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Former refugee scoops prize for recycling business

A former child refugee who fled the war-torn Balkans has scooped a prestigious national award for his computer recycling business.

Peter Paduh, who came to Britain alone from the war-stricken region at 15 years of age, has been named the Young Business Person of the Year.

After learning English, Paduh gained a computer science degree and launched Maxitech, providing environmental services for firms with redundant computers in 2003.

Paduh, now 28, said: “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.”

Maxitech take computers off companies that are upgrading systems, before wiping the data, reconditioning them and passing them on to charities and voluntary groups. They number Haringey Council, Shell London, Lloyd’s of London and the Bank of England among their clients.

Paduh added: “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.”

Paduh was praised for his passion, enthusiasm and unwavering desire to succeed with his business that has provided training opportunities for more than 100 refugees and underprivileged workers at its base in Haringey, North London.

He added: “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.”

Paduh has also recently won the London Day Award certificate from Mayor Ken Livingstone in recognition of his “outstanding contribution to life in London” and is a finalist in the Enterprising Young Brits 2005 awards.

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