The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Communities to ‘bear the brunt’ as South Ayrshire Council accepts finance settlement

South Ayrshire Council Leader Bill McIntosh has said local communities will bear the brunt of the financial position the Council faces as the result of the Scottish Government’s Local Government Finance Settlement for 2016-17.

Councillor McIntosh (pictured above) was speaking as the Council confirmed its acceptance of the settlement and the terms of the agreement – including continuing the Council Tax freeze for another year, subject to agreement of Councillors when the final budget is set.

He said: “Like many colleagues across the country, we have no choice but to reluctantly accept this brutal settlement from the Scottish Government, which will undoubtedly have dire consequences for our finances and the services we currently provide.

“The Scottish Government has made a very clear choice to allocate its funding in a way that lets the axe fall on local government and this means it’s our people and communities who will bear the brunt. 

“Councils have been placed in an impossible position by the Scottish Government, and it’s only because the alternative would make our financial position even more untenable that we have accepted this settlement and we have made that clear to Mr Swinney.

“We’ll be setting our revenue and capital budgets for 2016-17 on Thursday 3 March and there’s no doubt Councillors will need to make some very difficult decisions indeed as we work to find millions of pounds of additional savings.

“Our focus in setting our budgets has always been to protect vital frontline services and protect jobs, and we’ve been very effective in achieving that while minimising the impact on the people we serve.

“However, there’s only so much trimming and tweaking that we can do, so we’re looking long and hard at the services we provide and considering if we can afford to keep delivering in the same way.

“Undoubtedly, we’re going to have to take the kind of decisions we have purposely worked hard to avoid until now – stopping services, reducing services, or delivering services in a very different way.

“Councillors will agree what this means in practice at our budget meeting on 3 March and, regrettably, our communities will need to be prepared for the harsh reality of the impact of the Scottish Government’s actions.”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Monday, 8 February 2016

CKD Galbraith offers for sale a peaceful country house on the banks of Martnaham Loch in Ayrshire

Leading independent Scottish property consultancy CKD Galbraith is offering for sale Cloncaird, a beautiful country house situated within its own grounds of some 7 acres on the shores of Martnaham Loch.

The property is just a few minutes outside Ayr yet is tucked away from sight offering a unique level of privacy and tranquillity.   

Martnaham Loch is a freshwater loch, part of which is designated as a site of special scientific interest because of its rich botanical flora including white and yellow water lilies and Canadian pondweed. Many rare birds have been sighted on the loch including ring necked duck and Smew. During the winter months the loch is visited by flocks of Teal and in the surrounding fields flocks of Greylag geese and whooper swans gather.  

The property itself was created on the site of the original cottages in 1983 at Cloncaird and has well-proportioned rooms. 

The imposing double height hallway with galleried upper level provides access to the main reception rooms which have southerly views.  

The drawing room has triple aspect windows which not only afford wonderful views of the surrounding gardens but enhance the natural light.  

The kitchen/living room at the heart of the house with beamed ceiling is stylish and no expense has been spared in the luxury appliances.  

The master bedroom suite has a dressing room and ensuite shower room and there are four further bedrooms, a dark room for photography developing or other hobby pastimes.  There is a garden room adjacent the house which could be used as a gym or for indoor/outdoor entertainment.   

The house is surrounded by mature, landscaped gardens which include a variety of shrubs and trees providing shelter and year round colour. 

There is a pony paddock with field shelter which has been divided into three loose boxes. A separate outbuilding has been subdivided into a stable and tack room, dog kennel with run, boiler house, wood store and oil tank store.   

Offers Over £625,000 are being sought. 

PDF available on

About CKD Galbraith 

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 225 staff in offices across Scotland including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso, and Aberdeen, offering local knowledge, national expertise and enjoying international reach. 

The firm is Scotland’s largest and leading rural consultancy managing and providing advice on farm, forestry, land and estate interests on over three million acres.  CKD Galbraith provides the full range of property consulting services across the residential sales and lettings, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England. The partnership also enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson.

To find out more about CKD Galbraith visit

CKD Galbraith’s Ayr Office is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Major award for Western House Hotel

By: Iain Ferguson

WESTERN House Hotel has been crowned Wedding Venue of the Year at the inaugural Scottish Confetti Wedding Awards. 

