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Brian Aitken

Brian spent 14 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he was corporate finance director. He has completed over 50 transactions including acquisitions, disposals, buy-outs, fund raising and IPO’s.

He was a founding partner of Nevis Capital in 2007, where he leads the investment and acquisition activities. Nevis has completed eight acquisitions and three investments over the past four years whilst the M&A landscape has changed dramatically.

Brian is an Accelerator Panel Member at the Princess Scottish Youth Business Trust where he supports emerging business in their early stages of growth. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant with a BA in Accountancy and Economics.

Richard Freedman  

Richard is managing director of ACS Clothing, Europe’s largest Formal Hire business.

ACS provides a fully managed formal hire service to around 1,500 retail stores. Chain stores managed include Slater Menswear, Austin Reed, Debenhams, Burtons and Greenwoods. They also manage the hirewear for Cameron Ross, Etiquette Formal Hire, Ultimate Formal Hire and Magee Formal Hire for their independent retailers (mainly menswear or bridal stores). 

ACS was started by Richard in 1997, having launched a hirewear service into his father’s menswear shop while he was at university.  After he graduated, they co-founded ACS to start a company that could supply hirewear to the retail sector. Initially only supplying Highlandwear, ACS expanded into the formal wear market in 2006. Rapid growth saw them become the market leader by 2009 and in 2011 they bought their main competitor, Etiquette Formal Hire, adding c.50% to their turnover. 

A major component in ACS’ success is their technology platform, developed in-house. They provide touchscreen electronic ordering systems for their retailers, which link directly into their warehouse management systems. This manages the picking and despatching (and returning and cleaning) of over 150,000 items per week to stores all around the country.

Richard is also managing director of Xedo Software, a software company specialising in formal hire and bridal software. Xedo now supply software to 2 of the 3 largest US tuxedo rental firms and are the UK’s leading bridal software supplier. Richard was the Ernst & Young Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2004.ACS Clothing won the Orange SME of the Year 2004

Alan Bonner 

Prior to joining the telecoms industry Alan Bonner was sales director for BUPA, responsible for growing the sales distribution from 34, to 523 sales people inside four years, contributing revenues of £35m per annum.

He left BUPA to set up a telecoms consultancy in 1996, during that time he also held the position of National Sales Manager for Atlantic Telecom plc, before founding Pinnacle Telecom Plc in 1998.

Alan aims to build a £50m business, which creates solutions that join together a company's three core networks (IT network, telephony network and mobile network).

Pinnacle is fully licensed Public Telephone Operator, has its own telephone network and interconnects with BT, Virgin Media and THUS. As well as this, it has its own hosted voice (VoIP) platforms and engineers.

It is also Scotland's oldest ISP (and a founder member of Nominet), operating from its data centre in Glasgow, which amongst others manages services for Loganair, Flybe, Salon Services and Holiday Inn Express. By utilising traditional telephony and existing IT and mobile applications, coupled with next generation and DataStream services, Pinnacle is creating bespoke solutions for organisations, which increase efficiency, reduce cost and provide disaster recovery contingencies for customers.

Pinnacle' has prospered through organic growth, targeted acquisitions and disposals. Today; Pinnacle Telecom Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange with its shares traded on the AIM and Plus markets, Pinnacle is one of Scotland's leading providers of converged telecom solutions, bringing together fixed and mobile telephony, VoIP, broadband, IP and telematics solutions, all bundled and serviced wrapped to the client on one bill.


  • Comms Business Channel Entrepreneur of The Year
  • Deliotte Technology Fast500 EMEA (69th)
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year (Finalist)
  • Deliotte Technology Fast50 (4th)
  • The Sunday Times Tech Track 100 (7th)
  • Deloitte Technology Fast50 (4th)
  • Comms Channel Awards Winner
  • The Sunday Times Tech Track 100 (22nd)

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Venue information

Hotel Du Vin At One Devonshire Gardens, Glasgow One Devonshire
G12 0UX

0141 576 2265

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Alan Bonner, Pinnacle Telecom Group, www.pinnacletelecomgroup.co.uk


  • Brian Aitken, Nevis Capital, www.neviscapital.co.uk
  • Richard Freedman, ACS Clothing, www.acsclothingglasgow.co.uk
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