Hayleigh Linton and Christopher Craig are named Ayrshire’s top young entrepreneurs at the regional finals of the 2010 Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ Awards.
The joint founders of Bank Street Auto Clinic in Irvine were announced as regional winners at a ceremony at Kilmarnock College yesterday. They were presented with a £1000 cash prize by representatives from North Ayrshire Council, sponsors of the winner’s award. The pair 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.
Hayleigh Linton (26) and Christopher Craig (29) took over ownership of a local tyre and exhaust centre in May 2009. Chris has had years of experience in the mechanical repair of motor vehicles and Hayleigh had studied accounting at college. After just one year of trading they have tripled their revenues and are employing 3 mechanics, one of whom is female and is studying at the local college whilst continuing the hands-on experience in the garage. The couple are now planning to expand their business with a MOT station which will enable them to offer a one stop shop to customers and perhaps even create additional jobs.
The runner-up is Chris McCluskie (22) from Stewarton who established Redbag UK in 2009. Having worked in retail as deputy manager for a large high street brand, Mr McCluskie established Redbag as an online fashion store, specialising in sales of leading designer brands and mens clothing at the lowest possible price. Mr McCluskie’s latest fashions are proving very popular with online orders coming from all over the world and due to local demand Chris is also planning to open a retail outlet in Stewarton. A representative from East Ayrshire Council presented Mr McCluskie 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, Stewart Thomson 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.”
The regional awards also recognised the expertise, mentoring advice and inspiration of aftercare advisor, Jim Taylor, who was named Ayrshire’s 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. Mr Taylor 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, Stewart Thomson on tel. 01294 274113 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
Hayley Linton and Christopher Craig – Bank Street Auto Clinic
Chris McCluskie – Redbag UK