Kirsten Dunnett is named as Tayside’s top young entrepreneur at the regional finals of the 2010 Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ Awards.
The 24 year old founder of Missy La La’s in Dundee was announced as regional winner at a ceremony at the GA Engineering’s offices in Dundee. She was presented with a £1000 cash prize by Gordon Deuchars, Managing Director of GA Engineering (Scotland), sponsors of the winner’s award. Ms Dunnett will now be considered by the judging panel to be entered into the national final taking place at Glasgow’s City Chambers on Tuesday 16th November 2010. Six of the 18 regional winners are selected to compete for the coveted national title of PSYBT ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ and the opportunity to win an additional £2000.
Kirsten Dunnett opened Miss La La’s boutique in the city centre in May 2008 stocking clothing brands sourced from London, as well as bags and accessories. Many ranges are exclusive to her store and the city, ensuring a loyal and enthusiastic customer base. Ms Dunnett puts her success down to hard work and an understanding of what her customers are looking for. “As I am a sole trader and have not employed permanent staff, I work 7 day weeks and have done so for the last 2 years, 6 days in the shop and the other going to London to get stock, dealing with admin and accounts and attending fashion shows and events”, she explains. “But it is worth it. I am constantly updating the collections and this season, 4 new brands have been introduced which have received a great response from our customers.”
The business was named newcomer of the year in the 2009 Dundee City Centre Retail Awards and made the top 3 in the Scottish Retail Awards for Newcomer of The Year. Ms Dunnett was also awarded the 2009 Young Scot Award for Enterprise.
Running the boutique, she has picked up a variety of skills from buyer, merchandiser, stylist and sales assistant. “It took a lot of determination and hard work, as I felt I had to justify my business ideas to everyone,” says Kirsten. “Many people were initially very skeptical and negative, saying I was too young, that there was a recession and I had no practical business experience. This made me far more determined to prove people wrong and also made me a lot more confident in my idea.”
But she is not resting on her laurels and is planning soon to introduce a footwear range and a much larger accessories section and is expanding her website. Plans for a second shop are on the cards and work has already started on sourcing a suitable location.
The runners-up are Ian Holden (25) and Stuart Younger (30) who set up H Y Electrical in Perth in April 2008. The business provides all aspects of electrical installation work, maintenance work, and all types of testing to a range of domestic and commercial clients across Perthshire and beyond.
Having worked in the electrical industry for a combined 19 years, Ian and Stuart realised that there was a place for a business providing a reliable and cost effective service. “Starting the business as a partnership had more benefits than minuses for us as we have expertise in different areas of the industry which, combined, make our business more attractive to the customer, as well as being able to finish work on time with twice the amount of labour available to us”, explains Ian.
At the start of May this year, the partners employed an apprentice to begin his training in August and help with work, such is the demand for their services, despite the current economic climate.
They have invested in gaining extra qualifications through The Scottish Electrical Contractors Association (SELECT), which allows the partners to look for work in different areas of the electrical trade such as emergency lighting, fire detection and inspection and testing. They have two vans and rent an office and store where they carry a sufficient level of stock so that they are not reliant on visiting a wholesaler on a daily basis, and can complete emergency work during weekends and holidays.
They also recognise the value of building strategic alliances; they have established a relationship with two older electricians in the area who are sole traders and occasionally require Ian and Stuart to assist with larger jobs and work that they are not certified to carry out. This has proved to be a good relationship, which also works for the partners: “if we find ourselves in a position with too much on, we can ask for the favour to be returned,” explains Ian. Within the next three years, the partners aim to have 1 additional electrician, 2 additional apprentices and another van on the road. A representative from Perth & Kinross Council presented them with a £500 cash prize and runners-up certificate.
Both the winner and the runner-up received funding, advice and support from PSYBT, which during the last twenty one years, has supported almost 12,000 young people to start over 10,000 businesses, providing £31.5million in funding and additional assistance.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, PSYBT regional manager, Catherine Ward said, “Our regional finalists have demonstrated ambition, courage and determination to set up and develop their own businesses. Youth enterprise is something to be recognised and applauded and we wish them all the best for the national final.”
Gordon Deuchars of GA Engineering added, “These awards are showcase of Scotland’s most talented young business entrepreneurs. Their creativity, determination and innovation will help them carve out successful futures for themselves and also benefit local economies and communities throughout Scotland. We are delighted to be involved and look forward to following their future success.”
The regional awards also recognised the expertise, mentoring advice and inspiration of aftercare advisor, Janet McIntyre, who was named Tayside regional Volunteer of the Year. A PSYBT regional manager assists with everything from compiling a business plan to securing premises. Once the business is up and running, an aftercare adviser is appointed, all of whom are experts in their fields. They work as volunteers for the organisation, with the sole aim of helping young entrepreneurs sustain their business and offering them crucial advice during the first two years in business. Ms McIntyre will go forward and have the chance of winning the coveted title of ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at the national award finals in November.
For further information contact, PSYBT Regional Manager, Catherine Ward on tel. 01382 443411 or Margaret Gibson/Emma Fitzpatrick at PSYBT head office on Tel no. 0141 248 4999. Visit the PSYBT WEBSITE at www.psybt.org.uk
NOTES TO EDITORS
Contact: Ian Holden, HY Electrical, 01738 561404, www.hyelectrical.co.uk, firstname.lastname@example.org