Lowestoft: Oh baby! Entrepreneur’s business brainwave

Paul Jenkins of maternitycover.com

Paul Jenkins of maternitycover.com - Credit: Archant

An entrepreneur whose business career started on Beccles market has this week launched a new company aiming to fill a gap in the market for maternity cover recruitment.

Paul Jenkins, 44, said maternitycover.com had been inspired by his experiences during a successful career in recruitment when he discovered that maternity leave often caused a serious headache to employers trying to fill the gap.

As the website for his national enterprise went live on Monday, the former pupil of Kirkley High School in Lowestoft said he was proud of the way his business would benefit the mother-to-be as well as the employer.

Unlike any other recruitment company, it pledges to give up to £1,000 in cash or vouchers to every woman whose job is covered by the firm - the equivalent to seven weeks of statutory maternity pay.

Mr Jenkins, who grew up in Broadwaters Road, Lowestoft, and went on to study business studies at Lowestoft College recalled that his entrepreneurial spirit had developed as a teenager.

“My friend’s father ran a sweetshop in Lowestoft and that gave us the idea of selling sweets on Beccles market on a Sunday. We used to take up to £1,000 on a single day,” he said.

After moving to Essex and living with his grandparents, his career on the markets took off in towns such as Basildon and Dartford, but he remembers it was not always an easy life.

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“We had to queue at 3am to see if we could get a pitch,” he said.

Following a spell selling fruit and veg at London’s Covent Garden market, he moved into the recruitment business, specialising in the IT world, after seeing an advert in the Evening Standard promising a BMW and elevated salary.

Mr Jenkins said it was three years ago, while doing some work for a friend’s HR recruitment business, that he first realised maternity cover was an interesting sector.

He said: “There were no specialists in the field; it was normally bolted on to another business.”

Mr Jenkins said his venture had already received a lot of interest, including approaches to fill vacancies ranging from doctors to accountants.

The business, being launched in Brentwood, Essex, is starting with eight staff but Mr Jenkins is already looking to bring in more recruitment specialists.