used their reputation as the key to their launch, getting and filling their first job within the first week. Now that the business is steady, succeeding and ready for growth, the entrepreneurs are focusing more on fundraising. Their next meeting will be with a BGWM specialist Access to Finance Adviser, to get personalised guidance on the right next investment steps to take. 

The Duo are also working with specialist Account Manager Charlotte Bowden who has referred them to opportunities such as the Solihull Female Business Leaders programme. Here they’ve met peers at various stages of their business journeys. It’s a safe space for communicating business challenges in a supportive environment and they are already finding it valuable. Holly commented “it’s a really special programme – you pick up so much from listening to other business owners.” 



Louise and Holly's experience demonstrates the benefits of leveraging available business support services. By tapping into these resources, they have gained awareness of grants and other funding options they would not have otherwise known about. With the support of Sandra and Charlotte, they are actively working on an application for an SME grant to develop a CRM system. “We’ve been really blown away by opening a door and then finding out how many different people there are to talk to, and they’ve been so so helpful,” Louise explained. “For example we wouldn’t have known that our business is eligible for a grant if we hadn’t accessed business support.” 

branded mugs of The Recruitment Duo

What next for this growing businesses?

The Recruitment Duo have already taken on a new member of staff, and plan to recruit additional employees to run a temp desk – a new revenue stream for their business. This will mean taking on premises, for which they are receiving guidance from their Business Advisers.

Click here to start your own growth journey with our support.