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The Entrepreneurial Exchange


Sir Tom Hunter founded West Coast Capital (West Coast), the private equity partnership, in March 2001 and the venture philanthropy, The Hunter Foundation in 1998. Prior to which he sold sports retailer, Sports Division, the business he developed from start-up for £290m. Sir Tom has been a long time supporter of Enterprise and Entrepreneuralism and has been a main board director of PSYBT amongst several other directorships.

In 2005 he was Knighted for services to entrepreneurship and philanthropy.   In the same year he founded the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative with former President Bill Clinton to develop and deliver a sustainable model for poverty alleviation in Africa.

The evening will be Chaired by Jim McColl, OBE, Chairman & Chief Executive, Clyde Blowers.  Jim started his career as an engineering apprentice with Weir Pumps in Glasgow.   After six years in engineering and six years of part-time study he left work to take up full-time study for a BSc degree in Technology and Business Studies on a four year course at Strathclyde University.   After achieving a BSc degree with Honours in 1978 he returned to Weir Pumps where he remained for three years while studying part-time for a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

In 1981 he moved to a senior management position with Diamond Power Speciality Limited, an engineering company supplying equipment to the power industry worldwide.  During this time he studied part-time for a Masters Degree in International Accounting and Finance.

In 1985 Jim was headhunted by Coopers & Lybrand as a senior consultant involved mainly in "corporate care" assignments.   This meant working in various companies who were in financial difficulties and in need of turnaround.  

In 1986 he left Coopers to become a self-employed "company doctor" and, after two successful turnarounds, he bought 29.9% of a small Scottish engineering company, Clyde Blowers PLC, which had a full listing on the London Stock Exchange.   Turnover at that time was around £4 million, with a loss making core business subsidised by investment income.   Clyde Blowers now has over 55% of the world market in its original product line, and has expanded into other growth engineering sectors.  

On Tuesday 8th May 2007, over 135 years after the Weir brothers founded their business, Jim McColl announced the acquisition of Weir Pumps (Glasgow) from The Weir Group plc.  As a result of this transaction, the diverse portfolio of technologies, process knowledge and expertise generated by Weir Pumps was incorporated into a newly created company, Clyde Pumps Ltd.

Over the past 10 years Clyde Blowers has developed into a truly Global portfolio of 37 Companies in 21 different countries around the world.

Qualifications & Education

Universities: Strathclyde and Glasgow

1974 - 1978     ?        BSc (Hons) Technology and Business Studies

1978 -1983      ?        MBA in Business Administration

1983 - 1985     ?        MAcc in International Finance and Accounting


1968 - 1969     ?        City and Guilds Mechanical Engineering Technicians'         

                                 Certificate in Mechanical Engineering

1969 - 1973     ?        ONC Engineering

1973 - 1974     ?        HNC Engineering

Honours & Awards

1998    ?        Alumnus of the Year Award' from Strathclyde University

1999    ?        Entrepreneurial Exchange ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award' for 1999

2001    ?        Ernst & Young "Master Entrepreneur of the Year Award"

2001    ?        Queen's Birthday Honors List with an OBE

2002    ?        Induction into The Entrepreneurial Exchange Hall of Fame

2003    ?        Honorary Doctor of Business Administration awarded by the Academic Board and the Court of Napier University

2005    ?        HRH The Duke of Edinburgh awarded Jim McColl with The Prince Philip Medal 2005 ‘Certificate of Achievement' for an outstanding contribution to the engineering industry

2006    ?        Winner of The SBAAT International Business Award for Sustained Excellence in International Business Endeavour

2006    ?        The Insider Elite Leader of the Year Award

2006    ?        Entrepreneurial Exchange Philanthropy Award

2007    ?        World Achiever's Award Lanarkshire

Public Service & Charitable

1998 - 2000                            National Museums of Scotland.  In 1998 Jim led a fundraising Initiative for the New Museum of Scottish Country Life

1998 - 2002                            Member of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council and Chairman of the Audit Committee

1999 - 2003                            Member of the Scottish Industrial Development Advisory Board advising the Scottish Executive on Regional Selective Assistance

2000 - 2003                Chairman of The Scottish Corporate Advisory Board of Save  the Children

2000 - 2007                Member of the Board of Scottish Enterprise Glasgow

2002 - 2004                            Member of the Committee set up under the Chairmanship of Sheriff Principal John McInnes to Review Summary Justice in Scotland  

2004 - 2007                            Chairman of the Entrepreneurial Exchange, the premier organisation for Entrepreneurs in Scotland.

1998 - Present             Member of the Singapore Britain Business Council

2002 - Present             Chairman of the Glasgow Welfare to Work Forum.

2003 - Present             Honorary President of Kilbryde Hospice.

Jim is on the University Of Strathclyde Graduate School Of Business Advisory Board, a member of the Napier University Business School Advisory Board, and a member of Caledonian University Business School Advisory Board.  Jim is also an Honorary Professor of Stirling University and a Visiting Professor at Strathclyde University.

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Venue information

No 29, Glasgow 29 Royal Exchange Square
G1 3AJ

0141 225 5615


Mr Jim McColl, Clydeblowers


  • Sir Tom Hunter, West Coast Capital

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