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30 April 2004
Press and Journal

 One of the north-east's most prominent millionaire businessmen has been appointed to the board of the Entrepreneurial Exchange.

Jimmy Milne, chairman and managing director of the Balmoral Group, was believed to be the first entrepreneur from Aberdeen to be given the prestigious role.

He was yesterday appointed to the post at the exchange's ninth annual spring conference, staged at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire.

The 63-year-old founder of the engineering firm - which is involved in mooring services and civil and environmental engineering and is based at Loirston, Aberdeen - said last night: "I think the Entre-preneurial Exchange does a fantastic job, but it's sometimes seen as a central belt organisation and we're left out of it, so they want me to be ambassador up in the north-east."

"The conference today was fantastic; it must excite guys who're interested in setting up a business and those who have had some problems along the way and I've certainly had them," he joked.

"It fires you up. There was a great atmosphere, with lots of experienced and successful people."

Of his new post, Mr Milne, who has been an exchange member for almost five years, said: "I hope to play a role in encouraging more Aberdeen companies to join."

Balmoral, which has been providing services to the building, energy, engineering, marine, plastics and processing sectors since 1980, employs around 450 people.

"I'm delighted to have Jimmy on board," said incoming exchange chairman Jim McColl. "I'd like to see more Aberdeen and north-east companies in the exchange.

"There are a lot of great businesses up in Aberdeen which can benefit from networking with our members.

"I hope to support and encourage businesses looking to take the step from being local companies to becoming international ones and Jimmy is a great ambassador for that."

Almost 300 delegates attended yesterday's conference, where they were urged to emulate the strength of a gladiator in winning the fight for success.

"It was a fantastic day," said Mr McColl, chairman and chief executive of Clyde Blowers. "I think we'll have to pull everybody down off the ceiling. The day took the theme of people fighting to grow their business; they have to stick with it, have the belief and vision and a plan to follow that vision."

Speakers at the event included Lara Morgan, founder of Pacific Direct, Professor Sir Christopher Evans, founder and chairman of Merlin Biosciences, Pearse Flynn, chairman of the Callpoint Partnership, and Simon Woodroffe, founder of the YO! Sushi restaurants.


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