[Pictured: Western House Hotel wedding co-ordinators Laura Winston (left) and Jean Kerr.] 

At a glittery ceremony in Glasgow last Sunday night hosted by Des Clarke Western House beat off a string of other venues to win one of the night’s most prestigious awards. 

Scottish brides and grooms nominated their favourite venue which were then visited by a “mystery shopper”. 

Hotels the length and breadth of Scotland were nominated and Western House received the principal award of the night which also saw gongs going to a variety of businesses and professionals connected to the wedding industry. 

David Brown, Managing Director of Western House Hotel and Ayr Racecourse said: “To be chosen as the Wedding Venue of the Year at such a prestigious event covering the whole of Scotland is a tremendous accolade and a huge honour. 

“It speaks volumes for our staff, and it is fitting that this award is to a large extent chosen by brides and grooms who have obviously enjoyed their wedding day so much they have felt moved to nominate Western House.” 

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691. 

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Rural land prices in Scotland fall as demand declines

Scottish rural land prices expected to fall throughout 2016  
Average price of rural land in Scotland dips to £3625 per acre 
Demand for land decreasing across the UK 

Scottish rural land prices fell in the latter half of 2015, according the latest survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Royal Agricultural University (RAU). 

[Pictured: Sarah Speirs, Director RICS in Scotland.]

The average price of rural land fell to £3625 per acre during H2 2015, compared with £4375 per acre for the same period in 2014.  

An excess of supply over demand drove the decline in prices during the second half of 2015. Indeed, a net balance of 67% of chartered surveyors reported a fall in demand for rural land across the country while availability increased with 83% of respondents reporting a pick up. 

As a result, survey respondents have this year predicted that Scottish land prices will fall over the next 12 months, with a net balance of 67% of rural chartered surveyors expecting to see prices drop.     

Sarah Speirs, Director RICS in Scotland, commented: “Rural land prices have increased in Scotland over recent years. However, the latter half of 2015 saw prices and demand fall and the global fall in crop prices is likely to cause values to continue to decline over the next 12 months.   

“Additionally, with commercial and residential property prices in towns and cities continuing to rise, this is likely to make rural land increasingly attractive to those outside traditional farming communities. We are already seeing growth in countryside land in Scotland being purchased by non-farmers – lifestyle buyers or hobby farmers.” 

Across all farming sectors, demand for rural land is expected to fall over the next twelve months. While in the last half of 2015, the only areas where demand for land grew were the North East and South East of England.   

Land yields remained relatively stable over the second half of the year at 1.8%, from 1.7% previously, while arable and pasture land rents fell by 4.5% and 4% respectively over the course of the year.   

Bob Cherry MRICS, CKD Galbraith (pictured above) commented: “Lower commodity prices have reduced the demand for livestock and bare land in the West of Scotland and lower land prices are following.” 

Elsewhere in the UK non-farmers, such as those starting-up cottage industries, accounted for around 25% of rural land sales over the past six months. This figure was up from just 18% in the first half of 2015, according to the RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey H2 2015.  

By contrast, property developers accounted for only 1% of rural land sales over the same period, falling from 3% in the first half of the year. Meanwhile, sales to industrial farmers declined from 62% to 57%.  

RICS Head of Policy, Jeremy Blackburn said: “Start-up businesses do not have to be confined to the trendy streets of East London, Britain’s countryside has a great deal to offer young entrepreneurs. Market conditions appear to be encouraging a wave of new types of rural business, and help must be given to support this trend further if our countryside communities are to thrive.  

“Land entrepreneurs are playing an increasingly active role in the rural market, representing around 25% of all purchasers at a time of increased volatility in the farming sector.” 

Friday, 29 January 2016

‘The Quay Zone’ unveiled as name for new community leisure centre as construction work begins

The winning name of the new community leisure centre at Girvan Harbour has been unveiled this week as construction work got underway on the new £6 million facility, which will be called The Quay Zone.

[Pictured: Minister for Housing and Welfare Margaret Burgess MSP joins South Ayrshire Council, South Carrick Community Leisure and hub South West to unveil the Quay Zone logo.]

