Meet the Scale-Up Entrepreneur of the Year finalists

The Scale Up Entrepreneur of the Year award will be presented to the individual that has demonstrated that he or she is building a scale-up organisation or enterprise of outstanding potential.

Peter Bruce, Chief Executive Office, Entier

Having left school with no qualifications Peter has rapidly worked his way up the career ladder as a chef and quickly moved into management in his early twenties.  He was Managing Director of Compass Group (Scotland and NE England) for over 10 years managing and developing a £220m business.

In 2008 Peter left Compass Group and founded his own contract catering company, Entier Ltd.  The company was founded on the belief that there was a place in the market for a Scottish company which focused on quality and offered something different.

Recent contract wins include EnQuest in the UK and BP Trinidad & Tobago as well as retaining key contracts taking the total sales in 2017 to over £50m with a target to be a £100m company by 2020 with companies in USA, Australia, Trinidad & Tobago and Canada.

He believes passionately about investing in the local communities in which we work.

Peter is passionate about supporting Scottish food and drink and is proud that 95% of all procurement in Scotland is from Scottish suppliers.

Peter created an apprenticeship programme in 2010 and now, in its seventh year, Fresh Olives has 16 apprentices within the business.

Peter has many personal accolades, but his greatest achievement was in 2016 when the company was awarded “The Queens award for Enterprise – International Trade”.

In 2016 Peter spearheaded the acquisition of leading events company Wilde Thyme securing a wider geographical footprint for Entier to further expand into the events and wedding market throughout Scotland and the UK.

In 2017 Entier was awarded “Best Employer” in the Press & Journal Gold Awards as well as Best Employer in the Scotland Food and Drink Excellence awards and Exemplary Employer in the cHeRries awards confirming Entier as the preferred employer in Scotland.


Angus MacDonald, Chairman, ICS Learn

Angus MacDonald is Chairman and the largest shareholder of three Scottish companies, SWR in recycling, ICS Learn in education and Renewable Parts which supplies spare parts for wind turbines. He is also the joint owner of the newly opened Highland Bookshop in Fort William.

 He served three years as a lieutenant in the Queens Own Highlanders with three years as an Investment Manager at Martin Currie in Edinburgh before founding Edinburgh Financial Publishing in 1990.  He sold EFP in 1997 (£12m) and bought majority stake in Financial News (£300k). This business grew rapidly before being sold in two parts to Dow Jones and two private equity firms in 2006/7 (£79m).

In addition to his business interests, Angus is Vice President of The National Trust for Scotland. He is passionate about the west highlands and devotes a lot of his time trying to support people from the area to stay in the district and thrive. He founded the Moidart Trust with £1m to help small companies grow and flourish. He also founded the Caledonian Challenge which has raised approximately £15m for charity over the last 20 years.

He lives near Arisaig with his wife of 30 years, Michie and 4 sons, Archie, Jack, Jamie and Donald.


Dr Deborah O'Neil, CEO, NovaBiotics

Deborah O’Neil is a biotechnology entrepreneur and an academic immunologist by training. She has two decades of experience in the field of antimicrobial peptides and anti-infectives research & development.

Prior to forming NovaBiotics, Deborah studied at University College London and then worked in postdoctoral positions in internationally acclaimed laboratories in San Diego and Ghent before moving to Aberdeen where, in order to fully develop the therapeutic and commercial potential of innate immune effector molecules as anti-infective therapies, she formed NovaBiotics; successfully spinning the business out of the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Research Institute in 2004. 

Deborah has grown NovaBiotics to a leading global biotechnology business developing a portfolio of first-in-class, clinical-stage compounds and a robust and exciting pipeline of earlier stage drug candidates; potentially part of the solution to an unfolding global antimicrobial resistance crisis.

NovaBiotics’ technology addresses the urgent, unmet need for safe and effective antibacterial and antifungal therapies for difficult to treat and drug (multi) resistant infections. Deborah secured landmark co-development and licensing deals for NovaBiotics’ lead product candidates, Novexatin (Taro Pharmaceuticals, 2013) and Lynovex (undisclosed partner, 2016) and raised more than £20 m in equity and grant funding.

In addition to her work at NovaBiotics she is the editor of the European Biopharmaceutical Review and International Pharmaceutical Technology, a member of the Scottish Life Sciences Industry Leadership Group and sits on the Boards of the Scottish Life Sciences Association and Opportunity North East. She is also a proud Trustee of Crohns’ in Childhood Research Association.


John Watson, Director, Edinburgh Airport

John Watson is in the Operations team of US PE firm, Global Infrastructure Partners and as part of that role has been the Chief Commercial Officer and Capital Investment Director of Edinburgh Airport Limited leading the commercial revenue and capital projects teams for the last 5 years.

During that time the airport has delivered 50 years worth of historic growth and begin to deliver on a $0.5bn expansion programme. Now that the business has successfully changed pace, John has recently moved to a Non-executive role at the Airport and is Chief Executive Officer of Crosswind Developments Ltd, a newly created sister company of the airport, established to kickstart the development of a new sustainable airport city.

Prior to joining GIP, he was Managing Director of Lloyds Banking Group’s Small and Medium Enterprise Lending business where he was tasked with transforming the performance of the $50bn loan book during the 2006 bank liquidity crisis. During that time, John was also a founding Board Director of the Business Growth Fund plc, established to support high growth business with equity investment. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with PwC Corporate Finance John, joined 3i plc. It was during this time at 3i where John had his first opportunity to work with Scotlands entrepreneurial community. He has subsequently held a number of executive and non-executive roles in private equity backed businesses in Europe and the US. With over 20 years of experience, he has a B.Eng. Mechanical Design Engineering and an M.Sc. in IT and Business from University of Glasgow.

John is Vice President of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, on the Membership Board of ICAS and Chair of the Edinburgh and Lothian Members Board for ICAS. John is a Trustee of the Saltire Foundation.

The Scale Up Entrepreneur of the Year finalists were profiled by media partner, The Herald. Read the full article here.