CAR valeting duo, Sean McMillan and Simon Morgan, have been named Grampian’s top young entrepreneurs at the regional finals of the 2012 The Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ Awards.
The founders of SS Autovalet in Union Square, Aberdeen, were announced as regional winners at a ceremony at Newmachar Golf Club in Aberdeenshire today. They were presented with a £1,000 cash prize by Jim Milne, chair and managing director of Aberdeen-based Balmoral Group, sponsors of the winner’s award. The duo 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.
Sean McMillan (24) and Simon Morgan (24) initially set up their car valet business in Dundee and it was such a success they decided to expand into the Aberdeen market. At that time, Union Square Shopping Mall was about to open and they were fortunate to get the concession within the multi-storey car park. SS Autovalet has prospered and they now have a workforce of 16 full-time and part-time staff. They have recently been granted a contract extension which will guarantee their right to trade until at least 2017 and they have successfully repaid all loans and debts initially accrued by the company.
In the future, the young entrepreneurs hope to provide an eco-friendly ‘waterless’ car washing service at a new adjacent venue inAberdeen. They are also looking at establishing an electrical mobile unit with zero omissions to allow them to visit business premises in and around Aberdeen. This will use an electric commercial vehicle which will have zero omissions.
The runner-up is 26 year-old Ewen Watson, a freelance music specialist based in Forres. Ewen graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an MSc in Music in the Community and has been trained to use innovative technology to allow those with multiple and complex physical and learning disabilities to enjoy music. He set up his business in 2010 to allow people of all ages and abilities to become actively involved in the music-making process.
Ewen runs projects and training sessions with Drake Music Scotland, the University of Edinburgh and Skoog Music. Since returning north, Ewen has developed his business by providing music-making classes at five schools in the area. He was recently awarded a Moray Council Volunteer Award and has started work with Sense Scotland and helping people from Alzheimer Scotland. In the future he hopes to run a number of music summer schools for young people. Campbell Urquhart from Aberdeen Business Club presented Mr Watson with a £500 cash prize and a runners-up certificate.
Both the winner and the runner-up received funding, advice and support from Youth Business Scotland, which during the last 23 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, Keith Hewitt said: “These young entrepreneurs represent some of the most talented, creative and dedicated business people inScotlandtoday and we are delighted to be able to recognise and reward their achievements through these awards.”
Mr Milne of Balmoral 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, David Reid, who was named Grampian’s 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 Reid will go forward and have the chance of winning the coveted title of ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at the national award finals in November.