Tuesday, November 18, 2014

News: Sam shines as Rotherham Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2014

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Sam Goddard of Response Vehicle Lighting has been named as Rotherham Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2014.

The awards, now in their ninth year, cover all sectors and look to recognise the achievements of business owners under the age of 30. Part of the Rotherham Youth Enterprise (RYE) project, which provides help and support to young business owners, the awards take place annually in partnership with UK Steel Enterprise, a subsidiary of Tata Steel that has set aside finance from its Kickstart Fund to target young entrepreneurs in Rotherham.

With twelve high-calibre finalists, judges were impressed with the vision, commitment and personal courage shown by all of the entrants. The winners were announced at the Local Employment Advisory Forum taking place at Magna.

Taking the top prize was Sam Goddard, whose company, Response Vehicle Lighting, first impressed the judges to win the Best Established Business category sponsored by The Source.

Sam developed his skills throughout his childhood until he could confidently get broken lights to work again. He found that there was a market on the internet for the products and maintenance services that he could offer to operators of recovery vehicles, highway maintenance firms and haulage companies.

After finishing his GCSEs, Sam decided to turn his hobby into a profession and visited business coaches at Rotherham Youth Enterprise (RYE) for some valuable advice and to discuss the way forward. Having steadily grown his sales through eBay and his own website over the past four years, the firm now supplies a wide range of vehicle lighting products to domestic and business customers and Sam has seen a huge increase in sales and growth over the last 12 months after securing accounts with two leading UK brands.

Having won the Most Innovative Business award last year, Sam this year received a special trophy and a cheque for £1,000 for winning overall.

Other worthy category winners included Adil Hussain, who won the Best New Start-up sponsored by Parkgate Shopping for his Adspec Ltd business that markets its own range of consumer electronic products and specialises in Android tablet computers.

In the Most Innovative Business category, sponsored by AESSEAL, digital marketing specialist Rebecca Coupe and Infinity Digital was recognised for delivering a marketing service that brings together social media, content marketing, public relations and search engine optimisation to deliver tangible results.

RCAT sponsored the Business Most Determined to Succeed category which was won by Charlotte Scothern from Patchwork Pig, the colourful gift shop on Rotherham's High Street. The award recognised Charlotte's involvement in initiatives to work with other town centre businesses, the relaunch of Junior Chamber International (JCI) in Rotherham, and in local schools.

Presenting the awards, Jackie Frost, manager of Rotherham Youth Enterprise, said: "Despite challenging times, Rotherham continues to be amongst the leaders in encouraging and stimulating enterprise amongst young people."

After thanking organisers, judges and sponsors, Jackie thanked the young entrepreneurs for having the courage to start their own business and to enter the competition. "Judging by the standards we have seen here today, the future of the Rotherham economy is in good hands."

Response Vehicle Lighting website
Rotherham Youth Enterprise website

Images: Tom Austen

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