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The Entrepreneurial Exchange

It's Sweet Success For Lightbody

Martin Lightbody, managing director of Lightbody Celebration Cakes, won top billing in the Entrepreneurial Exchange awards last night.

Lightbody was judged entrepreneur of the year in recognition of his achievement in turning the Hamilton-headquartered bakery business into one of the UK's leading producers of specialist cakes.

Lightbody, who beat competition from runners-up Steven Leach of Bigmouthmedia and John Kennedy of Kenmore Property Group, has reaped the rewards for his bold decision to refocus Lightbody in response to growing threats from supermarket.

After taking charge of the family-owned business in 1993, Lightbody sold-off its 26 high street bakers shops. He invested the proceeds in developing a celebration cake-making business which proceeded to win much of its custom from supermarket chains.

In January, Lightbody reversed the business into Finsbury Foods in a £37.5m deal which left him with a 30% stake in the listed food group.

Ana Stewart, chief executive of Fife-based I-design, won the emerging entrepreneur category after impressing judges with her passion and commitment to growing the business.

Stewart, who founded I-design as a multimedia consultancy in 1991, was commended for playing a pioneering role in the emergence of a new marketing medium after spotting the potential to use cash machines as sales tools.

I-design has developed systems which are used on more than 2100 of the UK's automatic teller machines (ATMs), with a client base which includes HSBC bank and Nationwide Building Society.

Household names including Orange and Nivea have used the technology to run marketing campaigns on ATMs.

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

Chris Gorman, 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 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."

Sir Angus Grossart, co-founder of Noble Grossart, and housebuilder Stewart Milne were inducted into the Exchange's hall of fame.

The awards were sponsored by The Herald and Deloitte.

 

By MARK WILLIAMSON

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