Our Lifetime Achievement Award is the only Award to be presented at our Annual Conference, which this year took place in May at The Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. The Award was presented by Gaynor Turner, Ambassador in our Edinburgh Executive Team.
This WeDO Award is voted for by our entire Executive Team, and, unlike our other Awards, cannot be applied for. Our Lifetime Achievement Award is in recognition of a Scottish entrepreneur who has made a considerable and lasting contribution to the entrepreneurial community in Scotland over a period of at least 15 years.
Identifying the winner of this Award is always challenging, there are many potentially worthy winners. We were delighted to present serial entrepreneur, investor, Chairman and engineer, Brian Williamson, with the Award this year. Brian started life in a tenement flat in Stirling the son of a waitress and a foundryman. He remains a grounded individual and a proud Scot. He has been running companies at Board level for the last 34 years, the last 22 as an entrepreneur.
Brian’s entrepreneurial life started at the age of 9 with a business model that looked remarkably like eBay. His fascination with making money started early and has never left him.
After qualifying Brian had a successful early management career that led him to his first job as MD at the age of 26. In this role Brian was working out how to stimulate ordinary people to extraordinary things and make a positive impact on the P&L.
Through successive companies and over 12 years he replicated his winning formula in various companies until he finally took the plunge into the world of entrepreneurship. He launched his first company in 1994 in the Automotive sector where Brian captured large parts of the European market growing the company to sales of £5m within the first three years before he sold his interest to his fellow shareholders. This pattern was to continue in almost all of the companies in which he invested.
Over the years his business interests in sectors have included Automotive, IT, Oil & Gas, International trading, Software, Pumps Training, and laterally Recruitment and Tax recovery.
Today, Brian is the Chairman of Brightwork Ltd, which was an MBO from Hudson. Brian joined the team to execute the MBO and this Scottish-based recruitment company employs 70 full time staff and has turnover of £32m up from £6m when purchased in 2006.
In 2010 Brian invested a company called Jumpstart, a business employing scientists to recover funds through the Research & Development tax relief programme. Brian moved the company from a position of employing two people in an attic flat in Edinburgh to be the fastest growing SME in Scotland in the three years to 2013. Today Jumpstart is the leading provider in its sector and Brian is the CEO of a company which has over 1100 claims in progress at any point in time.
Commenting on speaking at the Conference and his Award win, Brian said:
“I was delighted to be asked to speak at your Conference this year. The delegates were one of the best audiences I have spoken in front of and the appreciation they showed me afterwards was very humbling especially from my peer group of entrepreneurs.However the best part was to be honoured with the WeDO Lifetime Achievement Award. This is especially meaningful to me because it comes from the organisation that is renowned for their support of entrepreneurs. I feel privileged to be classified alongside the esteemed past winners of this award and the memory of this is something I will cherish forever. Thank you.