Latest News / London Livewire is UK’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2009
A 25-year-old from London has won the coveted title of Shell LiveWIRE UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2009, walking away with the prestigious title and a £10,000 cash injection for his business, a carbon-friendly transport site, similar to eBay.
Robert Matthams received the award, which recognises and celebrates the achievements of the UK’s finest young entrepreneurs, in recognition of the success of his business, Shiply.com, over the past year.
Shiply.com provides an online marketplace where people list items they need to move and then receive bids in a reverse auction format from over 5,000 rated transport companies going there anyway. By making use of spare capacity in lorries, customers can save up to 75% on their deliveries. The business has been going for just over a year and has already saved over 1.6million kg of CO2 by making use of spare capacities. The business has over 40,000 customers and has saved them over £3million in reduced transportation bills.
On winning the award Robert said: “I’m thrilled to have won such a prestigious award. Some people might say it’s mad to set up a business in a recession but I always had confidence in the strength of my business idea. The last twelve months have been amongst the most exciting of my life and I can’t wait to take my business to the next level on the back of this award. This country is full of entrepreneurial talent and support networks like Shell LiveWIRE are a great way to share ideas and get inspiration from people, just like me, determined to make a success of their businesses.”
Robert beat off stiff competition in the eight-strong final from entrepreneurial talent spanning a range of sectors from music, design and travel to IT consultancy, software development and technology.
James Smith, Chairman of Shell UK, said: “We have supported young entrepreneurs since 1982. Times have changed, but the drive and enthusiasm is as strong as ever. This year's applicants have been no exception. I wish Robert and all of the finalists every success.”
Shell LiveWIRE this year reintroduced the £10,000 Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and modernised its online business networking community, www.shell-livewire.org. 2009 also saw the launch of the Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Awards, where up to five £1,000 awards are given every month to very early stage businesses. The community has seen 20% growth this year and now has more than 100,000 members demonstrating a continuing appetite for entrepreneurialism.
Shell LiveWIRE offers online resources for start-ups such as business toolkits, a discussion forum where members can put questions to experts in every field, and essential guides to market research and legal information.
Shell-livewire.org members are used to networking online, but Shell LiveWIRE Live and the awards event has enabled them to share ideas, insights and inspiration face to face, in one of the UK’s biggest gatherings of young entrepreneurs. Hundreds of young business people from around the country attended seminars and workshops and put questions to a panel of experts, including James Murray Wells, that was chaired by Tre Azam, a star of the 2007 series of BBC 1’s The Apprentice.
John Penrose MP, Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, who gave a keynote speech at the awards, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many young people with the drive and determination to set up and run their own businesses. Given the current economic climate, it’s vital that we’re doing all we can to support them and to encourage others to follow their example too. That’s why Shell LiveWIRE and other programmes like it are so important to our economy’s future.”
The runners up were:
· Daniel Woolman from London: Binifresh™ is a compact hygiene device designed to securely fit a wheelie bin and automatically spray every 4 hours to ensure that the wheelie bin stays fresh and hygienic.
· Gregor Mackintosh from Aberdeenshire: Mackintosh of Glendaveny produces 'Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil' from home grown rapeseed.
· Simon Darker & Harry Hunter from Leeds: Think Pacific lead five-week and three-month guided expeditions to the outer islands of Fiji.
· Ross Fobian & Richard Hamnett from Manchester: AdInsight enables businesses to track phone call conversions back to their original online or offline source. This allows businesses to identify exactly which advertisements are driving sales and which are simply not worth the marketing investment
· Jon Petrie, Monmouth from DS Music ® is one of the most comprehensively stocked sheet music specialists in the UK, stocking over 8,550 different products; over 7,000 different sheet music books, and thousands of accessories, music gifts and musical instruments.
· Michael Turner from Somerset: Turnkey I.T. Solutions provide business VoIP services, web development, IT Consultancy and managed IT Support services, to SME’s.
· Sam Rickett from London: Everlution Software specialises in complex software development projects, particularly large database-driven web applications.
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