Beauty salon proprietor Terri Ferguson (McGeoghegan) was named as the Outer Hebrides top young entrepreneur at the regional finals of the 2011 Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ Awards.
The 22 year old founder of Hebrides Harmony on the Isle of Harris was announced as regional winner at a ceremony at An Lanntair Arts Centre last week. Terri was presented with a £1,000 cash prize provided by Lloyds TSB, sponsors of the winner’s award. She will now be considered by the judging panel to be entered into the national final taking place in November.
Hebrides Harmony, which began trading in February 2010, is the first beauty therapy business to be established on the Isle of Harris. Terri identified a gap in the market for beauty services in the Harris area whilst working at a salon in Stornoway.
In December 2009 she received funding from PSYBT, and together with her own savings and support from her family, she started her business trading from a newly refurbished hotel in Tarbert. Having subsequently relocated to The Harris Hotel, she expanded her customer base to include holiday makers wishing to take advantage of some additional relaxation and pampering. With the success of this initiative, she then began establishing partnerships with other high-end tourist accommodation in the islands and she now regularly visits clients at the five star Blue Reef Cottages in Harris and the Whitefalls Spa Lodges in Lewis.
In addition to her regular clients and bookings from visitors to the island, the young entrepreneur also writes a regular beauty and health column in a local newspaper, sells cosmetics and skin-care products and promotes her business through her Facebook page and website.
The runner-up is John Macleod (30) and Scott Inglis founders of S&S Construction in Stornoway.
S&S Construction began trading in 2008 as a joinery partnership offering reliable, quality construction services across the islands. The two friends have combined years of training and experience working for large firms on a wide range of projects. Initially, the business got off to a strong start, but it was not long before the effects of the economic downturn began to take effect. The duo worked even harder to secure additional jobs across the chain of islands, including renovations, extensions and new-builds.
S&S Construction have from the outset applied high standards of workmanship and customer care and this has reaped benefit as the majority of their work comes from word of mouth referrals. They are recognised by the Local Authority’s ‘Buy with Confidence’ scheme which recognises commitment to customer satisfaction and helps to promote their workmanship and reliability. The partners’ flexibility to look at a range of work and to travel to where the work is, has helped them stay afloat where other, longer established firms have floundered. A representative from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar presented them 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 twenty two years, has supported over 12,000 young people to start over 10,000 businesses, providing £36.4million in funding and additional assistance.
The regional awards also recognised the expertise, mentoring advice and inspiration of aftercare adviser, Mrs Fiona Chisholm, who was named Outer Hebrides 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.
Mrs Chisholm will go forward and have the chance of winning the coveted title of ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at the national award finals in November.
Pictured are Geoff Leask, Direstor of Operations PSYBT, Shoony Macleod of S & S Construction, Terri Ferguson of Hebrides Harmony, Alasdair Allan MSP and Councillor Archie Campbell, Vice Chairman Westerm Isles PSYBT.