The Quay Zone – which will be operated by South Carrick Community Leisure (SCCL) on behalf of South Ayrshire Council – will transform leisure and community facilities across the area, with a 25 metre swimming pool, soft play area, superb fitness gym, flexible multi-purpose studio/community space, changing facilities and café.

The Quay Zone name and logo – unveiled today on an eye-catching billboard – were suggested by Ballantrae resident, Robert Whittington, who entered the public competition to name the new centre and now becomes the Quay Zone’s very first member by winning a year’s free membership.

Robert (35), a gardener at Glenapp Castle, said: “I’m chuffed to win the competition, which I only entered as a bit of fun, and am really honoured and excited to be the first member of the Quay Zone. I picked up the competition leaflet from my boys’ school bags and, as we’ve been following developments for the new leisure centre closely, thought I might as well give it a go.

“I came up with the name based on the waterside location for the new centre and to reflect the fact – as we kept hearing – that the centre was going to be much more than just a swimming pool. So, Quay for the water, and Zone because there’s lots of different things you can do. I even thought younger people might even want to shorten it to the QZ!

“Our whole family will definitely be making use of the Quay Zone when it opens – it will make a massive difference to us and I can’t wait to be first through the door.”

Most of the funding for the Quay Zone has been provided by South Ayrshire Council, with additional funding contributions from sportscotland, Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, Carrick Futures, Hadyard Hill Community Benefit Fund, Scottish Power Renewables Kilgallioch Wind Farm, and the William Grant Foundation.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: "Today is a truly historic occasion as we embark on a journey that will not only help regenerate the Girvan and South Carrick area and economy, but will have a very real and positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing and quality of life.

“The Council has worked closely with South Carrick Community Leisure to ensure that our people and communities have had their say every step of the way, and there’s no doubt they have been a real driving force in getting us to where we are today.

“I know that passion and commitment will continue as SCCL take up the operational reins and I hope they get the buy-in and support they need from the local community to make sure the Quay Zone is a great success.

“I’m very proud of what the Council and community have achieved, working in partnership. There’s no doubt we are making a difference and making lives better and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the Quay Zone take shape at Girvan Harbour.”

Andrew Sinclair, Chair of SCCL, added: "This is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting days Girvan and South Carrick has seen in a very long time and I want to thank everyone who has supported us as we worked with the Council to bring our vision for quality leisure facilities to life.

“I also want to thank everyone who took the time to enter our naming competition and let us know just how much interest there was in local communities about what we were doing. We were overwhelmed by the response and it was very difficult to choose between the suggestions; however, Robert’s idea really stood out and picked up on all the key elements we wanted it to.

“It’s almost impossible to imagine just how much The Quay Zone will transform lives right across Girvan and South Carrick and whether you’re an intense athlete, keep fit regularly, or just want to have fun or somewhere to get together, we’ll have something to offer everyone when we open our doors in 14 months’ time.

“It’s been a long, hard slog and we know there’s more hard work to come as we do everything we can to make sure the Quay Zone is a success. For today, however, we can all be very proud and we can say – we did it!”

Minister for Housing and Welfare, Margaret Burgess MSP said: “I’m delighted to mark the start of construction of the new Girvan and South Carrick Community Leisure Centre which will transform this vacant site into a fantastic community hub and help improve people’s health and wellbeing.

“This £250,000 investment through the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund will also support the creation of new jobs and open up training opportunities for young people.

“By working in partnership with local government, this fund is providing a catalyst to the successful delivery of regeneration projects across Scotland.

“Investment in local projects like this, which place communities at their heart, is absolutely key to tackling inequalities in disadvantaged areas. It is this approach which is at the core of Scotland’s economic strategy to stimulate economic growth and create a fairer Scotland.”

Michael McBrearty, Chief Executive of development partner hub South West, said: “This is an exciting new development for Girvan and South Carrick, and hub South West are delighted to be a part of it.

“The Quay Zone will provide a fantastic, modern environment for the community to enjoy and will be visited by many generations to come.

“We are proud that local people benefit from the projects we are involved in, and we look forward to working with South Ayrshire Council, Morrison Construction and contractors from the surrounding area to deliver this excellent community facility.”

