A YOUNG entrepreneur who is now seeing the York-based magazine she started in her living room grace the shelves of bookshops across the UK is in the running for a national award.

Cherie Federico has been named as one of the 25 finalists in the Enterprising Young Brits competition, which rewards up-and-coming entrepreneurs who have turned their business dreams into reality.

The 28-year-old New Yorker quit her full-time graduate job in 2005 to concentrate on making a name for her arts magazine Aesthetica, which she had started two years earlier - and her gamble has been repaid by her publication attracting a readership of 45,000 and being stocked in WH Smith and Borders.

Aesthetica, based at Rowntree Wharf, in York, covers British literature, music, film, theatre and visual arts and sells throughout the UK, with more than 200 institutions such as universities and schools also subscribing.

Now Cherie will be competing with four rivals in the creative category of the Enterprising Young Brits awards, which will see the winner receive a cheque for £1,000 and a trophy presented by Chancellor Alistair Darling.

First she must face a panel of judges including Birmingham City Football Club managing director Karren Brady and Dominic McVey, a 22-year-old millionaire and star of C4's Millionaires Mission.

"I'm obviously nervous, but it's fantastic to be recognised and that's reward for the hard work of everybody at Aesthetica," said Cherie, who last year scooped The Press Young Business Entrepreneur Of The Year Award having set up the magazine using her own credit card while doing a master's degree in contemporary literature at what was then York St John College.

"The magazine is going from strength to strength, especially following the distribution deal with WH Smith, and now this - it's all still sinking in."

The inspiration for Aesthetica came while Cherie was doing a publishing internship in the US and, after moving to York to continue her studies, she spotted a gap in the magazine market.

"There wasn't anything like Aesthetica at the time, so I decided to do it myself - and there's still no other magazine like it," she said.

"It's grown and grown with each issue. To leave my job in 2005 and become self-employed was a little overwhelming at first, but I definitely haven't regretted it.

"The future is really bright for Aesthetica, and to win this award would be a great achievement for all the people associated with the magazine."

The Enterprising Young Brits final, run by the Make Your Mark campaign, takes place in London on Tuesday during National Enterprise Week.