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Entrepreneurial Excellence To Be Celebrated With Awards

SCOTLAND's entrepreneurial dynamism will be highlighted at a dinner at the Glasgow Hilton on 28 November, when the Entrepreneurial Exchange Awards are presented in front of around 500 guests.

Staged this year in association with professional services firm Deloitte and media partner The Herald, the awards are Scotland's longest-standing annual awards for growth-oriented entrepreneurs.

The Entrepreneurial Exchange is an organisation for ambitious entrepreneurs, with more than 400 members heading up companies with a collective turnover of more than £14 billion and employing 150,000 people.

The awards fall into two categories: Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, and Entrepreneur of the Year. Among the judges this year is Hermann Twickler, founder of Dundee-based PressureFab Group, who won the Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award last year.

Our preview of the short-listed candidates in each category begins with the three nominees for Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year.

Name: Steven Gray
Company: ROVOP
Location: Aberdeen
Started: 2011
Employees: 60
Following stints at law firm Dundas & Wilson, Bank of Scotland and the Lloyds Development Capital private equity business, Steven Gray spotted an opportunity to capitalise on the boom in investment by energy and oil and gas firms in areas such as the North Sea. He started a business to supply remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) on rental with two co-directors and just £100,000 start-up funding. After targeting offshore wind farm operators to establish the company's reputation, Mr Gray successfully expanded into supporting oil and gas firms.
The company secured £8 million funding within its first 14 months amid strong investor enthusiasm for the subsea sector.
The business has built a presence in five countries and operates a fleet of nine ROVs with a further six on order next year. Mr Gray plans to grow his fleet of ROVs to 24 within three years and achieve a projected turnover of £50m.
Last month the company won a £45m deal to supply Remote Operated Vessel services on projects such as laying subsea pipelines in the North Sea for London-based Ceona.
"This was already a highly competitive market dominated by several large, established players. Steven has shown considerable ingenuity, skill and foresight in identifying and servicing the new demands of offshore wind farms to develop a niche service as well as targeting the traditional oil and gas sector," said John Anderson, chief executive of the Entrepreneurial Exchange.
Mike McGregor, a Deloitte partner who led the interview team, commented: "Steven has achieved a stellar start at ROVOP - not only from a financial perspective, but also in laying the foundations for a business of outstanding potential capable of scaling up to achieve the ambitious growth figures he has set himself.
"ROVOP has experienced exceptional growth in both offshore wind and oil and gas environments and their expansion into international markets will only accelerate their future development."

Name: Nigel Chadwick
Company: Stream Communications
Location: Glasgow (technical): London (sales)
Started: 2000
Employees: 14
A chartered accountant by training, Nigel Chadwick set up Stream Communications in 2000 with fellow director Kevin McDowall.
The company was born after the two men had a chance conversation about the prospects for transferring data over future mobile networks, which prompted them to develop software that would allow machines to send information to machines.
The company operates in a fast growing machine to machine (M2M) sector, which allows devices such as electric car charging points, vending machines, smart meters, digital signage, CCTV and other devices to transmit and receive data over a resilient and secure wireless network. Analysts reckon there will be 50 billion devices connected by M2M systems by 2020.
The company has built a customer base that includes blue chip names such as the Clear Channel advertising business. Stream works with mobile networks around the world and is extending its core wireless services into areas such as the USA, the Middle East and India. The company agreed a partnership with Inmarsat this year under which it will harness satellite coverage to allow machines to send data from one side of the world to another.
Mr Anderson said: "Stream Communications is a 21st century business tapping into global demand and has the potential to be a world leader in an expanding market.
"Nigel is already ahead of his competitors and has ambition coupled with outstanding clients and partners to ensure his business will grow exponentially in the coming decade."
Mr McGregor commented: "Nigel has great flair, charisma and entrepreneurial spirit. He is confident that the business has enormous potential both in the UK and globally.
"With communications likely to be the top performing sector of this decade, Stream is well placed to dominate the market. Stream's growth has been impressive and it is clear that Nigel feels it has extraordinary potential."

Name: Tommy Cook
Company: Calnex Solutions
Location: Linlithgow
Started: 2006
Employees: 60
Tommy Cook drew on the 30 years experience he gained working in the telecoms industry with firms such as Agilent to develop a business focused on test and measurement solutions for mobile networks. His company's products monitor the performance and reliability of key features of networks for a global customer base that includes big names such as Samsung and Vodafone.
Calnex is experiencing strong sales growth, especially in North America, China and India. The business recently positioned itself for future growth by securing £2m funding from the Scottish Loan Fund, run by Maven Capital Partners. This will help the company develop next generation testing products to tap into a £860m global market.
"Having started in business in his mid-40s, Tommy may be a late starter to entrepreneurship but has cleverly utilised his considerable experience with multinationals to create a unique product targeting the growing need for network monitoring.
"With sales offices in the US, China, Canada and elsewhere but operated by a Linlithgow-based R&D office, Tommy believes there is no ceiling to this market," said Mr Anderson.
"Tommy is a true believer in getting out there and putting on his "sales hat" to engage with customers and demonstrate he is one of the team.
"The emphasis on quality, market positioning and commercial success is fantastic to observe and being able to make inroads with large blue-chip companies worldwide is testament to the business Tommy has built since 2006, said Mr McGregor.
"Tommy's attitude is refreshing and he maintains a sense of realism as the business continues to grow over the coming years."

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