Edel Harris, CEO of Cornerstone crowned EY Scotland Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017

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Edel Harris, CEO of Aberdeen-based health and social care charity Cornerstone was named EY Scotland Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 overall winner at an awards ceremony at Gleneagles last night (Thursday 22 June 2017).

Cornerstone is the largest provider of social care services in Scotland and employs 2,200 people. It provides care and support services for adults, children and young people with disabilities and other support needs across the country on a daily basis.

In the nine years Edel has been in her role at Cornerstone she has delivered business growth of £10 million, diversified into new care markets and delivered an ambitious capital plan to create new homes for people with disabilities and autism. Her most recent transformational strategic plan, designed to embrace the challenges and opportunities presented by the ageing population, was recognised as having the potential to transform the social care sector in Scotland.

Annie Graham, EY Partner and leader of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year programme in Scotland, said: “Edel Harris is an entrepreneur with wow factor. Her passion, drive and strategic mindset have made a significant impact to the lives of the people who work and are supported by Cornerstone across Scotland. As a leader she is a shining example of Scotland’s vibrant entrepreneurial community.”

Edel also took home the Building a Better Working World award and the independent panel of judges described her as ‘truly inspirational with the potential to change the world’. Her entrepreneurial spirit, strategic direction and personal integrity were also highlighted as key characteristics of her success.

There was tough competition for Edel who was up against eighteen other successful and accomplished entrepreneurs based in Scotland. As overall winner she goes forward to the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 UK final to be hosted in London in October, along with the other EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners in each of the following categories:

  • Building a Better Working World and Overall Winner – Edel Harris, CEO of Cornerstone (Community Care), based in Aberdeen
  • Transformational Leader – Alan Foy, CEO of Smart Metering Systems (SMS), based in Glasgow
  • Disruptor – Andrew Reid, CEO of RHA, based in Glasgow
  • International – Craig Gallagher, CEO of MB Aerospace Group Holdings Ltd, based in Motherwell
  • Master – Calum Smeaton, CEO and Founder of TVSquared, based in Edinburgh
  • Rising Star – Magnus Houston, Managing Director of Coast & Glen Ltd, based in Inverness
  • Scale Up – Neil Lapping, Chief Adventure Officer of Macs Adventure Ltd, based in Glasgow


Annie added: “There is no denying the strength and entrepreneurial credentials of our cohort of finalists this year. The shortlist for the 2017 awards is a diverse and remarkable collection of individuals who are building impressive businesses here in Scotland.  In addition to making a positive impact on Scotland’s economy, and in their chosen markets, these entrepreneurs are making a real difference to the people and communities they work with.”

There was also a Family Business Award presented to Eddie Hawthorne, Managing Director of the Arnold Clark Group. The business was established in 1954 by Sir Arnold Clark, who passed away in April at the age of 89. Today the Arnold Clark Group sell more than 200,000 cars a year, has 200 dealerships with 24 different manufacturers, a stock of around 20,000 vehicles at any time and a turnover of £3bn.


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