COFFEE shop owner, Arlene Robbie, is named Argyll’s top young entrepreneur at the regional finals of the 2012 The Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ Awards.
The 22 year-old founder of Arlene’s Coffee Shop in Craignure on the Isle of Mull was announced as regional winner at a ceremony at Argyll & Bute’s Council Chambers in Lochgilphead, where Andrew Kean of Firstpoint USA presented her with a £1,000 cash prize.
Ms Robbie will now be considered by the judging panel to be entered into the national final taking place at Glasgow’s City Chambers on Tuesday 13th November 2012.
After leaving school, Arlene attended University to study Business Management. When she returned toMull, she noticed a property for rent in an ideal location directly across from the ferry terminal.
Having always had a passion for baking and cooking, Arlene seized the opportunity to open her own coffee shop.
After a few months of negotiation and business planning, she approached Youth Business Scotland for a loan to help refurbish the property and buy equipment. She was successful in her application and began trading in 2011.
From day one, Arlene sourced local suppliers where possible and stocked products not available elsewhere on the island, and employed local people who she knew would give a warm welcome to visitors to the coffee shop.
Through a rigorous analysis of the local market place and with the assistance of family and the support of the local community, Arlene has managed to trade comfortably even during the winter months, when there are fewer tourists and ferries coming in.
She also has a contract with Mull & Iona Community Trust, to provide all their catering, hosts the Pensioner Weekly meetings and offers a celebration cake and outside catering service to clients.
The runner-up is 20 year-old Leonie Woolf, founder of Art & Sea based in Taynuilt on the West coast.
A keen kayaker and qualified coach, Ms Woolf searched everywhere to find a business that specialised in custom design boat graphics and when she couldn’t locate one, she decided to start a business doing exactly that.
Leonie applied to Youth Business Scotland for a loan to buy equipment for her business. She was successful in her application and began trading in 2011.
The former fine arts graduate now offers a wide range of graphics and vinyls for kayaks, paddlers, and she has even provided vinyls for cars.
Being out on the water a few times a week, Leonie generates many enquiries about her kayak designs, which helps to promote her business.
Leonie also attends a number of specialist events and conferences overScotlandand the rest of theUKto market her business directly to her target market.
In the future, Ms Woolf hopes to have her own studio or design centre where people can choose their vinyls and have them made in a single visit.
Provost Isobel Strong, from Argyll & Bute Council, presented Ms Woolf with a £500 cash prize and runners-up certificate.
Both the winner and the runner-up received funding, advice and support from Youth Business Scotland, which during the last 23 years, has supported over 13,000 young people to start over 10,500 businesses, providing £37.8million in funding and additional assistance.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Youth Business Scotland regional manager, Sharita Guy 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.”
Andrew Kean, of Firstpoint USA, added: “These Awards are essential in encouraging a culture that values business ambition and innovation and we are delighted to support Youth Business Scotland in creating this entrepreneurial environment.”
The regional awards also recognised the expertise, mentoring advice and inspiration of aftercare adviser, Linda Tighe, who was named Argyll’s regional Volunteer of the Year.
A Youth Business Scotland regional manager assists with everything from compiling a business plan to securing premises.
Once the business is up and running, an aftercare adviser is appointed, all of whom are experts in their fields.
They work as volunteers for the organisation, with the sole aim of helping young entrepreneurs sustain their business and offering them crucial advice during the first two years in business.
Ms Tighe will go forward and have the chance of winning the coveted title of ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at the national award finals in November.
Issued on behalf of Youth Business Scotland by Jen Nash, Panache Communications t. 07971 466 220 e. firstname.lastname@example.org For further information contact, Youth Business Scotland regional manager, Sharita Guy on tel.0141 435 7560 or Margaret Gibson/Louise Moore at Youth Business Scotland head office on Tel no. 0141 248 4999.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) is now known as The Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland and is part of The Prince’s Trust.
Arlene Robbie, Arlene’s Coffee Shop, email@example.com, Telephone Number: 01680 812 238
Leonie Woolf. Art & Sea, firstname.lastname@example.org, 07810046619
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Contact: Jen Nash