Last year’s awards were a highlight of Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Annual Celebration Dinner, which took place at the Doubletree Hilton, Glasgow on St Andrew’s Night, Wednesday 30 November 2016. Our celebration dinner brought together Scotland’s most successful and respected entrepreneurial leaders with those starting and growing new enterprises, our Saltire Alumni and our valued partners and supporters from across Scotland and internationally.
Individuals behind some of Scotland’s most successful businesses, universities, social enterprises attended and we shared how our Saltire programmes and other organisations are transforming opportunities for the next generation of leaders. Attendees heard first hand from the next generation, particularly our Saltire Scholars and Fellows and those starting out on their entrepreneurial journey.
Last year the prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year award was presented to James Milne CBE, Chairman & Managing Director, Balmoral Group while Chris Gauld, Chief Executive, Spark Energy was announced as the Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year.
Previous winners have included some of the country’s most high profile entrepreneurs such as Sir Tom Hunter of Sports Division, Ann Budge of Newell & Budge, David Milne of Wolfson Microelectronics, Simon Howie of the Simon Howie Group, Jim McColl OBE of Clyde Blowers and Hamid Guedroudj of Petroleum Experts.
James Milne, known to many as Jim, established Balmoral Group in 1980 with just five employees designing and manufacturing glass reinforced plastic products. Today, employing more than 500 people, the privately owned company provides design and manufacturing solutions to the global subsea, energy, civil and environmental engineering sectors.
Jim is Vice-Chairman of the North East committee and a Fellow of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) and Chairman of the Friends of ANCHOR, a fundraising body which supports cancer care and research at Grampian University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Jim was awarded the CBE in 1994; received an honorary doctorate from Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University in 1999 and was made a Burgess of Guild in the City of Aberdeen during 2004. He became Deputy Lieutenant of Aberdeen city in January 2007 and received a Degree Honoris Causa from the University of Aberdeen in 2008. In 2011, he was inducted into the Entrepreneurial Exchange Hall of Fame and, in 2013, was made Honorary Doctor of Business Administration by Edinburgh Napier University. In 2015 he was inducted into the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame and was awarded the same honour in 2016 by the Press and Journal.
Balmoral Group was presented with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade in 2010, 2012 and 2015 amongst numerous other honours. To attain the Queen’s Award three times in five years is regarded as an exceptional achievement.Find out more
Chief Executive and founder of Spark Energy, Chris Gauld spotted a gap in the market and decided to take the opportunity to do things differently. Prior to Spark Energy, Chris worked as Head of Sales for Grant Property, a property investment and management company. While at Grant Property, Chris was exposed to the cost and hassle experienced by agents and tenants with the ‘Big 6’ energy companies.
Spark Energy was born in 2007 with a team of three to provide a better service in the utility market to meet the needs of letting agents, landlords and tenants. The idea behind Spark was simple: provide a specialised service for rental properties that would help landlords by smoothing the transitions between tenants. Chris focused on bringing in sales, creating teams and structures to grow operations and eventually completing debt and equity rounds.
Spark Energy is now one of a band of utility company minnows set up in the past decade to try to challenge the ‘Big 6’ energy groups that dominate the sector in the UK. Spark Energy is now a £130m turnover business with over 350 employees, a set of institutional backers, a strong leadership team and a 2016 debut in the Sunday Times Top Track 250.Find out more