Apprentice fan and EdTech entrepreneur, Richard Evans, 27, beats Lord Sugar's Apprentice to win top NatWest business award.
The 27-year-old founder of a higher education start-up has won the London regional 2017 NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year category.
Richard Evans, the founder of The Profs and long-time Apprentice fan, beat tough competition including 2015 Apprentice winner, Joseph Valente, and mattress giant SIMBA Sleep founder Jamie Cox.
Founded in 2014, The Profs is a higher education consultancy that connects students and institutions with experienced academics, both face-to-face and online. Their aim is to provide bespoke support to ensure high-quality teaching in the HE sector.
Richard said: "I am such a huge fan of The Apprentice and I never imagined that I would beat the 2015 winner to take this prestigious award. This shows that hard work and perseverance can build a business worthy of national recognition."
The Profs has already been recognised for its start-up success. In 2016 the business was a finalist for The Guardian Start-Up of the Year Award, and highly commended in the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) London Business Awards in 2017.
Now more than 400 educators work for The Profs and close to 4,000 university students and professionals have signed up to the service.
Richard said: "My goal is to bring innovation to an 800-year-old sector and support its ambition to grow. Education technology is changing the face of how students and academics interact. The Profs is ensuring tuition standards meet their high expectations."
Now in its fifth year, the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards has celebrated many individuals who are now household names. Past winners include David Buttress of Just Eat, Julie Deane of The Cambridge Satchel Company, James Watt of BrewDog, and Alexander Solomou of TheLADBible Group.
The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognises the ambition of a founder, aged 30 or under, who has achieved a level of business success beyond their years. Judges praised Richard's clear vision and his ambition to bring innovation to a sector in need of change.
Richard said: "We have an amazing team and together we've built a network of almost 400 talented academics that keeps on growing. We're innovating learning through BitPaper, our virtual classroom software, which has 3,000 monthly users. To succeed you need discipline and dedication. It's what our tutors teach and it's what we live by as a business."
Since 2014, Richard and his business partners, Rory Curnock Cook and Leo Evans have seen incredible growth in The Profs. The business hit a huge £1.1m turnover in 2016, with the start-up projecting over £2m for this year.
Gordon Merrylees, Head of Entrepreneurship at NatWest said: "It is clear that entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well and NatWest is thrilled to be able to support these awards to celebrate success with the businesses that are the lifeblood of the UK Economy as they start, scale and succeed."
To find out more about The Profs and their services go to www.theprofs.co.uk or call 0208 004 7639.
You can find out more about Richard Evans in the interview he did with The Tutor Website last year.