Amanda a contender for title of Entrepreneur of the Year


Amanda Staveley, Cambridge's multi-millionaire entrepreneur and venture capitalist, is a strong contender for Ernst & Young's latest Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

Miss Staveley, a past winner and current contender for the Cambridge Evening News Business Excellence Awards, which reach their climax later this month, is currently riding a high profile following the dramatic collapse of EuroTelecom.

ET has a 49 per cent shareholding in Q.ton, the company Miss Staveley set up to develop the multi-million pound Q.ton forum on Cambridge Science Park in a joint-venture with Trinity College.

ET very publicly went into administration last month, after getting through 17 million following flotation less than a year ago.

Miss Staveley, who took a seat on the ET board after the company bought its stake in Q.ton in a 2.5 million deal, ordered an internal audit when she became concerned about the company's spending.

Now ET boss, Phil Derry is saying the company would not have gone into administration if Q.ton had paid its bills for communications gear supplied to the extremely high-tech forum.

But Miss Staveley told the News several months ago she was having problems with the equipment.

The ET story, now headline news in the national press, but first reported in the News, is developing daily.

Last week the ET board, including Miss Staveley, were quizzed about the company's collapse by the Stock Exchange. Miss Staveley has also confirmed to the News that she hired private detectives to check out what was going on at ET.

At one point she said she was trying to buy back ET's stake in Q.ton for 1, but her bid has now risen to three quarters of a million, and she is up against competition, with others keen to buy into the highly successful Q.ton formula.

Meanwhile, Miss Staveley is busy with her latest venture, the 100 million Darwin Fund to be based in Cambridge, where it will invest in high tech companies.

She is also planning further developments in the city, and is having considerable success with her 'virtual' catering business, The Crazy Cafe, which is turning over as much as 40,000 a day.

And Q.ton forum, the unwitting centre of a major business news story, is proving to be one of the most popular venues in town since opening last autumn.

Even so, Miss Staveley told the News she was surprised so many people were bidding for the ET stake.