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The Entrepreneurial Exchange

Lightbody Has The Right Mix

Cakemaker's move into niche market pays off with top award

Cakemaker Martin Lightbody scooped the top honour at the Entrepreneurial Exchange annual awards in Glasgow last night.

The managing director of Hamilton-based Lightbody Celebration Cakes beat Steven Leach, of Bigmouthmedia, and John Kennedy, from Kenmore Property Group, to the title.

Last February, Lightbody sold his family's company for £37.5million to Cardiff-based Finsbury Food Group, while retaining a 30 per cent stake in the business.

The combined Lightbody and Finsbury business has 2,500 staff and turnover of approximately £140m, producing around half abillion cakes per year.

As the fourth generation of the Lightbody family to control the direction of the business, he successfully managed the company through a vast transition, selling 20 bakery shops and moving the company into the niche market of celebration cakes.

In the 12 years since making the move, Lightbody sales grew to £50m per annum.

Chris Gorman OBE, chairman of the Entrepreneurial Exchange, said: "We had an amazing number of high quality entries for the awards this year, which made the judging process harder than ever.

"However, even with several excellent candidates to choose from, Martin really stood out because of the way he transformed his family business.

"He demonstrated entrepreneurial flair in taking big risks with a well-established company, seeking opportunities to grow the family business even further."

In the emerging entrepreneur category, Ana Stewart, of Fife-based i-design, walked away with the prize, having impressed the judges with her passion and commitment to growing her business.

In July, Stewart secured an AIM listing, raising £3.5m and valuing the company at almost £10m. The company's world-leading software is used by a billion of the UK's automatic teller machine transactions and offers huge growth potential.

The runners-up in the emerging category were Jim Hall, of Wide Blue, and Peter Morrison, from RMJM.

Gorman said: "In the emerging category, Ana Stewart has excelled as an entrepreneur because she capitalised on the opportunities available in a relatively unknown field, quickly becoming a market leader."

The Entrepreneurial Exchange has leading figures from the Scottish business world such as Sir Tom Hunter and Sir Tom Farmer among its 400 members.

It was founded in 1994 with the slogan 'for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs'.

 Nov 30 2007 By Erikka Askeland

 

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