Eat Balanced mentioned in the Sunday Times
We are delighted to be part of Entrepreneurial Spark,
the UK's leading business incubator. Jim Duffy,
founder of Entrepreneurial Spark had some excellent coverage
in an article about Scotland's richest
Jim was very kind to mention us as a very promising
prospect. Jump to the section
about Eat Balanced.
Even in a recession, Scotland now has five entrepreneurs
worth more than £1 billion - Gillian Bowditch charts the rise of
As years go, the past 12 months have not been much of a party
for the super-rich. Sales of champagne are down 12% in the UK.
Shareholders are cutting up rough over bonuses. In Scotland, the
image of Fred Goodwin - once the toast of the financial sector -
stripped of his knighthood sent shivers down the spine of
Last week it was revealed that 55 Scots a day are going bankrupt
with 29 Scottish companies going out of business every week in the
first three months of this year. But a small elite are bucking the
trend - the macbillionaires. For the first time, according to The
Sunday Times Rich List, Scotland has five individuals and families
worth more than £1,000m, up from two last year.
The new members of the macbillionaires' club are the Grant and
Gordon family, the whisky magnates, Alastair Salvesen, the
transport and plant-hire tycoon, and Jim McColl, the man behind the
remarkable rise of Clyde Blowers.
Topping the list again is Mahdi al-Tajir, 80, originally from
the United Arab Emirates, who owns the 15,000 Blackwood Estate in
Perthshire. His fortune is estimated at £1.6 billion, up from £1.5
billion. Last week his Highland Spring company, based in
Perthshire, was crowned the UK market leader accounting for 20% of
bottled water sales nationwide.
At No 2 , up one place in the ranking and with a fortune of £1.4
billion up from £950m, is the Grant and Gordon family, producers of
Glenfiddich, the world's best-selling single malt. The company can
trace its origins back to 1887 when it was established by William
Grant. Three weeks ago, the matriarch of the family and Scotland's
oldest woman, Janet Roberts, died at the age of 110. She was the
last surviving grand-daughter of the founder. Her great-nephew
Peter Grant Gordon is current chairman.
The biggest riser in the Rich List is McColl, who has gone from
ninth to fifth place and seen his fortune rise from £570m to £1
billion in the last year. The 60-year-old Scot, who left school at
16 and who lives in Monaco, has taken his business from a
loss-making engineering company, which he bought in 1992, to a
business with a £1.4 billion turnover, employing 5,500 in 27
So what has changed? Has Scotland become a more entrepreneurial
country? John Anderson, chief executive of the Entrepreneurial
Exchange, which has 400 members with a combined turnover of £23
billion, says the answer is 'yes'. "It's taken us years, though,"
he said with a laugh. "It's been a journey from the wilderness. I
remember when I first came back from America there were hardly any
entrepreneurs here. I've been involved in the Exchange since it
started 17 years ago and I remember when we introduced the
Entrepreneur of the Year Award, people said, 'Where will you find
them?' But, of course, we do every year."
Despite the economic downturn, Scots at the top of the tree are
getting richer. The top 100 Scots have a combined wealth of £20.08
billion. There are more Scots than ever before in the Rich List's
top 1,000 - 74, up from 70 last year - and you have to be richer
than ever to join the club. Last year a mere £47m would get you
entry into the Scottish list. This year, you have to have £52m to
make the cut.
Anderson believes the biggest difference has been a change in
attitude among Scots generally. "There's more of an understanding
that creating wealth is good thing," he said. "People used to be
suspicious about it. If you had created wealth, the belief was that
you had done it at someone else's expense. There was an
old-fashioned socialist mentality in Scotland, a sense that if you
had money, you must have exploited someone else. That's gone
Scotland may not have fully bought into the Thatcher revolution
but it couldn't wholly ignore it. The stiff suits who ran private
companies and met at the New Club in Edinburgh started to give way
to a new generation of high-profile young Scottish entrepreneurs.
The explosion in new technology in the 1990s gave young
entrepreneurs the opportunity to join the rich club.
It's still happening. New to the Scottish Rich List this year is
Pete Cashmore, the 26- year-old Aberdonian at No 84 with a fortune
estimated at £60m. Cashmore, the man behind Mashable, a technology
and internet blog that attracts 20m visitors each month, started up
at 19. Now the American media company CNN has valued it at $200m
But of the top 20 richest Scots of 2012, only one has made money
from technology; Graham Wylie, the Scot behind the Sage software
business. Scotland's super rich have mainly made their fortunes
from Scotland's traditional industries - oil, whisky, fish,
engineering and transport.
