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Lucy is shortlisted for prize worth £120,000

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By: Jenny Waddington

FORGET Dr Dolittle - Coventry has its very own Dr Lulittle.

Lucy McCarthy is hoping to have her life transformed by the Telegraph-backed competition 'The Business' which has a prize worth an amazing £120,000, which includes free use of a city centre shop for a year.

The 31-year-old is hoping to turn her talents into a thriving business in the City Arcade arcade, by becoming photographer to Coventry and Warwickshire's pets. Her love for all four-legged creatures led her to devise a business plan which would see her run a shop and studio to sell animal portraits and animal-inspired gifts.

She also aims to help rehome animals by taking their photograph and having the image put on a greeting card, as well as staging regular talks on issues including animal communication, rehoming an animal and looking after your pet.

Lucy said: "I have always loved animals and when I came back from Argentina when I was 18, my sister saw all the pictures of me cuddling llamas and lambs.

"Llamas have a tendency to spit but they didn't at me. She said you are like Dr Dolittle - you are Dr Lulittle. The nickname stuck."

The talented entrepreneur briefly worked in London as a fashion photographer where she did retouching for high-profile clients including Vogue and The Sunday Times.

But when she started to feel her talents weren't being used to their full capacity, she returned to her home in Coventry to work in fashion buying.

She added: "I also felt in this role that my creativity wasn't being used and I wanted to make creative decisions. So, I quit my job and got some part-time work and launched Dr Lulittle Pet Photography.

"My family, friends and work colleagues are all really supportive.

They are finding animals for me that would like their photo taken. I will be doing a shoot with some rats in a couple of months."

But it was when she spotted an article in the Coventry Telegraph, offering budding businessmen and women the chance to set up a shop in the city, that she began to see her venture really taking off.

"My eyes lit up as I realised it was the best way for me to create a platform for my business and realised it was perfect for me, as I could combine the shop and studio together.

"Winning this competition would mean I would be putting myself out there and will mean my business has fast-forwarded a few years. It would make the ultimate difference."

Since the competition launch we have been inundated and will feature more budding entrepreneurs over the coming weeks.

THE INCREDIBLE Coventry Telegraph-backed competition 'The Business' offers one lucky reader the chance to transform their life.

The winner of this unique contest will get free use of a city centre shop for a year - and the chance to kickstart their business dream.

The package is a joint initiative between Coventry City Council, city centre management group CV One, the Coventry Telegraph and Mercia. We are looking for entrepreneurs who have the talent, creativity, enthusiasm and drive to build their own business and be their own boss.

Unit 14 in the City Arcade is up for grabs, rent-free for one year and the lucky winner will need to complement and add vibrancy to this retail area.

Anyone interested in entering the competition needs to submit their business plan at www.
coventrytelegraph.net/thebusiness and five shortlisted entries will meet with a panel, who decide on the lucky winner.

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BUDDING BUSINESSWOMAN: Coventry's Lucy McCarthy, and (inset) and example of her work