The Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2017


About the Awards

Founded in 2012 and half a decade later, the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards are continuing to recognise the hard work and inspirational journeys of British entrepreneurs and business in Great Britain. The Awards have celebrated some exceptional entrepreneurs who have proceeded on to become household names: David Buttress, Just Eat; Julie Dean, The Cambridge Satchel Company; James Watt, BrewDog; Alexander Solomou, The LADbible.


      Where do we come in?

 Our Head Honcho, Queen Bee, Top Dog (you get the point!), Helen Livingston, is thrilled to be a judge on 2 of the categories – Creative Industries and High Street.

Helen founded our kick-a*s, full service, creative agency Branding Boutique in 2002. Prior to this, oor’ Helen was Comms Director for Scotland for TMP Worldwide, working for the likes of Agilent Technologies, Diageo and Organon.

Helen’s (and the whole BB team’s) maxim, ‘Love your Brand, Live your Brand, Be your Brand’, ensures every touch point, from brand naming, design and advertising to customer experience, embodies the brand itself.


Where do YOU come in?

Don’t be shy! If you are reading this and think that your entrepreneurial determination and journey is worth telling, enter yourself in one (or more) of the eleven categories: #GoDo; Creative Industries; Good Award; Champion of the YearFamily Business; High Street; Innovation; Scale-Up; Small Business; Start-Up; Young Entrepreneur.

Or if you are reading this and you know someone who has what it takes and deserves to win a NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, nominate them yourself here!

Well hello again...

We know we've been rather quiet for a while and we do apologise...

However, please take that (and party!) as a good sign - we've been busy bb-ees!

Between babies, weddings, graduations, holidays, business trips and concerts (a big one for our resident Take That Fans) - the BB Team have been going full-pelt the last few months. 

There's 'oor Kate and her John; 'oor Charlie (or Chat as her brother Carson calls her... he's only 1 and a half); and 'oor TT boys!

For those of you who know us, how we work and how much we care about doing the best we possibly can for our clients - you'll know that we always go the extra mile. And it was no different with a recent client project: the Official Opening of Manor Grange Care Home. 

Manor Grange Care Home Edinburgh

A purpose built care home in Edinburgh, Manor Grange provides exemplary standards of Nursing and Residential Care - and it has a host of luxurious features available to residents. BB were delighted to be responsible for the naming, branding, marketing and advertising of the home - and the Official Opening was the next step in a fantastic journey. 

A celebration for friends and family of Manor Grange, it was our absolute delight to organise and make sure the event ran as smooth as possible on the day - which we can tell you it 100% did - smoother than butter. To make certain, some of our team members even brushed up on their waiting skills for the day - we're no strangers to "all hands on deck!"

The food, prepared by the Care Home's own kitchen team, was spectacular and there was plenty of it! The music from duo Ginny & The Tonic was wonderful, and magician Billy Reid wowed everyone he met.  Each and every person who attended the Open Day left with a smile on their face - and an interest in the rooms at the home!

We have lots more to tell you all, so keep an eye out for our next post!

Until then, BBx






It Must BB Love

Ah, Valentine's Day. What's not to love about heart-shaped sweeties, red red roses and smushy romantic declarations in the form of overpriced greetings cards?!

Seriously though... at BBHQ, we do love a bit of romance. We're all about the love, too. And Valentine's Day provides us all with the perfect chance to break out the big guns and tell those who we really care about how much they mean to us. 

At BB in particular, as we approach our 15th Birthday, we've found it's given us a great opportunity to reflect and reminisce. We're been fortunate enough to have clients who we've worked with since day one, some for over a decade, and many for several years. It's these relationships which have helped make BB who we are today, and which help make every day fun, fruitful and full of new projects and ideas.

We love nothing more than the passion behind a branding project, the raised pulse of a last minute deadline, or the butterflies in our stomachs when we see a client enjoy success through a campaign we've produced for them. And we would love today - on the most appropriate of days - to say thank you to our clients and colleagues for being so utterly superb.

