ES Awards finalists revealed

Dylan Macdonaldblog

Scotland’s Top Entrepreneurial Talent Revealed

Entrepreneurial Scotland announces the finalists of the prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Awards. The awards honour those individuals who have excelled in entrepreneurial leadership over the past 12 months and celebrate Scotland’s most exciting entrepreneurial talent.

This year’s finalists (in alphabetical order) are:

Entrepreneur of the Year

Steve Dunlop, Scottish Canals

Tarak Ramzan, QUIZ plc

Gareth Williams, Skyscanner




Entrepreneur of the Year

Peter Bruce, Entier

Angus MacDonald, ICS Learn

Dr Deborah O’Neil, NovaBiotics

John Watson, Edinburgh Airport



Rising Star

Entrepreneur of the Year

Rachael Brown, Cultural Enterprise Office

Callum Murray, Amiqus

Rebecca Pick, Pick Protection

Craig Robertson, Epipole



Deloitte continues to support the awards through the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award category. This prestigious accolade, has been won by some of Scotland’s most high profile entrepreneurs including Jim McColl OBE of Clyde Blowers (1999), David Sibbald, Atlantech (2000), Ann Budge of Newell & Budge (2005) and Mike Loggie of Saltire Energy (2015).

This year Barclays will be backing, ‘Scale-Up Entrepreneur of the Year’ (previously Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year). This award will recognise the achievements of leaders who are building a scale-up organisation or enterprise with outstanding potential. Previous winners of the emerging award include Lucinda Bruce Gardyne, Genius Gluten Free (2005), and Mike Welch OBE, Blackcircles (2014).

This reinforces Barclays’ new proposition, ‘Barclays High Growth and Entrepreneurs’, launched in 2015 in direct response to Scotland’s scale up gap, with the aim of helping businesses move on to a global stage.

The Herald continues its support as the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards’ media partner.

Nominees were assessed by Entrepreneurial Scotland, Deloitte and Barclays, with shortlisted candidates put forward to the second stage of the rigorous judging process. Successful nominees then had a company visit to evaluate the financial performance of their business and to assess key strategies including: planning, competitive advantage, people and leadership – all essential components for running successful entrepreneurial companies.

The finalists for each category were then interviewed by the winners of the 2016 awards – Entrepreneur of the Year, Jimmy Milne CBE of Balmoral Group, and Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, Chris Gauld of Spark Energy, alongside Sandy Kennedy of Entrepreneurial Scotland, Richard Slater of Deloitte in Scotland, Stuart Brown of Barclays, Colette Grant of Grant Property and Ian McConnell of The Herald.

The new award category for 2017 – the Rising Star Entrepreneur of the Year – was introduced to recognise the collective impact of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in supporting emerging entrepreneurial talent. The award recognises the individual who has demonstrated a truly entrepreneurial mindset and considerable potential to drive growth and/or change. Nominations came from organisations that include Converge Challenge, Scottish Edge, Future X and Business Gateway.

Sandy Kennedy, Chief Executive of Entrepreneurial Scotland, said:

“For Scotland to unlock its undoubted potential, we need leaders with the entrepreneurial mindset, grit and creativity to come to the fore. The ES Awards are a celebration of the breadth of entrepreneurial leadership on show in Scotland in 2017 from tech and life sciences to hospitality and airports, across the private and the public sectors, organisations large and small. 

“Each of the finalists has driven outstanding performance in 2017.  They have been through a multi stage, rigorous judging process and been grilled by previous winners Chris Gauld and Jimmy Milne CBE and our partners Deloitte and Barclays.  Every one of them has impressed us with their talent, determination and the sheer hard work that is required to lead an entrepreneurial organisation.

“The 2017 Awards are more than just a celebration of the finalists, they fuel our own ambitions, they encourage us to do better, to work harder and push towards an entrepreneurial culture. That is what will make Scotland the most entrepreneurial society in the world. We look forward to celebrating all the finalists on November 30th.”

The winners will be announced at Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Celebration Dinner at SWG3 in Glasgow on St Andrew’s Day, Thursday, 30 November 2017. Bookings can be made online at: