FISHERMEN Konrad and Kamil Kosieradzki are named as the Outer Hebrides top young entrepreneurs at the regional finals of the 2012 The Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ Awards.
Konrad (29) and Kamil Kosieradzki (28), founders of K&K Fishing based in Uist were announced as regional winners at a ceremony at Langass Lodge on the Isle of North Uist. They were presented with a £1000 cash prize by Mrs Pauline Bell Volunteer Development Manager with Youth Business Scotland, the prize was generously sponsored by Lloyds TSB Scotland. Konrad and Kamil 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.
Originally from Poland, Konrad and Kamil Kosieradzki moved to Uist in 2005 and after gaining general experience in the seafood and fishing sector they purchased their own vessel the ‘Stelimar’ in 2009. The boat is a scallop dredger which operates out of Kallin harbour on the east coast of Uist around the local fishing grounds, their catch is landed daily to the Kallin Shellfish processing plant.
The boat was purchased through borrowing, assistance from the Outer Hebrides Fisheries Support Scheme (a partnership between RBS, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Western Isles Fishermens Association) and Youth Business Scotland. The brothers successfully completed all of the necessary safety and skills courses needed to operate the boat and began working the vessel at sea in the summer of 2009. Shortly after they began trading they faced a significant personal and professional challenge when Kamil was diagnosed with a serious illness. Despite having more fishing experience he had to step right back from the business and concentrate on his treatment and recovery.
Fortunately, Konrad, with support from the local fishing community, was able to increase his contribution, successfully managing the business until Kamil was well enough to return to fishing. Happily Kamil appears to have beaten his illness and is now back at work full-time. The brothers are known locally to be extremely hard-working and have integrated well into the community, having built a home in North Uist and now making plans for the future to commission a new custom built vessel.
Despite the challenges of the fishing industry the brothers have defied the odds and have done extremely well, achieving high turnover in the last year. This would be impressive for any vessel in this sector but given the challenges they have faced their performance to date can be considered truly exceptional. The brothers see their future and the future of their business in Uist and hope that by continuing to grow they will create employment opportunities and continue to contribute substantially to the local economy.
The runner-up is 27 year-old Graham Macleod, founder of Graham Macleod Driver Training, established in 2010 to provide driving tuition for the isles of Uist and Benbecula. The business grew from Graham’s enjoyment of driving when he found himself living back in Uist after a time studying and working in Glasgow.
A spell of illness meant Graham had to return home and was faced with very few job opportunities. While considering his career options Graham quickly came upon the idea of providing driving tuition. Graham self-financed his training, travelling to the mainland to complete the theory and practical learning to become an instructor. He also gained a Youth Business Scotland Development Award to help complete the accreditation and a loan towards the cost of purchasing a suitable vehicle and some initial marketing.
The business mainly provides driving instruction to new drivers to help them gain their driving licence, but also helps those wishing to brush up their skills or who are hoping to re-sit the test after their licence expires or a ban period. Every client is different with some new drivers having had experience or home lessons where they have picked up bad habits and others who have never sat behind the wheel of a car.
Graham is challenged by the limited road layout in Uist as he has to teach his clients all the skills they will need to drive a car anywhere yet he operates in an area where the flow of traffic is slow and the road signs and structures are basic. Safety skills are paramount to Graham’s teaching as he is aware that in an area where there are many wide open stretches of road and few police, there is temptation, especially for younger drivers. Graham jokes that being in a small community where you never know when you will pass your driving instructor once you’ve gained your licence, is a good way of making sure people always use their best skills.
Since setting up in September 2010 Graham has helped 97 pupils to pass their driving test and is currently teaching 20 learners, in the future he hopes to extend the business to include Barra and to diversify into offering advanced driving courses as well. A representative from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar presented him 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, Sarah Maclean 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.”
Local businessman and PTYBS Regional Chair, Cllr. Roddie Mackay said: “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, Lynne Macmillan, who was named Outer Hebrides’ regional Volunteer of the Year. Through her post with Business Gateway in Uist Lynne has assisted the Youth Business Scotland regional manager with everything from compiling client business plans to securing premises and providing aftercare support. Volunteers work 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. Lynne 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. firstname.lastname@example.org For further information contact, Youth Business Scotland Regional Manager, Sarah Maclean on 01851 707 304 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.
Konrad and Kamil Kosieradszki, K & K Fishing, email@example.com, 07525441578
Graham Macleod, Graham Macleod Driver Training, firstname.lastname@example.org, 01870 610 263