Jeanette Forbes of PCL Group has been announced as this year’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the 2018 Elevator Awards.
Jeanette was recognised for her ingenuity in diversifying her business empire to survive and thrive during the oil and gas downturn. Her numerous charitable and community initiatives also earned her praise from her peers as has her continued commitment to remain a ‘hands-on’ CEO.
Andy Willox OBE, former Scottish Policy Convenor of The Federation of Small Businesses, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr Willox received the accolade for his years of support towards small businesses in Scotland – a feat that earned him an OBE from the Prince of Wales.
Whilst working tirelessly to ensure that small businesses have the tools and security they need to thrive, Mr Willox has also steered his own business to success after launching it 34 years ago.
27 finalists were shortlisted and the winners represent successful start-ups and businesses from various sectors; including food and drink, healthcare, lifestyle, technology and energy.
Professor Gary McEwan, chief executive of Elevator, praised the high calibre of entries by saying: “The 2018 awards has again been a resounding success and the quality of this year’s entries has been astounding. The North-east has a diverse, resilient and successful entrepreneurial community and each of the guests at tonight’s event are ambassadors and champions of that collective.
“Despite having around 7% of the country’s population, we work with 14% of all Business Gateway start-ups, so it’s crucial that we nurture our home-grown talent and continue to create an ecosystem that propels our entrepreneurs towards national and global success. Tonight, has been a celebration of that success and talent and I congratulate all the winners.”
Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year went to Rebecca Carr of Rebecca Carr Hair Salon; who was praised by the judges for her consistent strive for improvement, high degree of customer care and business growth ambition.
2018 saw the introduction of a new category – Inspirational Mentor of the Year – and the inaugural winner was revealed as Jamie Bennett. Renowned for his entrepreneurialism, Jamie has helped countless early-stage business owners on the path to success by mentoring, challenging and sharing his expertise and knowledge.
Motive Offshore Group took home the accolade for Business Success Over Three Years. Motive has been a positive story amidst the challenges the oil and gas industry has faced. By taking advice, careful business planning and hard work, the business recently celebrated its most successful year with an eight-figure turnover.
Most Promising New Business went to The Alexander Smokery, who despite having only been trading for less than a year, has successfully exported its smoked salmon products to Europe, North America and Asia. It’s accelerated success has allowed it to reinvest in the business and plan to increase its factory capacity and workforce.
Last year, Fierce Beer was the winner of Most Promising New Business and as the business continues to grow, it was awarded Business Success Under Three Years. Spearheaded by Dave Grant and David McHardy, the company has doubled its turnover in its second year and grow its staff to 12. As well as opening a new bar in the city centre, Fierce Beer exports its products to 14 countries globally.
Supported by The Prince’s Trust, Amy Fergusson of Animal Obsessed, was announced as the Spirit of Enterprise winner. Amy, who has suffered from bullying, health issues and dyslexia, fulfils her passion of looking after animals every day though Animal Obsessed – a dog walking and sitting service in Aberdeen. Amy is now looking award to securing funding for Aberdeen’s first ‘doggy day care centre’ in Bridge of Don.
Other wins on the night included Softcell Medical Ltd for The Innovation Award, Charlie House for Enterprising Communities and The Orthodontic Clinic for Employer of the Year.
The complete list of winners of the Elevator Awards 2018 is:
Lifetime Achievement of the Year – Andy Willox OBE
Entrepreneur of the Year – Jeanette Forbes
Inspirational Mentor of the Year – Jamie Bennett
The Innovation Award – Softcell Medical Ltd
Business Success Over Three Years – Motive Offshore Group
Business Success Under Three Years – Fierce Beer
Most Promising New Business – The Alexander Smokery
Enterprising Communities Award – Charlie House
Spirit of Enterprise – Amy Fergusson of Animal Obsessed
Employer of the Year – The Orthodontic Clinic
Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year – Rebecca Carr