A forward-thinking Teesside graduate has won a prestigious regional business award for his plan to create an electric taxi service.
David Hazeldine, who graduated from Teesside University Business School having completed a business management degree part-time, won the main Business Award at the coveted annual Blueprint Awards.
The Blueprint business planning competition allows students, staff, graduates and alumni to showcase their business ideas and receive support and feedback from industry professionals.
The Teesside awards were held in June, with a number of entrants chosen to represent the University at the regional finals, where entrepreneurs from Teesside, Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland competed against each other to present the most compelling business plans.
David, whose company is Drive Green Taxi Services, scooped the Business Award, the first time Teesside University has won the main category.
Drive Green Taxi Services (DGTS) aims to create the region's first completely electric taxi service. The goal being to create a sustainable company which directly reduces the pollution most commonly associated with road traffic.
Great experience David said: ‘Road transport accounts for a significant portion of air pollution in cities and towns, causing serious pollution problems like carbon monoxide and smog. Due to the increase in the use of private cars, road traffic pollution is considered a major threat to clean air in the UK and other industrialised countries.
‘Traffic fumes also contain harmful chemicals that pollute the atmosphere. With the introduction of Drive Green’s Electric Taxis these pollutants can be significantly reduced, creating a healthier environment for everyone.’
He added: 'The Blueprint Awards were a great experience from the very start. It's enabled me to develop my initial idea into an actual plan of action, and better still, given me the opportunity to showcase my business idea to business professionals.
'When they called my name as the winner for the business awards category I was overwhelmed and couldn't stop smiling. To be given such an opportunity is invaluable. From what seemed like a distant dream is now rapidly becoming a reality.'
Cleveland College of Art and Design students, Rachael Kelley, Abigail Crapper, Claire Kruger and Rebecca Dring, were also highly commended in the main Business Award category.
Their company Little Lost Buttons creates bespoke jewellery with old and recycled buttons. The aim is for customers to use the jewellery to accessorize their look, adding a touch of vintage and nostalgia.
Rachael said: 'The whole Blueprint experience has been a huge learning curve for us, which we thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end. We have gained invaluable knowledge and contacts in the business world which will really help us in furthering and expanding our business.'