The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2017, organised by Entrepreneurial Scotland, is the country’s longest running competition to recognise and honour individuals who have excelled in leadership over the previous 12 months.
The Awards judging panel included the winners of the previous 2016 awards, including Entrepreneur of the Year, Dr Jimmy Milne CBE (Balmoral Group) and Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, Chris Gauld (Spark Energy). 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 were also judges.
The Awards followed a special Scale-Up Scotland Forum hosted during the day by Entrepreneurial Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Over 140 Scottish entrepreneurs, investors and advisors gathered at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre to hear from speakers including Sir Tom Hunter, Bob Keiller CBE and Sherry Coutu CBE, discussing how to overcome the scale-up challenge in Scotland.
The winners of the 2017 awards are:
Entrepreneur of the Year: Gareth Williams, CEO and co-founder of Skyscanner
Gareth is the CEO and co-founder of Skyscanner, a leading global travel search site and app and one of Scotland’s first ‘unicorn’ companies. Sold in 2016 to Ctrip for £1.4 billion, Skyscanner continues to operate independently and remains headquartered in Edinburgh. The company employs over 900 staff in ten offices across the world and continues to demonstrate impressive growth with over 60 million visitors to the site every month.
Scale-Up Entrepreneur of the Year: Angus MacDonald, Chairman of ICS Learn
Angus is the Chairman and shareholder to three leading Scottish businesses: ICS Learn in education, SWR in recycling and Renewable Parts which supplies spare parts for wind turbines. The businesses have a combined turnover of more than £45 million, employing 170 staff and profits of £4.5 million in 2017.
The Rising Star Entrepreneur of the Year was a new award category for 2017, introduced to recognise the collective impact of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in supporting emerging talent. The award recognises the individual who has demonstrated a truly entrepreneurial mindset and considerable potential to drive growth and change. Nominations came from organisations that include Converge Challenge, Scottish Edge, Future X and Cultural Enterprise Office.
Rising Star Entrepreneur of the Year: Callum Murray, CEO of Amiqus
Callum is the CEO of Amiqus, a tech start-up based in Leith with a mission to make civil justice accessible to everyone. This year Amiqus has more than doubled in size, attracted investment from across the UK / US, won a string of new clients during the second half of 2017 and won Barclays ‘Start-up of the Year’ for Scotland & Northern Ireland last month.
Sandy Kennedy, Chief Executive of Entrepreneurial Scotland, said: “Congratulations to Gareth, Angus and Callum. Every year it is truly inspirational to meet the finalists and hear what they have achieved. The reality of being an entrepreneur is relentless. You are constantly challenging the norm and in many ways you are never satisfied. They are a force of nature and are all playing their part and bringing something different to Scotland.
“Every one of this year’s finalists demonstrated humility and tenacity and talked about their teams and how they couldn’t have done it without them. Our winners and finalists exhibit these entrepreneurial traits and we use our awards as a platform to celebrate this and inspire others to go out there and do it, whatever their role or their organisation.”