12:51PM, Thursday 26 April 2012
Watch out ‘dragons’ a young businessman with fire in his belly is hot on your tail.
Maidonian Sam Hargreaves has proved himself to be an entrepreneur worth watching.
The 20-year-old was named on Monday as the London regional finalist of the Local Business Accelerators competition, run by the Advertiser in partnership with the Newspaper Society.
He impressed judges with his firm Gadgets4Everyone set up at his parents Ray Mead Road home using £5,000 saved from a Saturday job.
He said: “It was a really big surprise. I was ecstatic.
"Hopefully it will push the business forward and show what local advertising can do for it.”
Sam won the Maidenhead heat of the national competition in January, scooping £5,000 worth of free advertising and mentoring from local business experts.
He went through to regional final where a panel of judges picked his business based on its originality, competitiveness, finances and future prospects, communication skills, positive impact on the local community and the potential benefit from local newspaper advertising.
He will now battle it out with 11 other regional winners to be named national champion. The winner will be announced this summer and will receive mentoring from Deborah Meaden from Dragons Den and an advertising campaign devised by a top London agency.
Sam said it was an ‘amazing’ opportunity.
His idea to collect broken and unwanted gadgets and refurbish and resell them was sparked a few years ago in his bedroom and he developed the business plan as part of an A Level project at Desborough School.
It was an immediate success and a week before he was due to go to university he decided to skip it so he could invest more time in the company.
Since then the business has doubled in size and reached a £500,000 turnover and opened a second office in Wooburn Green.
Sam, who aspires to be like billionaire Richard Branson, has celebrated his success by buying himself a new Audi TT convertible and flat in Flackwell Heath.
He said: “I have no regrets about not going to uni.
"My drive is to prove to everyone that I can do it and make it a success.”
Advertiser editor Martin Trepte said: “The Local Business Accelerators competition aimed to show how local newspapers champion the spirit of entrepreneurship and are a vital medium for helping businesses to grow.
"It’s a fantastic result that a Maidenhead firm is the London region winner and we wish Sam every success in the national final in June.”
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