A chef, hairdresser, golfer and digital specialist have all made the finals in the Emerging Entrepreneur category for the 2012 Grampian Awards for BusinessEnterprise.
The award recognises individuals under the age of 35 who have taken the risks necessary to startup their own business.
The Grampian Awards for Business Enterprise are organised by Enterprise North East Trust (Enterprise) and sponsored by The Royal Bank of Scotland, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council. The gala dinner takes place on June 21 at the MecureArdoe Hotel.
Here, we take a look at their business stories:
Chris Tonner, 31, Beetroot Restaurants
The beginning of Chris Tonner’s business venture was in 2008, with the creation of Beetroot. Under this brand, Chris purchased La Stella, a well-established eatery in the heart of Aberdeen just one year after the launch of his company. Once refurbished, the restaurant opened in 2010 to great reviews from food critics and was awarded an AA rosette later that year. Keen to expand his portfolio, Chris acquired the lease for the Courtyard restaurant in the city’s west end and set about making the restaurant aesthetically pleasing as well as providing excellent service and innovative flavours. The growth of Beetroot has been complimented by the addition of Beetroot at the Athenaeum, a well established venue in Aberdeen and this allows Chris to further widen his target audience in the city.
Tracey Barratt, 30, TG Bespoke Hair Design
TG Bespoke Hair Design owner Tracey Barratt faced a challenging time in the quest to set up her own salon in 2010. Plans to open the salon in 2010 were left hanging in the balance as when the recession hit, the banks refused to lend her the £10,000 needed to start the business. However, her own knight in shining armor – her then fiance Chris, supported Tracey and gave her the money needed to start the business. Chris and Tracey married later that year. Opening a bold salon, Tracey prides herself in her funky pink and black colour scheme and innovative staff, in a rural north-east town this is never easy and changing perceptions is something that Tracey believes she has achieved. Impressing judges with her creativity, guts and determination to become a finalist in this sought after category of the Grampian Awards for Businsess Enterprise, TG Bespoke Hair Design is making its mark in the local hairdressing scene.
Graeme Masterton, 27, Gamola Golf
Whist studying for a degree in Electrical Engineering in the mid 2000s, Graeme looked for a means to make some extra money to ease the pressure of being a student. Using his passion for golf, Graeme began buying and selling golf tees and golf accessories online. The business quickly outgrew his modest bedroom office and, on completion of his degree Graeme decided to concentrate on his business, Gamola Golf. Seven years later (2011), Graeme purchased a £1.5million property in the city centre to establish a new state-of-the-art golf complex which as well as selling global brands, includes a restaurant, bar and golf simulators.
James Deer, 23, Deer Digital
At just 23 years old, James Deer and business partner Alice Ratcliffe are the co-founders the north east’s largest digital agency. Starting out with a team of three two years ago, Deer Digital now employs 12, with plans to increase further in the coming months. James’ determination to succeed and well adopted company values that stimulate and support his workforce, has earned him a nomination in the Emerging Entrepreneur and Employer of the Year categories at this year’s Grampian Awards for Business Enterprise. James’ route to entrepreneurship started at 15 when he sold his very first website. After making a tough decision to leave university, he then built a reputation as a freelance web designer, specialising in user experience and user interface design, and took advantage of opportunities to work with early stage US start ups.