Reminiscence also brought us to one particular Valentine's favourite enjoyed by all of the team: the beloved mixed tape. You can keep your chocolates and bouquet* - nothing says "I love you" more than hours spent painstakingly selecting 90 minutes worth of meaningful music.

While technology has made it easier to compile the playlist, choosing favourites is still a challenge!

We've carefully curated 15 of our favourite Love Songs for your listening pleasure, each of which argued over for inclusion** by all at Team BB.

Enjoy! And have a very Happy Valentine's Day, too.

*Well, unless you really insist. In which case, red is our favourite colour...
** Apart from Queen. Everybody loves Queen.

London Calling...

I was introduced to the Scottish Business Network quite by chance – reading a blog by a previous speaker, Joe Henry from Planys. I was intrigued to find out more – about both Planys, and the network!

Contacting Christine Esson from SBN was a fantastic first move. In one fell swoop, we received both a warm introduction to Joe – and an invitation along to the Scottish Business Network event in London in November. 

The warm introduction was just a taste of what the network has to offer. Attending my first event, I experienced one of the friendliest atmospheres I’ve encountered in the networking arena. Perhaps no mean feat in the big smoke, going by my previous experiences – but considering I hail from Glasgow, it’s certainly high praise! 

The whole concept of the Scottish Business Network is around helping your colleagues to find success, whether it’s through introductions, guidance or advice. The Scottish element itself certainly provides an instant rapport… there must be some kind of joke about it taking an event in London for companies from the East and West coast to get together! There was certainly a lot of energy in the room, and a real feeling of community, too. 

I was delighted, and a little nervous, to be asked to speak by Christine at the January event. It’s one thing to mill around and converse with a friendly bunch, but standing in front of any crowd with an “ask” or two can be a daunting prospect for even the most brass necked of us. The “asks” themselves were a fantastic idea: a way of letting people know how they could help . Though it was simultaneously difficult to choose the best and worry of asking too much. Though of course, I needn’t have given it a second thought.

While I found the experience positive as a guest, as a speaker I was bowled over by the positivity and generosity of those in the room. Talking about Branding Boutique was easy – our story as a strategy led design and brand agency always raises a few (intrigued) eyebrows – and the Shy Weans Approach* proved to be a great success, with multiple offers of assistance against my own asks: introductions within Food & Drink, the opportunity to connect with Investor Groups (working with them on their brand portfolios) and the connections with those who would be happy to work in partnership with us within a variety of sectors. 

At the end of the night, myself and the evening’s fellow speakers went home with both a very fair share of great contacts and offers of assistance – which followed on with some fantastic Linking In and continued connections. It’s not all in the getting, however. Being able to have meaningful conversations with others encourages a very giving atmosphere, and where possible we will certainly be giving back and helping others with their “asks,” too. 

I’m delighted to be part of what I’m certain will be an incredibly successful network but what I also like to think of as a community of likeminded people – a community that works. It’s not just about gathering in one place, but what happens when you leave, wherever you are based. For one, I’m certainly looking forward to continuing the relationships that have formed already – and creating those to come!

 *What do Shy Weans get?

Exactly. And if you don’t get it – email us and we’ll let you know

Christmas 2016

It’s been a busy month at BB HQ! We have been working hard on some pretty exciting projects (some due to launch in January) and trying to squeeze in a little bit of festive frolics as we go.

Christmas Jumper Day

Team BB took part in #ChristmasJumperDay in aid of Save the Children. We do love a Christmas jumper! Kirsty’s even played a tune… though Ally’s home crafted Jingly Bells were a favourite! A special bonus was raising money for such a great cause, and helping to make a difference to the lives of children around the world. By texting TEAMBBXMAS2 to 70050 - you can donate £2 to Save the Children, too!

Xmas lunch

Being truly up-to-our-eyes in both client work AND team holidays, a team night out in December was nigh on impossible to arrange, so we’ve postponed our annual knees up ‘til January. However, we did enjoy a takeaway feast team lunch in the board room, where we had a visit from our (not so) Secret Santa with gifts galore! The stand out gift had to be Derek’s clip-on Man Bun. Watch this space for his hipster transformation…

Even Oscar, our very own Pride of Paisley Lion, got into the party spirit and allowed us to dress him up all fancy for the festive season. He’s fast become a core member of the team. And lovely for a cuddle.

