Maidenhead MP and Home Secretary Theresa May led applause for business rising star Sam Hargreaves at a high profile breakfast at the House of Commons yesterday.
Impressed by the success of the young entrepreneur who will learn today if he has won the national heat of the Local Business Accelerators (LBA) competition sponsored by Baylis Media Ltd, Mrs May singled out the owner of Gadgets4Everyone.co.uk for approval in the historic Churchill suite where 80 high powered executives from the likes of o2 and Oracle gathered to celebrate and support Business in Berkshire.
High profile guests attending the 'Collaborating for Growth Event' run by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) were enthusiastic about the pioneering business which is already on its way to its first million.
Gadgets4Everyone has won the local heat of the competition and went on to become London’s regional winner.
The event marks the culmination of a nine-month campaign by the local press industry which had 3,100 entries from businesses of all sizes and management teams from all ages.
The venture is supported by high profile figures including the Prime Minister, the director general of the CBI, and the Bank of England. Sam will be attending the awards ceremony today at Altitude, Millbank Tower where the winner will be announced at lunchtime.
Up for grabs is a chance to be mentored by Deborah Meadon from the BBC hit show, Dragons’ Den.
Sam, 21, who lives in Buckinghamshire and runs his gadget repair and online sales business from sites in Buckinghamshire and Essex, said: “It has been a very exciting contest which has already opened many business doors for me and introduced me to leaders who sometimes supply advice without being asked. It is good to be in such a fantastic entrepreneurial environment where someone like me can see a business grow from nothing and become a success in a short time.”
The business started in 2010 after Sam, who went to Desborough School in Maidenhead, spotted an opportunity in the burgeoning recycling market.
His mother, Gerry, who works at Holyport School advises Gadgets4Everyone on payment and accounts. Sam’s father, Paul, who runs his own financial consultancy business, supplies advice.
“He plays devils advocate and makes sure everything is good but mostly I run the business on my own and make the day to day decisions. I love doing what I do. I had a chance to go to university but deciding to step into business straight away has been the best decision I have made so far.”
He runs the business with 10 other staff.
The business, which has a reported approaching £1 million turnover is expanding its customer offering by providing a customised recycling service for the school which provides revenue through a specially designed website provided by Gadgets4Everyone.
Sam has become an Ambassador for Buckinghamshire New University where he expects to be invited to give talks and has already inspired teenagers at East Berkshire College.
Theresa May is keen to see Berkshire grow and develop in the 'coming months and years' and regards the new business-led Partnership as a significant step towards creating a dynamic environment to suit local businesses. She was pleased to see so many businesses gathering together for the special networking event and urged them to support the LEP in its important work.
“I would like to thank the Home Secretary for hosting us and giving us time from her manic schedule. I believe passionately, our whole team does, that Berkshire is a brilliant place to do business. I believe people in this room must believe that as well, which is what collaborating is all about,” said Steve Lamb, Chairman of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
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