LESLEY Smith is named Borders’ top young entrepreneur at the regional finals of the 2012 Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ Awards.
The 27 year-old founder of The Honey Pot in Hawick was announced regional winner at a ceremony at Bowhill Little Theatre in Selkirk last night. She was presented with a £1000 cash prize by Stephen Vickers, Group Strategy Director of The Buccleuch Group, sponsors of the winner’s award. Ms Smith will now be considered by the judging panel to be entered into the national final taking place at Glasgow’s City Chambers on Tuesday 13th November 2012.
The Honey Pot is a boutique style shop filled full of shabby chic style gifts. The shop specialises in gift wear for newborns and young children, home accessories and gifts for weddings, birthdays etc and Lesley also has a work table and sewing machine with samples of handmade products, such as personalised bunting and blankets.
Lesley’s background and training are within the textile and design industry. She qualified with a 2:1 Bachelor of Art Honours Degree in 2008 and went on to work in the ladies knitwear buying department at Edinburgh Woollen Mill. Here she learned buying and negotiation skills, about the importance of costing and mark up and retailing environments. From Edinburgh Woollen Mill she went on to work at Johnstons of Elgin, managing key accounts including Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermes.
Last year, Lesley approached Youth Business Scotland for a loan to start her own business. She is now in her second year and is focusing on increasing sales and launching a full e-commerce website later this year.
The runner-up is 24 year-old Lucy Fitch, founder of Harmony Beauty Salon in Jedburgh. Prior to opening up her own salon, Lucy worked as an employee for four years in a busy beauty salon and gained knowledge of treatments, clients and salon procedures. In her final year of employment, Lucy ran the salon while the owner managed other areas of the business. After gaining this vital business experience Lucy decided to start her own business.
Lucy launched her beauty salon, Harmony in March 2011. She offers a wide range of beauty, massage and tanning treatments. The business offers clients in-depth knowledge and understanding of skin and body care, within a calm and relaxing environment. Lucy also sells a wide range of products to follow up and supplement home care treatments. In the future, Lucy hopes to expand the business, possibly relocating to larger premises and employ staff to help her. Councillor Stuart Bell from the Scottish Borders Council presented Lucy with a £500 cash prize and runners-up certificate.
Both the winner and the runner-up received funding, advice and support from Youth Business Scotland, which during the last twenty three years, has supported over 13,000 young people to start over 10,500 businesses, providing £37.8million in funding and additional assistance.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Youth Business Scotland regional manager, Tara Bolland said: “These young entrepreneurs represent some of the most talented, creative and dedicated business people in Scotland today and we are delighted to be able to recognise and reward their achievements through these awards.”
Stephen Vickers of The Buccleuch Group added: “These Awards are essential in encouraging a culture that values business ambition and innovation and we are delighted to support Youth Business Scotland in creating this entrepreneurial environment.”
The regional awards also recognised the expertise, mentoring advice and inspiration of aftercare adviser, Kevin Mills who was named Borders’ regional Volunteer of the Year. A Youth Business Scotland 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. Mr Mills will go forward and have the chance of winning the coveted title of ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at the national award finals in November.
Issued on behalf of Youth Business Scotland by Jen Nash, Panache Communications t. 07971 466 220 e. email@example.com For further information contact, Youth Business Scotland Regional Manager, Tara Bolland on tel 01750 505018 or Margaret Gibson/Louise Moore at Youth Business Scotland head office on Tel no. 0141 248 4999.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) is now known as The Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland and is part of The Prince’s Trust.
Lesley Smith, The Honey Pot, Lesley@lovethehoneypot.co.uk, 07739612991
Lesley Fitch, Lucy Fitch, Harmony, firstname.lastname@example.org, 01835 862773