Tony Smith

A SUFFOLK entrepreneur who triumphed over personal adversity has been named an Eastern Top 10 business hero.Tony Smith, of Mildenhall, a private tutor with the travelling community, scooped the accolade at the Barclays Trading Places awards, held in Cambridge.

A SUFFOLK entrepreneur who triumphed over personal adversity has been named an Eastern Top 10 business hero.

Tony Smith, of Mildenhall, a private tutor with the travelling community, scooped the accolade at the Barclays Trading Places awards, held in Cambridge.

The government-backed awards, now in their fourth year, are supported by JobCentre Plus and The Prince's Trust and recognise those who have overcome barriers and battled against the odds to set up in business.

Mr Smith, 22, is now hoping to go on to scoop the top prize worth over £13,000 at a prestigious black tie event in London on October 7.

Mr Smith, a member of a travellers' community, studied at a teacher training university. On graduating, he undertook a summer work placement and spent six months job-hunting.

Eventually, the Traveller Education Support Service (TESS) contacted him with his first student to teach, a 14-year-old boy who was unable to read and write.

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A year later, he continues to teach basic literacy and numeracy to children and adults, specifically with the travelling community.

Barclays regional manager for local business eastern Stewart O'Dell said he hoped Mr Smith's story would inspire other budding entrepreneurs in the region.