Saturday, 13 September 2008
Ayrshire’s top young entrepreneur
is events organiser Ross McKinnon
By: Jen Nash
ROSS McKinnon, founder of corporate hospitality company Amazing Days Scotland, has been named Ayrshire’s top young entrepreneur after winning a prestigious business award and a cash boost of £1000.
Ross, who is based in Kilmarnock, beat the business talents of Ayrshire’s best young start-ups to win the regional final of the 2008 Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ Awards.
[Pictured left to right: PSYBT chairman David Campbell, winner Ross McKinnon and East Ayrshire Council Provost Stephanie Young.]
Ross started his business in 2006 and offers bespoke corporate hospitality, client entertainment, tourism and special occasion packages for customers across Scotland. The tours he offers include seaplane and helicopter tours, distillery tours, champagne cruises, off-road driving, spa days, and luxury shopping trips. Initially Ross concentrated on up-market tourism and special occasions, but the business now attracts a growing number of clients from the corporate sector with bespoke packages designed for client entertainment, staff incentive and reward.
[Pictured left to right: winner Ross McKinnon, PSYBT chairman David Campbell and PSYBT chief executive Mark Strudwick.]
The ceremony, which took place at University of West of Scotland Ayr Campus, was attended and supported by Mr Wilson from The Barcapel Foundation who presented Ross with a cheque for £1000. He will now be considered by the judging panel to go forward for the national final taking place in Glasgow’s Barony Hall on Monday 17 November 2008. Six of the 18 regional winners will be selected to compete for the coveted national title of this year’s The Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ and the opportunity to win an additional £2,000.
The regional runner-up is Cameron Syme from Think Creative Design in Irvine. Cameron founded his business in October 2005 to provide a graphic design to print and web service for customers across Scotland. Originally based from home, Cameron soon moved into business premises in Irvine to capitalise on his work with a local well- established printing firm. Through hard work and repeat business, Cameron has built an impressive portfolio of customers including local councils and businesses, as well as two Scottish premier league football clubs. Deputy Provost Ian Clarkson of North Ayrshire Council presented Cameron with a cash prize of £500.
Rebecca Stephens, proprietor of Garden Girl was the recipient of the second runner-up prize. Rebecca set up her business in 2007 after she was unable to find any other female gardeners in her area specialising in all year round garden care. Provost Winifred Sloan of South Ayrshire Council presented Rebecca with a cash prize of £100.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, PSYBT regional manager Stewart Thomson said: “These young entrepreneurs represent some of the most talented, creative and dedicated business people in Scotland today, and we are delighted to be able to recognise and reward their achievements through these awards. They should act as a true inspiration for us all in terms of demonstrating commitment, self belief and determination to not only take the first brave steps into working for themselves but to go on and create successful and sustainable businesses that contribute to Scotland’s economic future.”
Mr Wilson added: “These awards are a wonderful opportunity to showcase some of Scotland’s most talented young entrepreneurs. We are delighted to be involved and to be able to celebrate the creativity, determination and innovation of our young people. Ross has shown a great depth of marketing and business development skills to build his business and attract new customers and we wish him every success in the national final.”
PSYBT was launched in January 1989 and is a national organisation with offices in 18 Regions across Scotland. To date 8620 (10,209 proprietors) businesses have been assisted with £31.2m awarded - £27.8m in loans (89%) and £3.4m in grants (11%).
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