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The Entrepreneurial Exchange

Dynamic Simon Lifts Entrepreneur Award

Butcher Simon Howie was named Entrepreneur of the Year last night in front of hundreds of members of Scotland's business community.

At a ceremony in Glasgow he followed in the footsteps of Sir Tom Hunter, John Boyle and Bob Keiller by winning the Entrepreneurial Exchange award.

He beat off strong competition from Chris Giles of Giles Insurance and James Barnes from Dobbies Garden Centres for the prize.

There was also celebration for James Miller of Abermed who took the emerging entrepreneur category ahead of Dr Rabinder Buttar of Clintec and Fake Bake's Sandra McClumpha.

Howie was praised for his serial entrepreneurship which has seen his business interests expand far beyond his successful butcher's empire which supplies to many major supermarkets.

Panelling and washroom system company Shore Laminate Fabricators has gone from strength to strength with recent contracts for The Museum of Modern Art in New York, new Olympic Stadium in London and Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

Shore Recycling was sold for £23million earlier this year but Howie also has commercial property, storage and energy divisions in the self-titled group he runs.

Judges said he "had the classic entrepreneurial trait of spotting opportunities where others don't, building great teams and as a result, great companies".

They also recognised his willingness to invest hard cash to grow his businesses and his ability to realise value at the right time.

The transformation of Abermed led by James Miller impressed the judges.

They said: "Miller's vision is to have a business which will still be here in 50 years. He has professionalised what was a vocational business and has a passion for sustainability."

When Miller took over as managing director of Abermed in 2001 it employed 15 people.

It has grown significantly since and has made several acquisitions following a management buyout in 2005.

Now it employs more than 300 people and has medics in several countries around the world. Judges included John Anderson, chief executive of the Entrepreneurial Exchange, Jim Boyle, head of the entrepreneurial business team at Deloitte, Martin Lightbody, chief executive of Finsbury Foods Group, who won last year's title, and Ann Rushforth, chief executive of Scotnursing.

Anderson said: "It is especially encouraging in the current climate to see such a strong field of business people who are not afraid to spot the opportunities out there and act on their instincts.

"As an organisation, we are continuing to nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship for the good of Scotland so that when things pick up, we are in an ideal position to take advantage of any opportunities that come our way."

Boyle added: "Our hearty congratulations go to Simon, a much deserved winner. He has demonstrated a fantastic track record of establishing successful and sustainable businesses in different sectors and I am sure that much more is still to come from him. On any measure a true serial entrepreneur."

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