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Awards Reward Borough's Brightest Young Business Brains

posted 13 May 2010, 06:13 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 13 May 2010, 06:25 ]

Rotherham’s most promising young businessmen and women are being urged to showcase their entrepreneurial talent by entering an award which recognises and rewards young business acumen.


Back for the fifth year, Rotherham’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2010, organised by the Rotherham Enterprise Network (REN), is aimed at passionate young people who often don’t get the recognition they deserve in the business world because they lack the necessary clout or experience.


The awards also deliver a £1,500 cash investment to the overall winner.


Every single year the awards have uncovered a wealth of inspiring young talent, from an ice sculptor working out of a converted garage, to teenagers setting up a successful IT business, creative web designers, and skilled dance teachers. The awards also give them a unique opportunity to promote what they do.


Awards organiser and judge Geoff Link, enterprise manager at RiDO, said: “We’re looking for the brightest young business brains to enter these awards.


Each year the calibre of the candidates gets more and more impressive. And what’s even more interesting is that many of these small start-up companies are not only surviving in the recession – they are actually thriving during these difficult times too.


“These young people are building their own futures. They show us that there is a great deal of inspiring young talent out there waiting to be unlocked and rewarded.


“And that really is a reassuring message for the borough.  Young entrepreneurs - Rotherham needs you!”


Last year Chris Wright, now 23, picked up the top prize for his successful business IT Desk that he set up in 2006, aged just 19.


Judges discovered that unlike many companies, IT Desk had actually capitalised on the downturn as an increasing number of small businesses opted to reduce costs by outsourcing IT rather than employing an in-house IT manager.


Chris said: “The fact that the borough runs an award like this makes it possible for young people like me to get ourselves out there, it gives you something to aim at – and something to be proud of.


“Receiving this sort of recognition makes all the hard work worthwhile, it’s a real pat on the back.  Winning this award was a real milestone for me, it brought in a useful amount of media coverage and helping me to drive the business forward and develop IT Desk’s reputation.”


The year before Gavin Winder and Joshua Abbotts, then aged 26, won the Best New Start Up category as well as the overall title for their graphic and web design business, Prototype Creative.


The Barnsley College graduates have a string of corporate clients – and won a lot of valuable new business as a direct result of their win.


Gavin Winder said: “We entered to prove to ourselves that what we had, and what we do, is a viable product.  The result showed that it was – and that other people believed we were worthy of being Young Entrepreneurs of the year. It was a great feeling.”


The awards are sponsored and organised by Rotherham Enterprise Network (REN), and UK Steel Enterprise. The project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


This year the overall winner will receive £1,000, from award sponsors UK Steel Enterprise, with the four category winners taking home £500 each from the other sponsors, Business Link Yorkshire, Yorkshire Forward, Voluntary Action Rotherham and Rotherham Youth Enterprise.


This year’s entrants can choose from the following categories: Best New Start-up (trading between six months and two years), Best Established Business (trading more than two years), Best Business IT/Technology and Business Most Determined to Succeed.


Entry forms are available by calling Geoff on 01709 254444, or Jackie Frost on 01709 515410, by visiting your local library or can be downloaded here. All applicants must submit all the application details to the judges by July 16 2010.


The overall winner is to be announced at the Chamber awards ceremony in Rotherham in October.