Anderson says one of the big changes in Scotland's
entrepreneurial culture is the way the focus has moved away from
the high-risk technology and life-science businesses back towards
family businesses. Once seen as plodding and decidedly unsexy,
family businesses, which have weathered economic downturns for
generations, have become the backbone of the economy. They often
have rural roots.
"The big opportunity for Scotland is in family businesses," said
Anderson. "A few years ago, a lot of the emphasis at Scottish
Enterprise was in sexy, new things like optoelectronics. Yes, there
is a huge opportunity for knowledge and science-based businesses
but we've got more mature in understanding the opportunities in
family businesses. We've seen people take an existing family
business and transform it."
That's certainly the case for the Highland-based Grant and
Gordon firm, and is true for Aberdonian Sir Ian Wood and Alastair
Salvesen, a scion of the Christian Salvesen transport operation,
who has taken the business in new directions with Dawnfresh
The other big change has been the democratisation of wealth in
Scotland. The Duke of Sutherland - No 10 on the list with a £525m
fortune - and the Duke of Buccleuch, owner of Scotland's only
Leonardo da Vinci and at No 19 with £180m, are still in the top 20.
But few of the new breed of super-rich were born with silver spoons
in their mouths. By and large, the wealth of the nation has slipped
through the manicured fingers of the landed gentry into the hard
hands of self-made entrepreneurs.
Acceptance of the super-rich has also come about as Scots have
become more aspirational and new entry points to the club have
opened up. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the inclusion on
the Rich List of Colin and Chris Weir - in at No 23 - whose £161m
fortune was won on the lottery. The retired cameraman and nurse
were last year instantly catapulted into the rich league.
Programmes such as The Apprentice and Dragons' Den have brought
the concept of entrepreneurship to a new generation and Scotland's
leading entrepreneurs, such as Sir Tom Hunter and Willie Haughey -
feted for their philanthropy - are giving something back to the
next generation that is worth more than mere money; their time and
Jim Duffy, a former policeman who has launched a series of
companies, has founded Entrepreneurial Spark, a
not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated to promoting the concept
in Scotland. The pioneering scheme brings together young
entrepreneurs under one roof. The entrepreneurs are known as
"chicklets" and their office space is "the hatchery".
The first hatchery is accommodated in the Glasgow headquarters
of Haughey's City Refrigeration company. The second has just opened
in Hunter's facility at the Olympic Business Park in Ayrshire. Alex
Salmond toured the building last Wednesday. Labour leader Ed
Miliband was there on Friday. It's a pioneering concept designed to
hothouse the next generation of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial
Spark plans to support 25 to 30 start-ups or nascent businesses
every six months.
"Entrepreneurs in Scotland are more
willing to help others as never before," said Duffy. "This
recession has gone on so long that we've had to start doing things
differently. We've become leaner, more nimble and more American in
our style. We get our entrepreneurs to pitch constantly. The
traditional way of setting up businesses was not for growth but to
plod along. You have to get the mindset right."
So who are the macbillionaires of the future? Duffy
singles out Donnie Maclean of Eat Balanced, a start-up that
makes nutritionally balanced pizzas and has won plaudits from
Waitrose and Channel 4's The Food Hospital. He also rates Consol
Efomi from Make That Move, a dance
video-sharing site that works with iPads, iPhones and smart phones.
"They have global potential," he said.
Tomorrow's young entrepreneurs look up to today's billionaires,
said Anderson. "Role models are extremely important; we need to
provide as many different genders, background and roles as
possible," he said.
But what of the economic downturn? Anderson believes, contrary to
received wisdom, that it may be helping to develop the next
generation of entrepreneurs.
"We've got a new generation coming through who are not going to
walk into a graduate programme or a job but they have been through
enterprise education, which is now embedded in the Curriculum for
Excellence," he said. "They are more alert to the opportunities of
doing something for themselves."
At the other end of the spectrum, there is the person who has
been made redundant and who now has the opportunity to start the
business of which they've always dreamt. Even in a global
recession, there is money to be made, as Scotland's new
billionaires can testify.
"I think the outlook is phenomenally bright," said Duffy. "Some
of the best business ideas are born out of recession."