Business leaders from a host of Scotland’s most promising and innovative businesses will be hoping secure the title of Scotland’s Entrepreneur of the Year at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Gleneagles – Due to take place in June.
23 entrepreneurs from Scotland make up the first of 96 finalists to be announced from across the United Kingdom; highlighting a the vibrant, pioneering nature of Scottish business. The nominees come from a broad range of industries and sectors, including financial services, life sciences, energy and creative industries.
Interviewed by an independent panel of judges, the selected winners from Scotland and England will progress to the UK finals in November to establish a winner for the ‘EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 UK overall winner’.
This year marks a special moment for the EY awards, as it celebrates its’ 20th anniversary. Over the past two decades, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year has showcased the invaluable contributions of entrepreneurs to the British economy and cultivated a vibrant network of innovators and pioneers in a number of industries.
Some of Scotland’s best-known business figures are former EY Entrepreneur Of The Year winners, including: Sir Brian Souter, founder of transport company Stagecoach; Martin Gilbert and renowned entrepreneur Alasdair Locke, the overall Scotland winner at the inaugural ceremony in 1999.
Luke Johnson, Founder and CEO of Cognitive Geology is but one of a number of pioneering business leaders selected for this years finals. His nomination tops off an already amazing year so far. He said: “Discovering that I’ve been selected as a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the year awards tops off what has been an amazing first quarter of 2018 – we’ve just moved into our brand new offices, have grown the team to 25 and are working on some really exciting new contracts.”
For Luke, this recognition could herald a landmark year for both himself and Cognitive Geology, saying “I started Cognitive Geology back in 2014 but 2018 really feels like it could be our best year yet.”
A Team Effort
Phil Grady of Castlight Financial has also been nominated for this year’s finals. Phil was keen to point out that although his name is on the nomination, his colleagues at Castlight should also be recognised for their innovative work. He said:
“The culture we are trying to create here, is that other than me, there are another 25 Entrepreneurs that work for Castlight – my name just happens to be mentioned.”
Castlight is an innovative financial technology company, providing financial retailers with a range of pioneering digital tools to enhance their business. Castlight’s Affordability Passport is its’ newest, unique digital tool which allows customers to securely share details of their income, expenditure and financial capability; allowing people to make informed credit and lending decisions.
According to Castlight’s website, the platform “breaks down the customer’s expenditure, across any number of accounts, into a range of categories, summarising essential costs and credit commitments and revealing a monthly disposable income.”
This financial information is then merged with credit performance data, allowing retailers to access the customer’s Affordability Passport. This innovative platform can help retailers streamline their services by delivering fast, detailed answers.
Disrupting the Status Quo
Martin McDonnell, Founder of Soluis echoed Phil Grady’s statement, highlighting the great work the team does. He said: “Although I am the named nominee for the award it is certainly the case that our whole team embody that spirit of entrepreneurship, taking on difficulty challenges and coming up with innovative solutions for our top tier global clients that do indeed disrupt the status quo.”
Martin says that innovation can be driven by the adoption of new technologies in business and, in adapting to the needs of customers, better services will continue to develop across a range of industries.
He said: “At Soluis, as well as continuing to evolve our offering and in many way lead the market in specialist graphic communication services for the property, construction and design sector, I have always pushed the adoption of new technologies, historically games engine technology, and now more recently VR & AR technology, into our sector.”
Mike Timmins, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Scotland Leader, highlighted the importance of recognising innovation and celebrating pioneering figures, saying “It takes courage, conviction and curiosity to achieve success as an entrepreneur and it is important to celebrate the contributions they make to our economy and society.
“Today’s entrepreneurs are the mentors of tomorrow and it is vital to Scotland’s vibrant business community that we support and encourage this legacy for generations to come.”