Our Annual Conference took place last week at The Glasshouse in Edinburgh, where we had some fantastic speakers lined up for the half day event. Sponsored again by Santander Corporate & Commercial?for the third?year and?our thanks go out to them for their continued support.
First up to speak was Andrew Dobbie, Founder of Made Brave – he gave a fascinating insight into how his company does things differently, and takes risks and has a seemingly unhealthy love affair of moving offices!
Following swiftly on from Andrew, was our next speaker Ryan O’Rorke from Flavourly – the largest gourmet food, snack and craft beer discovery service in the UK, on track to hit ?1m sales in 2015. Ryan shared with us his ingenious first business which involved writing ‘exam cheats’ on the inside of water bottle labels! Ryan also spoke candidly about his experience on BBC’s Dragon’s Den.?Despite some?technical hitches with our AV equipment, Ryan and Andrew both gave?great presentations which were well received by our audience.
After a quick coffee break, our next speaker was the hugely entertaining Gordon Dewar, CEO Edinburgh Airport. Gordon cites much of the success of the airport to his belief in developing partnerships with key organisations as well as making extensive use of data and market research to secure new airlines coming to Edinburgh in what is a highly competitive environment. ?It is this approach, combined with the introduction of new technology which has been key to driving the success of the airport which now has an average of 25,100 passengers per day, with over 40 airlines serving 100 worldwide destinations.
Moving on to our Pitching for Talents slots – Our first Early Stage member to pitch was Anthony Gerrard of Bad Idea Organisation.?Anthony was looking for investment of ?100,000 to allow him to develop his product, his team, internationalise the business and increase sales.
Annabelle Ewing, MSP for Youth & Women’s Employment was next up to speak. She shared with us further information about the Scotland CAN DO initiative which aims to promote Scotland as an entrepreneurial and innovative nation, we are proud to be a CAN DO?partner. ?Annabelle also outlined future plans to support entrepreneurs from the Scottish Government.
We then went back to hear from two of our Early Stage Members Pitching for Talent slot – Josh Carson, GearedApp.?Josh is looking for an advisor to bring into the business to help with financial forecasting, accounts, routes to market and also anyone who can help with introductions to sports teams.?Sara Roberts, Healthy Nibbles?then gave her pitch.?Sara is looking again for investment – this time for ?100,000 to invest into machines, vehicles and grow the team.
Our next speaker to take to the floor Charlie Miller,?an iconic?name in Scottish hairdressing. He gave a very candid and honest overview of his life, from humble beginnings of a tenement block in Edinburgh, to running?a?successful hair academy?with?a sought-after artistic team.
Stuart Hunter, Advance Global Recruitment?gave the final talk of the day, an overview of his business journey so far, the challenges he has faced along with successes he and the team have enjoyed. ?Stuart won our Entrepreneur of the Year at last year’s Awards Dinner so we were delighted to have him speaking at this year’s Conference.
Our Lifetime Achievement Award was won very deservedly by Malcolm McPherson of?HBJ Gateley. ?You can read more about the Award and Malcolm in another blog.?We are delighted that Malcolm accepted this Award from us, he truly has made such an impact in the business world and we wish him ongoing success.
Thank you to everyone?who came along on the day.