THE CHAIRMAN of successful local jam and preserves company Mackays Ltd., Paul Grant, delivered an inspiring talk to budding entrepreneurs at the Angus Centre for Enterprise Business Breakfast event last Wednesday.
Mr Grant bought over the failing company in 1995 and has turned it into an international brand.
He said: “We realised early on that we need to differentiate ourselves from the competition and over the years we have built up a strong reputation for our artisan manufacturing and product quality: only the best Tayside berries are used in our products.
“Sixteen years later the company has relocated from Carnoustie to Arbroath. We produce 50 million jars a year, have an annual turnover of £13 million and employ 130 staff, making us one of the biggest employers in the area.”
The business breakfast was just one of an extensive programme of business events taking place at Angus College’s new Angus Centre for Enterprise which launched last month. The centre operates with a number of partners which together creates a one-stop-shop for individuals looking to gain training, advice and support in business and enterprise.
As the first corporate sponsor, Mackays has strong links with the Angus Centre for Enterprise, as well as Mr Grant chairing the advisory committee which ensures that the centre is providing the best service for the local community.
Mr Grant added: “One in five men and women aged between 18 and 24 are out of work but I firmly believe that many of these young people could be a successful entrepreneurs if equipped with the right skills.
“Setting up a business in this current climate is a gamble. However, with the right advice and support there is no reason why it can’t be a success. More needs to be done to ensure people are accessing the right information and they are getting the chance to discuss and get advice on their business idea, before jumping in with two feet.
“This centre could prove to be a model of best practice.”