Local Engineer is Highland’s Top Young Entrepreneur

Chris Blake, 26, founder of geological testing outfit, Blake Geoservices Ltd has been named Highland’s top young entrepreneur after winning the prestigious 2008 Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) Business Award and a cash boost of £1,000.

Chris, a former pupil of Dingwall Academy, was assisted by PSYBT in early 2007 when he decided to strike out on his own and set up his own company to offer geological testing services, testing soil and water as well as monitoring gas emissions from land fill sites using a variety of advanced techniques.  Chris put his PSYBT funding towards a drilling rig which he uses for contracts for local authorities, construction and environmental consultants.

The award ceremony took place earlier today (Wednesday 17 September) at the Town House in Inverness where event sponsors Tullloch Group Homes Limited presented Chris with a cheque for £1,000.  Blake Geoservices Ltd, based in Dingwall, will now be considered by the judging panel to go forward for the national final taking place in Glasgow’s Barony Hall on Monday 17 November.  Six of the 18 regional winners will be selected to compete for the coveted national title of this year’s The Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust Young Entrepreneur of the Year and the opportunity to win an additional £2,000.

The runner-up in the awards was Graeme Mackay, 25, an award winning accordionist from Inverness whose company is Meoran Cuil.  Graeme devised and produced a very successful Highland Showcase of music which was presented throughout the summer in Aviemore.  He was presented with a cheque for £500.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, the PSYBT Regional Manager, David Knight said:  “These young entrepreneurs represent some of the most talented, creative and dedicated business people in Scotland today and we are delighted to be able to recognise and reward their achievements through these awards. They should act as a true inspiration for us all in terms of demonstrating commitment, self belief and determination to not only take the first brave steps into working for themselves but to go on to create successful and sustainable businesses that contribute to Scotland’s economic future.”

David Sutherland of Tulloch Homes who sponsored the event said:  “These awards are a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of Scotland’s most talented young entrepreneurs.  We are delighted to be involved and to be able to celebrate the determination and innovation of our young people.  Their efforts and skills not only help them build solid futures for themselves but will boost rural economies and communities.”

Before presenting the top prize, Laura MacKintosh, from Tulloch Homes said: “As a company who is firmly rooted in the Highlands, we are delighted to sponsor the 2008 PSYBT Highland Awards and wish both finalists every success.”

In Highland the PSYBT is supported by The Highland Council and Highland Opportunities Ltd.  Councillor Helen Carmichael, Chairman of Highland Opportunities Ltd was invited to present the runner up prize.  Before doing so she congratulated both young men for their drive and confidence.  “Both Chris and Graeme have shown they are innovative, enterprising, and enthusiastic and have what it takes to make it in the competitive business world.  I congratulate them both and look forward to watching with interest their progress.”

PSYBT was launched in January 1989 and is a national organisation with offices in 18 regions across Scotland. To date 10,200 businesses have been given assistance and £31 million has been invested into new ventures in the form of loans and grants.


18 Sep 2008