Nine budding business people from across the country were the stars of the New Entrepreneur Scholarships (NES) Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2006 held in London during Enterprise Week.
Sheffield Enterprise Agency (SENTA) operates the NES programme on a regional level on behalf of the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies meaning it extends a helping hand beyond the city boundaries by developing and supporting new businesses across the Yorkshire and Humber region.
The students enrolled on the NES programme come from backgrounds that have traditionally found it difficult to access business support including unemployed, disabled, ex offenders and single parents.
Doncaster-based new entrepreneur Maria van den Berg represented the Yorkshire and Humber region at the awards ceremony, which was won by Victoria Lynch of Stockton-on-Tees.
Maria set up a nursery in Doncaster two years ago, which now has four staff and 20 children under its care. The Toddle Inn, based on the A19 between Bentley and Askern, has built up an enviable reputation because of its unique natural surroundings, dedicated baby room and educational learning for all cultural backgrounds.
Saria Khan, runner up in BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’, presented all the regional winners with awards and cheques.
Furthermore, Sheffield Enterprise Agency’s Julie Booth, NES Administrator, was also honoured at the awards for her contribution towards the programme since it began six years ago. Nigel Griffiths MP, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, presented Julie with a certificate.
SENTA Enterprise Director Sandra Edwards said: “People in groups identified by NES often have the ideas and ambition to succeed but find it hard to secure the relevant assistance and finance. This programme involves access to pre and post start-up support that is tailored to individual needs and skills.
“The day was incredibly enjoyable and a just reward for all the hard work put in by local entrepreneurs and SENTA staff.”
The NES programme, which is funded by the LSC, aims to break down potential barriers with a comprehensive package of support, mentoring and funding in order to nurture the start-up and growth of new businesses. It is delivered by the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies (NFEA) through it’s members in partnership with the Association of Business Schools and The Prince’s Trust.
Sheffield Enterprise Agency (SENTA) is part of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and provides fully integrated support to new business start-ups and businesses up to two years old.