Young UK Entrepreneur who Fled War-Torn Balkans Wins Top Business Award

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A former child refugee behind a pioneering London UK computer recycling business has won the prestigious Young Business Person of the Year award.

Peter Paduh, 28, came to Britain on his own from the war-stricken Balkans at the age of 15.

He learnt English, studied for a computer science degree and then in 2003 launched Maxitech – a business providing ethical and environmental recycling services for firms with redundant computers.

Now he has been acclaimed top young entrepreneur at the Chamber of Commerce’s 2005 London Business Awards, designed to celebrate drive, talent and enterprise in the business industry.

Mr Paduh said: “It is a fantastic honour to win this award. I ran my first business at the age of 12, selling Commodore 64 computers to friends and small businesses. But when war broke out in the Balkans I was forced to flee.

“I arrived in the UK with only 30 Deutschmarks in my pocket and probably the same amount of English words in my vocabulary. But through hard work and the support of the community I came through and it’s fantastic to be able to give something back now.”

The Young Business Person of the Year award was sponsored by ITV and the Evening standard, and judged on a number of criteria, including vision, leadership, ambition, entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, innovation and dedication. Mr Paduh was praised for his passion, enthusiasm and unwavering desire to succeed at the awards ceremony at the Park Lane Hotel in London on November 9.

Maxitech provides a win-win solution for firms who want to upgrade their computer systems. Instead of dumping the old equipment in landfills, they take it off their hands, wipe all the data, recondition the computers and bring them back into use for charities and voluntary groups. Haringey Council, Shell London, Lloyd’s of London and the Bank of England are among its clients. Maxitech has also provided training opportunities for more than 100 refugees and underprivileged workers at its base in North London, Haringey.

Mr Paduh said: “We live in a throw away society where we often ignore opportunities old equipment can afford to the underprivileged. We provide often-neglected communities with access to technology and at the same time benefit the environment.”

In September Mr Paduh received the London Day Award certificate from Mayor Ken Livingstone in recognition of his “outstanding contribution to life in London”.

He is also a finalist in the Enterprising Young Brits 2005 awards and is due to meet Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Councillor Quincy Prescott of Hornsey, Haringey, said: “We promote good business in Haringey and we are delighted that Peter has reached the final of this prestigious award. We wish him all the best as he certainly stands out as a model businessman in the community.”

For interviews and photo opportunities call Peter Paduh on 0870 199 5010.

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