When we launched the Entrepreneurial Exchange Awards in 1995 we decided that the trophies which would mark our greatest achievers had to be of outstanding design and quality. The design task was given to three-dimensional artist, Douglas Watson, a graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone. A part time lecturer at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin, Douglas has rapidly become one of the most sought after contemporary designers.
After a lengthy discussion about what makes an entrepreneur, Douglas produced a number of ideas before settling on the design we know and love so well. He turned to an ancient source, the Runes of deep Celtic tradition, and picked those representing the strengths of entrepreneurship.
He then included the 3 R's for basic education; A to B as being the shortest route; i for self and also ideas, innovation, industry, and EeX for the Entrepreneurial Exchange. The star burst of inspiration was the last and most important addition.
Having settled on the design, we then had to decode on what material was most appropriate. It would have been easier to cast the heads in a soft, low melting point metal such as pewter but in keeping with the Exchange's desire to achieve only the best, it was decided to go to a foundry and cast the head in bronze. That task was tackled with relish by Brian and Kerry Caster (yes, that's right) of Powderhall Bronze where the heads were poured from molten bronze at a temperature of 1200c.
The heads were then finished and polished. With such a heavy trophy, the next stage was to find a base of equal strength and the finest Scottish slate was chosen into which the head was embedded.
That's the story of the trophies but, of course, the Entrepreneurial Exchange head has gone on to become an icon, not only for the Exchange but for entrepreneurs everywhere.