Morrison Construction Ltd has been appointed as the design and build contractor for the project through hub South West, which was set up by the Scottish Futures Trust to deliver major public sector building projects.

The Quay Zone will open in March 2017.

South Ayrshire Council has committed a total capital contribution of £4.35 million for the Quay Zone – more than 72% of the overall costs.

In addition, the Council is investing £200,000 revenue funding every year to support the running of the facility – this will total £8 million over the duration of the 40-year lease which is proposed with SCCL.

The remaining monies have come from a number of funding partners, including: sportscotland (£400,000), Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (£250,000), Carrick Futures (£250,000), Hadyard Hill Community Benefit Fund (£100,000), Scottish Power Renewables Kilgallioch Wind Farm (£100,000) and the William Grant Foundation (£50,000).

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

First Minister announces funding for new Queen Margaret Academy

Pupils at Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr will be among more than 6,500 pupils set to benefit from the construction of 19 new schools across Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed this week.

A £230 million investment, part of the final phase of the £1.8 billion 'Schools for the Future' programme, will take the overall number of schools being delivered to 112. All 19 schools will be completed by 2020.  

Since the Schools for the Future programme began it has created an estimated 11,000 construction jobs and 230 apprenticeships.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this week met pupils and teachers at Queen Margaret Academy in South Ayrshire which is set to be replaced. The new building will receive a share of the funding and will include a supported learning centre for up to 50 young people with complex learning needs.

The First Minister said: "We are working hard to improve educational standards across the country to make sure that every child in Scotland has the ability to achieve their potential.

"Part of that is making sure that children have the right physical environment to learn in. This ambitious plan will replace older schools across the country with new, modern buildings that will bring benefits to the whole community.

"We had planned to build or refurbish 55 schools across Scotland, these new schools now take the total to 112 – more than double our original target. Since 2007, we have worked with local authorities to rebuild or refurbish 607 schools, resulting in the number of children educated in 'poor' or 'bad' condition schools falling by 60 per cent.

"This infrastructure investment programme has already generated an estimated 11,000 construction jobs and 230 apprenticeship placements. Now as these further developments begin construction we will see a further boost to the economy right across the country."

Councillor John McDowall, Depute Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: "We're delighted Queen Margaret Academy will join Marr College and Ayr Academy in benefiting from the Schools for the Future programme.

"The new purpose-built school will transform the learning and teaching environment for hundreds of young people, our teachers and school staff, with state-of-the-art facilities – some of which will also be available to the wider local community, including sports facilities and a lifelong learning facility.

"This will help ensure that the excellent education our young people enjoy will be matched by access to the first-class facilities they deserve, and we'll now get to work in putting the plans for the new school in motion."

Gemma Boggs, schools programme director at Scottish Futures Trust said: "Today's announcement builds on the huge progress SFT has made managing the Scotland's Schools for the Future programme.

"We are working with all local authorities to achieve the very best value for the investment in their new schools which will be of benefit to thousands of pupils across Scotland, whilst also supporting many local SMEs when construction starts."

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Friday, 22 January 2016

David Nott – ‘Indiana Jones of surgery’ – wins Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2016

A life-saving British doctor who has had to dodge bombs and stare down the barrel of a gun – and is known as the ‘Indiana Jones of surgery’ – has been named winner of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2016.

David Nott was presented with the award at a special ceremony and the first-ever celebration concert at the Brig O’Doon Hotel in Alloway – the town of Burns’ birth – by Minister for Europe and International Development, Humza Yousaf MSP.

[Pictured: Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for Europe and 
International Development presents David Nott with the 
Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2016.]

The Robert Burns Humanitarian Award – or RBHA – is a globally-respected, humanitarian accolade supported by South Ayrshire Council and Scotland's Winter Festivals, with sponsorship from Burns Crystal and The Herald, Sunday Herald and The event is part of the Alloway 1759 celebrations, which take place in and around Burns’ birthday this month and form part of the year-round Burns an’ a’ that! Festival.

Named in honour of the famous Scots Bard, the award applauds the efforts of people who bring hope and inspiration – often in desperate situations – and help change lives for the better.