Finally, we’d like to share with you our 2016 Christmas card (hand drawn in-house of course). From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The BB Family x

Short but sweet (stories)

The avid readers among our team were super excited to read about new vending machines appearing across France that dispense short stories… 

While a traditional confectionery choice is always welcome, the idea of devouring a story or two while waiting for a train is incredibly appealing!

Speaking of short stories, we found our minds casting fondly back to Social Media Week in 2011, when we teamed up with Cargo Publishing and Creative Scotland to ask the Tweeting Public to send us their Social Media Week Very Short Stories. These could be about anything – people, places, a joke, a tragedy – but told in only 140 characters!

Stories were submitted on Twitter, with the best tweets chosen by Simon Sylvester, author of Twitter Poetry “140 Characters” and collated in a delightfully designed book (if we do say so ourselves). Have a look for yourself here!

And there you have it. Proof that good things do come in small packages. And can come out of vending machines, too.


Britannia Panopticon image
Wurlitzers Organ image
Polliokshaw's Burgh Hall
Bus Depot image

Fellow Weegies may be aware that last week (12th – 18thSeptember) saw the return of the annual Glasgow Doors Open Days – a chance for nosy locals, interested tourists and history buffs a plenty to get behind the scenes in some of the city’s most iconic buildings, as well as exploring some hidden gems.

First stop for Helen was the Britannia Panopticon, the world’s oldest surviving music hall – built in the 1850s and tucked down a lane just off of Argyle Street. Various merchandise featuring their iconic “booby lady” illustration was purchased. 

Jen stopped by Pollokshaw’s Burgh Hall, and discovered the delightful sounds of Scotland’s only Wurlitzer Organ… it’s been saved from several floods and restored to its true former glory. Wurlitzers were used in Cinemas to create the soundtrack to silent movies, when the ‘Talkies’ came in Wurlitzers were phased out but the Scottish Cinema Organ Trust have saved this beauty and host regular shows open to everyone!  

Kate was slightly less fortunate, with all tours fully booked on her visit to the Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust in Bridgeton… however, she’s determined to get behind the wheel of a vintage fire engine, and will be returning for their open weekend on the 8th and 9th of October. 

Of course, at BB our door is always open. We like to think we’re a bit of a hidden gem ourselves!


Ladies Lunch 1
Ladies lunch2

There’s something a little amusing about walking through the West End of Glasgow in full cocktail attire at 11.30am on a Sunday, it seemed to raise a few smiles… and a couple of winks. The ladies of BB were off to the Epilepsy Scotland ‘Bring Your Sparkle’ Ladies Lunch at the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel this Sunday. We brought a lot of sparkle to the event; sparkling clothes, sparkling conversation and plenty sparkling drinks, naturally! It was a great afternoon, we really enjoyed ourselves.

Edward Reid kept us entertained throughout the day with his unique humour and repertoire of songs. Did you know he was on the Xfactor? He doesn’t like to talk about it... much! We also had entertainment from Witsherface, an all-female comedy troupe and, after lunch, The Singer Swingers belted out timeless classics with a modern kick… they got us all up dancing, the conga was definitely a surprise, but a welcome one. What a laugh.

Our table was a lucky bunch, between us we won bottles of bubbly (to drink and for the bath), a Mulberry purse, a make-up masterclass and more wine as well as bidding on some incredible auction prizes too! In fact everyone who attended dug deep and raised a lot of money for the charity, so well done ladies, same time next year?

Did you know that 1 in 97 people have epilepsy? That’s 54,000 people in Scotland, wow. We highly recommend that you consider supporting Epilepsy Scotland, they do some fantastic work in supporting people throughout Scotland who are affected by the neurological condition. You can make a donation here.

The main thing we learned from the day, aside from the fact that Epilepsy Scotland do some incredible work and there would be a lot of people who would be lost without their services…. Is to always bring a spare pair of tights as it might just win you a Mulberry Purse.