Entrepreneurs and business directors gathered at the Gogarburn Conference Centre in Edinburgh last night (November 9th) to discover who had won a coveted Royal Bank of Scotland Great British Entrepreneur Award at the Scotland and Northern Ireland final.

Now in its fifth year, the Royal Bank of Scotland Great British Entrepreneur Awards recognise the hard work and inspiring stories of British entrepreneurs, rather than just their financial success.

The awards ceremony celebrated businesses from Scotland and Northern Ireland across 10 categories, from Family Business of the Year to Small Business of the Year.

Edinburgh was named Entrepreneurial City of the Year at last year’s event, a title that recognises access to capital and talent, a great network of mentoring and support and an overall entrepreneurial culture.

The number of businesses who entered the Awards has tripled this year, with well over a thousand entries received across five regions. Judges include Scottish entrepreneur and innovator Russell Dalgleish, and serial entrepreneur James Caan CBE.

Founder of the Royal Bank of Scotland Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Francesca James, said: “The winning entries this year have made a huge impact on entrepreneurship in their region and the wider UK economy, and we’ve had a really tough job narrowing them down from such an incredible shortlist.

“Not only have we had more entries than ever before, but the standard of entries has been outstanding, and we hope that winning an award will help give these entrepreneurs the recognition they thoroughly deserve.”

Francesca added: “We’d like to thank all of the entrepreneurs who entered this year and send huge congratulations to those who have taken home awards. We look forward to seeing what the next year brings for you.”

Gordon Merrylees, Head of Entrepreneurship for Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “We are incredibly proud to support these important awards. It has been so inspiring to see the number and calibre of entries this year, which proves that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

I want to extend my huge congratulations to all the winners of this year’s categories and hope that their businesses continue to grow in the future.”

GBEA Edinburgh Winners

Full list of winners:

#GoDo Entrepreneur of the Year

Laura Birrell

Sticky Heelz

Laura Birrell is the founder of Sticky Heelz, a product she designed to address the issue of loose fitting shoes with the ambition of building a global brand.

Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the Year

Marie Owen

LS Productions

LS Productions, which Marie founded in 2006, has since grown into the go-to agency for national and international creatives who wish to base photo shoots and TV commercials in Scotland and the wider UK.

Family Business Entrepreneur of the Year

Kristian Tapaninaho & Darina Garland


Kristian and Darina invented Uuni after getting really into making pizza, but found that it just wasn’t good enough in a domestic oven. They are well on their way to achieving their goal of being one of the top five outdoor cooking brands in the world.

Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year

Dr Graeme Malcolm

M Squared

Graeme leads M Squared to specialise in novel laser solutions for use in academic and commercial applications. He develops a range of world-class laser and photonics systems, which are critical enablers in fundamental physics research, underpinning many world firsts.

Entrepreneur for Good

James Turing

The Turing Trust

James is the founder of the Turing Trust, which promotes education through the use of IT. The trust brings essential learning resources to rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa whilst supporting a Circular Economy in Scotland.

Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year

Leah Hutcheon


Appointedd is an Edinburgh-based tech company revolutionising the way bookings are made online. The technology provides advanced cloud-based online booking and scheduling software that allows businesses to take bookings and manage their time anywhere, anytime.

Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year

Kristen Hunter

Whisky Frames

Kirsten is originally from Minnesota USA, and moved to Scotland in 2005 to pursue her master’s degree. She started Whisky Frames with her husband Ross, and the pair have their workshops just outside of Edinburgh where they create rustic photo frames made from Scottish whisky barrels.

Scale Up Entrepreneur of the Year

Gareth Loye

M&M Contractors

Belfast-based M&M Contractors is a family business that provides turnkey telecoms and utilities infrastructures. Gareth’s relentless drive for capitalising on growth opportunities has seen him transform the company, with turnover rocketing 1,766% since his appointment to CEO in 2011.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Kieran Aitken

Orbit Enterprise Education

Kieran Aitken is the 19 year old founder of Orbit, a social enterprise working with students around the UK.

Great British Entrepreneur of the Year: Scotland

Dr Graeme Malcolm

M Squared

To see the full shortlist for these events, click here.