Balkans refugee wins young entrepreneur award -

Balkans refugee wins young entrepreneur award


LONDON — A former child refugee behind a pioneering London computer recycling business has won the Young Business Person of the Year award. Peter Paduh, 28, came to Britain on his own from the war-stricken Balkansat 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 won the Chamber of Commerce's 2005 London Business Award, designed to celebrate drive, talent and enterprise in the business industry.

Maxitech provides a 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.

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.”

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