AN ENTREPENEUR who has helped spearhead programmes to get young people interested in business was astonished to learn he had been honoured by the Queen.

Cookham resident Oliver Barrett, co-founder of Start-Up Britain, and founder of Make your Mark with a Tenner got a letter four weeks ago with the news.

He has been rewarded for services to entrepreneurship and business.

After the public announcement this week, he said: "It's been an incredible few days. Although I've told very few people directly word has spread very quickly which has led to hundreds of messages from some of my favourite people which has been great.

"I opened the letter up and it was from the cabinet office. I was completely astonished to read the news because the letter began with the words 'the Prime Minister has asked me to write to you'.

"I rushed upstairs to tell my wife Verity, who was delighted."

Mr Barrett, also co-owner of Cospa, launched Start up Britain, which aims to help budding entrepreneurs, in 2011.

It is a private sector led scheme, launched by David Cameron, his Government and 60 firms, aiming to give practical support.

Mr Barrett said: "Lots of people were asking what the Government was doing to help small businesses and we wanted to know what business could do to help small business. We wanted to give something back."

Make your Mark with a Tenner started five years ago and 25,000 young people are set to take part this year. School pupils are given £10 from the Tenner Bank and use this start-up capital to get their business off the ground, working alone or in a group.

They have the whole month to make as much profit as they can from their tenner while also trying to make a difference and give back to society.

Mr Barrett said: "I find it personally frustrating that business can be portrayed as a force for bad in this country and I think it's the opposite. It can be a huge force for good."

He started first business when he was a student ten years ago, dropping out of university to start a firm.

He said the MBE reflects the great people he has worked with as well.