PSYBT-backed duo take regional prize

PSYBT-backed duo take regional prize

John Glen, chief executive of the Buccleuch Group with Ronnie Hook and Richard Fowle of the Benchmark Motor Company. photograph: adam johnston

Mark Entwistle

TWO young Selkirk entrepreneurs have scooped the top prize in the regional finals of the 2010 Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year' Awards.

Co-founders of Benchmark Motor Company in Selkirk, Richard Fowle and Ronnie Hook, were announced as regional winners at a ceremony at Bowhill Little Theatre on Friday.

They were presented with a 1,000 cash prize by John Glen, chief executive of The Buccleuch Group, sponsors of the winner's award.

They will now be considered by the judging panel for entry into the national final taking place at Glasgow's City Chambers in November.

Six of the 18 regional winners are selected to compete for the coveted national title of PSYBT ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year' and the opportunity to win an additional 2,000.

Business partners Richard, 30, and Ronnie, 23, established Benchmark Motor Company in August 2008 offering MOTs, trailer fabrication and repairs, tyres, exhausts and vehicle health checks.

Despite having started up a new business in the midst of a recession, the company is performing well and has benefited from a growing clientele.

Benchmark Motor Company also looks after fleet vehicles for a number of firms in the area and has recently branched into buying, repairing, selling cars.

The runner-up was David Telford who started his business called Telford's Forestry Contracting in February 2008. Based in St Boswell's, Telford's Forestry Contracting covers a multitude of forestry work, including chainsaw work, pesticide spraying, vermin control, tree planting and forestry maintenance work.

The 22-year-old employs a squad of between five to seven men and his reputation for excellence and value for money has ensured a loyal and growing client base throughout the Borders.

David is always looking for new opportunities to expand the business and more recently he has introduced pole saws so he can enhance his services to clients. A representative from the Scottish Borders Council presented Mr Telford with a 500 cash prize and runners-up certificate.

Both the winner and the runner-up received funding, advice and support from PSYBT, which during the last 21 years, has supported almost 12,000 young people to start over 10,000 businesses, providing 31.5million in funding and additional assistance.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, PSYBT regional manager, Tara Bolland commented: "Our regional finalists have demonstrated ambition, courage and determination to set up and develop their own businesses. Youth enterprise is something to be recognised and applauded and we wish them all the best for the national final."

Mr Glen added: "We are delighted to support PSYBT and these awards which recognise the achievements of Scotland's young people and encourage an environment that celebrates business innovation. Entrepreneurship is essential to our future prosperity not just in the Borders region but throughout Scotland."

The regional awards also recognised the expertise, mentoring advice and inspiration of aftercare advisor, Ted Ferguson, who was named Borders' regional Volunteer of the Year.

A PSYBT regional manager assists with everything from compiling a business plan to securing premises. Once the business is up and running, an aftercare adviser is appointed, all of whom are experts in their fields.

They work as volunteers for the organisation, with the sole aim of helping young entrepreneurs sustain their business and offering them crucial advice during the first two years in business.

Mr Ferguson will go forward and have the chance of winning the coveted title of ‘Volunteer of the Year' at the national award finals in November.