A CHOCOLATIER and part-time model from Cumbernauld was among those recognised for their visionary business and e-commerce skills at an awards ceremony in Glasgow last night.
The annual BT Scotland Young E-ntrepreneurs Awards, which are organised by The Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT), seek to recognise visionary PSYBT entrepreneurs who have benefitted from BT Scotland funding and gone on to grow their businesses with the help of e-commerce.
At last night’s awards ceremony, Sarah Findlay, founder of Miss COCO chocolates, received the award for most Visionary Business and a cash prize of £1,000.
The Glasgow University graduate was all set to pursue an alternate career before taking the ambitious step of realizing her childhood dream and becoming a chocolatier instead.
Miss Findlay (24) launched Miss COCO early last year with the help of start-up funding from PSYBT and BT Scotland.
Largely self taught, the former 2009 Miss Earth Scotland model designs and makes all her own chocolates at a small production facility in Cumbernauld.
She now has over 20 lines which she sells through her website www.misscoco.co.uk, and has recently increased her distribution to include selected retail outlets in Glasgow, offices and also caters for weddings, and other special events.
Rachel McLean (21) founder of Sweet Peacock, a soap making business in Stepps, received the award for Best Website, www.sweetpeacock.com.
Rachel, who is a second degree reiki practitioner, consciously channels holistic therapy in the form of reiki chakras into her own handmade soaps which she infuses with pure essential oils.
Demand for Sweet Peacock soaps has come from customers as far away as New York and Singapore, and the soaps are also now sold in various retail outlets throughout Glasgow.
The Best eCommerce business award was given to Carol-Ann Brown (24), founder of F5 Karting [www.F5karting.co.uk] based in Dumfries.
For the past year, she has been introducing thrill seekers and outdoor enthusiasts to the latest extreme beach sports craze from New Zealand, called blokarting.
Similar to land yachting, this involves hurling along at speeds of up to 90kph in a three-wheeled buggy powered by a sail.
F5 Karting caters for private as well as corporate clients and operates on beaches in Dumfries and Galloway as well as Ayrshire.
The winner of the Most Environmentally Responsible Business award went to young Dunfermline entrepreneur, Aaron Simpson.
Mr Simpson (23) is founder of Vteam Scotland [www.vteamscotland.co.uk], a professional car valeting company – with a difference.
Vteam Scotland is a completely waterless valet which saves up to 200 litres per wash and, as the products are non-toxic, there is no discharge of chemicals into drains and customers are assured a completely eco-friendly service.
All the runners-up received a £750 cash prize to further develop their business.
In the last ten years, BT Scotland has invested more than £500,000 in the Young E-ntrepreneurs programme, helping more than 150 young people to start-up in businesses.
The funding programme encourages PSYBT-backed business start-ups to embrace electronic means of doing business and use the internet to deliver new markets, with support through grants and loans.
Liz Turner, head of corporate responsibility at BT Scotland, said: “Our winners have demonstrated new and imaginative ways to exploit and develop applications for their own audiences.
“They have discovered for themselves that new technologies allow smaller companies to expand quickly, give them credibility and make them more efficient in a competitive marketplace.
“It has been wonderful to work with so many inspirational young business people over the last decade and we wish all our winners and award recipients every future success.”
Mark Strudwick, chief executive of PSYBT, added: “The initiative with BT Scotland has flourished over the last ten years and has enabled us to help many of Scotland’s young entrepreneurs to take the first steps towards successful self-employment.
“Scotland has a wealth of young people who are ambitious, talented and want to work for themselves, and without funding many of them would not be able to take this route.
“Thanks to this generous investment by BT we are able to help as many as possible to set up and grow their businesses.”
Issued on behalf by PSYBT Jen Nash, Panache Communications tel. 07971 466 220 Email Jen@panachecommunications.co.uk. For further information contact the BT Scotland press office: 0800 085 0660 or Margaret Gibson or Emma Fitzpatrick of PSYBT on 0141 248 4999. You can also check out the PSYBT website at www.psybt.org.uk.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Photographs: Free Photography from Malcolm Cochrane tel. 07971 835 065 e. email@example.com
Award Winners Contact details
Contact Sarah Findlay on 01236 737 554.
Contact Rachel McLean on t. 07935 098523
Contact Carol-Ann Brown on 07841208862
Contact: Aaron Simpson on t. 07545 494115
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