May 22 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
A teenage entrepreneur from Dagenham has turned his life around and scooped first place at an award ceremony for start-up businesses.
Chris Smith, 19, of Porters Avenue, is facing a bright future after winning The Small Business Consultancy (TSBC) Start-up Business of the Year 2011 award for his portable heating venture, Hydro Heating.
After a difficult time at Jo Richardson Community School, Dagenham, Chris left in just Year 9 and found himself on a downward spiral.
He said: “I was on the dole, going down the wrong path and had a chance to turn my life around.
“My family have seen a massive difference in me and they all say they’re proud.
“This has all happened in a short time and I’m still trying to get used to it all, the programme was very hands on and taught me how to start a business.”
The E=MC2 programme, run by TSBC, allowed Chris to engage in a more hands on approach to learning business. His award-winning product, a portable hydrogen heater, was the result of a lot of trial and error, eventually combining a hybrid car engine and a caravan heater.
Chris was handed a place on the prestigious Cass Business School’s New Venture Creation Programme for his first place finish, an opportunity worth £2,000.
A panel of judges, including former Dragon’s Den member Rachel Elnaugh, cut 50 entrants from seven London boroughs down to four finalists fighting for the top spot.
Three of the four businesses chosen were from Barking and Dagenham, as Caribbean catering business, Peas and Love and mobile barber, Power Cuts, joined Chris in the final.
Chris is now employed by TSBC and has found a role that will enable him to be creative and continue on the path to success.
He added: “I always thought I was creative at school, but now I’m actually designing a logo and not drawing on my books in class.”
This article features as part of the Post campaign Choose Your Future.
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