It takes its inspiration from Robert Burns who viewed everyone as equal and genuinely lived as a true humanitarian, as recognised in his famous lines: 'That Man to Man, the world o'er, Shall brothers be for a' that'.

This year’s winner, David – a Consultant Surgeon at Royal Marsden, St Mary’s and Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals – has given up several months every year for more than two decades to volunteer with Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Committee of the Red Cross in war zones and amidst major humanitarian crises.

His efforts have seen him performing life-saving surgery in areas such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and Syria – and in some of the most desperate conditions.

David’s first posting took him to the state hospital in Bosnia, which was known as ‘the Swiss cheese’ because it was pockmarked with bullet holes, and that was to shape his experience for many years to come.

David has now taken his skills and experience and established the David Nott Foundation – a UK registered charity that provides surgeons and medical professionals with the skills they need to provide relief and assistance in conflict and natural disaster zones around the world. 

As well as providing the best medical care, David Nott Foundation surgeons will train local healthcare professionals; leaving a legacy of education and improved health outcomes.

Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for Europe and International Development, said: “The Robert Burns Humanitarian Award recognises the selfless vital work that is undertaken around the world every day of every year to help others. David Nott is a truly worthy winner and an inspiration to others. As a volunteer with Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Committee of the Red Cross, he has performed life-saving surgery in desperate circumstances in areas such as Darfur/Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Chad and Syria. He is developing a training programme to share his expertise with more than 1,000 doctors and local health professionals.

“Now in its fifteenth year, the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award continues to be one of the highlights of Scotland’s Winter Festivals programme which draws to a close on Burns Night.  Scots and the Scottish-at-heart will be celebrating Robert Burns the world over this weekend and I would encourage everyone to take the time to honour the life of our Bard and his enduring message of humanitarianism, egalitarianism and equality.”

David Nott said: “I am stunned and very proud to receive this amazing award, which I share with the many people I have worked with over the years. You know that you’re taking a risk when you do this type of humanitarian work, but once you’re out there and saving the lives of people – including children and teenagers the world has forgotten about – you just focus on getting the job done and try to forget about what’s going on around you.

“It is difficult – there’s no doubt – but when you can see that you can make a very real difference, you simply cannot turn your back and that’s why I’m particularly pleased to have established the Foundation to keep that work going.

“I’m very grateful for this award and it will remind me, every day, why we do what we do.”

The runners-up for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2016 were:

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow – whose humanitarian efforts started more than 20 years ago with an appeal for food, clothing and medicines for those affected by the Balkan conflict. He went on to establish Scottish International Relief, which delivered more than £10 million worth of aid in its first 10 years. In Malawi in 2002, Magnus was inspired to launch Mary’s Meals after meeting teenager Edward who said all he hoped for in life was: ‘I want to have enough food to eat and go to school one day’. Mary’s Meals now feeds more than one million school children in 12 countries every day.

Zannah Bukar Mustapha – a lawyer who works to make lives better for children and young people affected by the conflict between Boko Haram – an Islamic extremist group – and government forces in Nigeria. Having spent many years working to counter the growing radicalisation of children and young people, and concerned at the closure of state schools, he founded the Future Prowess Islamic Foundation – a primary school for orphans and less privileged children from both sides of the conflict. Zannah’s school provides free meals, free education, uniforms and health care, with the aim of achieving a lasting peace in the future.

[Pictured: South Ayrshire Councillor Bill Grant and Provost 
Helen Moonie with RBHA winner 2016 David Nott (centre).]

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council and Chair of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award Judging Panel, said: “David, Zannah and Magnus all recognise that not everyone has the same choices, freedoms and opportunities – and they have stepped in to right that wrong and are actively making a difference for many.

“David’s work has, quite literally, saved lives and there are hundreds of people alive today who would not be here if it wasn’t for his bravery, tenacity and commitment to others. He has put himself in danger and put his own life at risk to protect other people and he is a perfect example of Robert Burns’ humanitarian values.

“My warmest congratulations to him on being awarded the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2016.”

VisitScotland Regional Director Annique Armstrong said: “A key date in Scotland’s cultural calendar, The Robert Burns Humanitarian Award is a marvellous recognition of an individual’s incredible personal dedication to, and amazing achievements in, making a major beneficial impact on the lives of others – so it ties in very closely with the themes underpinning this 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. 

