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Espark Awards 2015

Graham Grieve
Posted by Graham Grieve
Published: 11/01/2015, 7:00pm

On Saturday I was lucky enough to attend the Espark Entrepanurial award ceremony. Hosted in the luxurious Thistle Hotel in Glasgow City Centre the night was packed with speakers, pitching contests and a delicious three course meal to celebrate the continuing success of the world’s largest free business accelerator.

Tony Green from the Royal Bank of Scotland had kindly offered Justin McGirr from Bridge 2 Business two tickets and I jumped at one when Justin offered.

The Thistle Hotel is amazing. I have been once before but the conference was secluded to a tiny room in the depths of the building. Espark had gone for the Grand Ballroom and it was magnificent. Upon arrival I could sense the buzz around the place and could by this atmosphere that I was in a room with many of Scotland’s top innovators, past and present.

Once seated the night began with talks from Scotland’s fist minister Nicola Sturgeon, Espark founder Jim Duffy and Sir William Haughey.William Haughey described Espark members as a cult of entrepreneurs, the ‘Cult of Espark’ and I understand what he means. The businesses and more importantly,those involved all seem very close with one another – a true let’s do it community I admire.

After the various speeches some Esparkers got on stage and battled it out by pitching to win some money. Innovation was flying about the room, so many ideas present at one place, amazing. Pitchers at Espark know their stuff, I recently hit a brick wall when faced with 100 or so tame student class representatives so have a lot of work to do to get to the level these pitchers were at.

Dinner was fantastic. A first course of smoked salmon was followed by a succulent chicken breast and beets with vanilla cheesecake to follow. Yum!

Awards took place after dinner. It was good to see the people who had pitched hard getting some cash. My idea by far was a hangover cure invented by an Esparker, let’s hope it works.

Meeting people was the highlight of my night. My company (GMS) works mainly business to business so I made some valuable contacts in a room full of other young business owners. Everyone was very friendly and encouraging of my idea and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting people who have done what I am doing and have succeeded.

Driving home after a wonderful and inspiring evening I found my enthusiasm for what I am doing re-kindle after a few tough weeks. Who knows, Espark may be seeing me again. #GoDo