Former Big Issue seller scoops top business award

Winners announced at Barclays Trading Places Awards

A Newcastle man who once scraped a living by selling the Big Issue was last night named winner of the 2010 Barclays Trading Places Awards.

At a glittering ceremony in The Savoy Hotel, London, Richard Cartwright collected a £10,000 cheque from Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis, telling more than 300 guests that he used to pass the hotel when he was down and out and wonder what it would be like to be inside.

From living on the streets, Cartwright has managed to build a successful business, Newcastle Books, selling second hand books online. He now employs four local residents and has an inventory of more than 140,000 titles.

Steve Cooper, chair of the judging panel and managing director of Barclays Business, said: “The calibre of this year’s entries was exceptional but the judges unanimously agreed that Richard shone out as a truly remarkable individual, who has succeeded in building a fantastic business against the odds.

“He is everything we look for in the Trading Places Awards – and his determination to change his life for the better by running his own business is an inspiration to everyone.”

The awards, which celebrate inspirational men and women who have turned their lives around by starting up their own successful business, named John Charles runner-up, for his business Catering2Order, which finds placements for people with disabilities or who are from socially deprived communities. Andrew Kent picked up the Community Award for his garage business Andy’s Kars.

Business minister Mark Prisk said: “These awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of people who have set up their own business in difficult circumstances.

“The Trading Places entrants are an inspiration to everyone and embody the best of the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit.”

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2010

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