“We are delighted that David Nott – a truly deserving and inspirational nominee – has won this year’s award and our congratulations go to him, and indeed to all of those shortlisted, for embodying the values of this very prestigious accolade.”

Further information about the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award is available at Details of the year-round Burns an’a’that! Festival are at

A set of 8 images relevant to this story is available on Flickr CLICK HERE

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Glasgow and Ayrshire start-ups scoop thousands at Entrepreneuring Awards

Start-up businesses based at Entrepreneurial Spark’s Glasgow and Ayrshire Hatcheries shared over £70,000 in cash prizes after pitching their plans in the prestigious Entrepreneuring Awards on Wednesday 20 January.

[Pictured: The award winners.]

Among the winners from the Glasgow Hatchery were FairSquaredUK and Find A Player, which claimed the #GoDo prize of £4,000 each, and Fatburn Extreme and Beauty Kitchen, which both took the Acceler8 Award for £6,000. Presented with the Entrepreneur of the Moment Award and £10,000 prize was Blind Spot Gear, and winning the Chiclet Choice Award and £2,000 was Welltime Ltd.

From the Ayrshire Hatchery: Tartan-Ice and Rock N Role Models both won the £4,000 #GoDo Award, Oor Wee Den and WHRL won the £6,000 Acceler8 Award, The Little Art School won the £10,000 Entrepreneur of the Moment Award and SEM Events won the £2,000 Chiclet Choice Award.

Run by Entrepreneurial Spark and supported by partners Royal Bank of Scotland and KPMG, the awards offer cash prizes aimed at helping early-stage businesses to get off the ground and grow.

Carl Haagensen, Entrepreneurial Development Manager, Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “The Royal Bank of Scotland is delighted to celebrate the efforts of the Chiclets at the Entrepreneuring Awards.

“All have shown a tremendous amount of passion, creativity and commitment to their businesses and this event held an opportunity for everyone involved to take a moment to see how far they have progressed and the difference their hard work has made.

“We wish everyone the greatest success in the future and hope the winners’ stories inspire others to ‘go do’ and make their business dream a reality.”

Phil Charles, Head of Enterprise for KPMG in Scotland, said: “We’d like to congratulate all the Chiclets who took part in this year’s pitching process. There was an extremely high calibre of businesses competing and we have no doubt that many of these will go on to become successful companies, providing employment and creating wealth for their respective regional economies.”

Entrepreneurial Spark founder and chief executive Jim Duffy said: “The Entrepreneuring Awards have grown alongside our network of Hatcheries, and the latest round will be the biggest yet. The cash prizes are an excellent way of boosting some of our most promising businesses and accelerating their growth, and the events also provide valuable networking opportunities and pitching practice.

“Entrepreneurs need to be able to explain their business briefly and concisely, and they never know when they might meet a potential investor, client or partner. That’s why we drill our Chiclets to ensure that they are clear on their goals and able to pitch their ideas.”

Entrepreneurs put the skills learned over the last six months into practice as they pitched their business at the gala event. Winners of the pitching competition, as well as the #GoDo Awards, Acceler8 Awards and others, shared thousands of pounds to help develop their business ideas and put their plans into action.

The evening featured Stephen Cole, Managing Director of Cole Advertising & Design based in Glasgow, as guest speaker, as well as speakers from among Entrepreneurial Spark’s team of Enablers and representatives of partner RBS.

Cole Advertising and Design is a full-service creative, digital & media buying agency created by Stephen’s dad, Chris Cole, in 1986. Stephen has been involved in growing the business since 1988 and has led the agency since 2010. As the company approaches its 30th year, Stephen shared his learnings from building a company, winning awards and increasing turnover and profit even throughout a recession.

The awards ceremony in Glasgow coincided with eight others at Entrepreneurial Spark’s Hatcheries across the UK, with over £250,000 awarded to Chiclets.

Entrepreneurial Spark is the world’s largest free accelerator for start-up and scale-up businesses, and competition for the latest intake to its accelerator programmes was intense. To find your nearest Hatchery and register interest for the August 2016 intake, visit