A young Ayrshire entrepreneur has won a prestigious award in recognition of her outstanding business growth at the annual Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) Growth Fund Awards.
Marion Lithgow (25) founder of A1 Transport of Ayr was announced as the winner of the ‘Business Growth’ award at a ceremony in Glasgow last night.
Ms Lithgow bought over her father’s transport business in 2008 with a loan from PSYBT which provides advice and funding to 18 – 25 year olds looking to set up and continue in business. In the last two years, she has grown the business to include a fleet of 25 vehicles and 23 full-time drivers who provide passenger and courier transport throughout Ayrshire.
Ms Lithgow doubled the firm’s turnover in the first year by focusing on delivering outstanding customer service at a competitive price and developing a good understanding of her customer’s priorities. She also re-invested her profits and applied for further loans from PSYBT’s Growth Fund. This has helped her expand the business significantly and Ms Lithgow is forecasting a further 33 percent increase in turnover this year.
Four other young entrepreneurs were also recognised for their outstanding business success at the awards ceremony. Lawrence Broadley (26) and Kevin Fox (25), founders of LAT 56 Ltd in Glasgow scooped the award for outstanding Business Innovation. The pair specialise in innovative products for business travelers and their latest designs were launched exclusively in Selfridges in London earlier this month. Joint winner of the Business Growth award is Angela Stewart (31), founder of Angela Stewart Creative based in Muir of Ord. Ms Stewart and her partner Grant, provide high quality design, management and production expertise including styling, lighting and flower services to private and corporate events clients located in London, central and Northern Scotland. The Determination to Succeed award was won by 29 year old Wojciech Banaszek who has overcome the considerable challenges associated with starting a business in a new country, to run a successful Polish café and deli in Edinburgh. All the winners were presented with specially commissioned silver Quaichs by Gio Benedetti of Wallace Cameron.
To date, an investment of £2.19 million has funded 171 Growth Fund businesses and allowed them to raise a further £3.9 million of funding to implement their growth plans. Collectively the recipients predict an increase in turnover of £22.8 million in the 12 months following the expansion and the creation of 273 jobs.
Congratulating the winners, Mark Strudwick, Chief Executive of PSYBT said “Growth Fund loans provide young people in business with a springboard for immediate expansion, as well as the opportunity to create employment. Financial backing also helps inspire ambition, innovation and determination to succeed and our award winners tonight are shining examples of what young entrepreneurs in business can achieve with such support.”
Issued on behalf of PSYBT by Jen Nash, Panache Communications t. 07971 466 220. For further information contact Margaret Gibson or Emma Fitzpatrick at PSYBT head office on Tel no. 0141 248 4999. Or visit the PSYBT website at www.psybt.org.uk
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Growth Fund was launched in 2002 thanks to an initial pledge of £125,000 from Sir Tom Hunter and further backing from Scottish Enterprise, the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, ERDF and private donations. The loan fund helps PSYBT supported entrepreneurs who have been in business for at least one year and want to expand. Applicants can apply for either a ‘Development Loan’ of up to £10,000 or an ‘Accelerator Loan’ of between £10,000 and £25,000. Recipients of both loans also receive business advice and aftercare mentoring from 18 PSYBT regional managers and various volunteers throughout Scotland, who help them become ‘investor ready’ and assist with their growth plans.