Binfield, United Kingdom (PressExposure) June 29, 2009 -- Norman Straight, owner of Straight Clean window cleaning in Norwich, was named NES Entrepreneur of the Year at a dedicated award ceremony in Birmingham last week.
Norman founded Straight Clean in January 2008 as a means to move away from being unemployed, to a job with the flexibility to also allow him look after his three children. Norman was chosen as the overall winner from six national finalists across the country, due to the level of business success seen in such a short space of time and his triumph over adversity to make it happen.
Speaking of his award win, Norman said "I am surprised and very pleased to be named NES entrepreneur of the year, especially having met some of my competition who are of a very high standard. NES has made a huge difference to my life and the lives of my children, and winning the award will be a fantastic boost for my business. I can't thank NES and NWES enough."
The New Entrepreneur Scholarship (NES) programme was funded by the Learning & Skills Council and ran from 2001 - 2008. During its seven years as a national business support programme, NES provided a comprehensive package of training, support, mentoring and funding to nearly 6500 people from deprived areas and backgrounds, to encourage and support the start-up and growth of new businesses. Funding for NES came to an end in 2008 and this year's award finalists were part of the final intake to benefit from the programme.
NFEA chief executive George Derbyshire, and chair of this year's judging panel, said: "Norman Straight is a person who has recognised the value of advice and support - he's worked hard to develop his skills and has a business plan which is progressively growing his business. From relying on benefits, Norman is now supporting himself and his family through the sustainable business he has created."
Norman was supported through the NES programme by enterprise agency NWES in Norwich. Norman's business adviser, Richard Salmon, said of Norman's award win "I am really pleased for Norman, it is reward for the effort he has put in and the courage he has shown to make a better life for him and his children. I hope that it will inspire him once again to grow the business further."
The national finalists that were also recognised at the ceremony were: Craig Luther, a photographer from Jarrow; Theresa Fitzgerald, a sign language trainer in London; Brenda Harrison from Cannock who has a home furnishings business; Sharon Stevens, who works with role models in schools in Nottingham and Carla Reece, another photographer from Gloucester.
The NES programme was managed by NFEA with partner support from the Association of Business Schools (ABS) and The Prince's Trust. Independent research published in October 2007 highlighted that the NES programme had a fundamental part to play in the success of new business start up and reducing economic inactivity and unemployment, with 75% of NES scholars going on to start their own business within three months of completing the programme. NES scholars also have an extremely high survival rate - with 94% still in business after a year, 86% after three years and 76% after five years.
For further information on Norman Straight or the NES programme, please contact: Hayley Williams, NFEA Head of Communications on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01234 831623.