A north-east oil service company set up just over two years ago was among the winners at last night’s 2009 National Business Awards for Scotland.
Flexlife received the Business Innovation of the Year Award in front of more than 400 business leaders and guests at the event in Glasgow.
Aberdeen firm Flexlife was founded in April 2007 by directors Stuart Mitchell, John Marsden and Carl-Petter Halvorsen.
They had identified a gap in the market for an innovative consultancy specialising in engineering and delivering flexible-pipe projects, in addition to developing patented technology offering new solutions to some common problems facing the subsea sector.
Flexlife – named best new business in the Subsea Business Awards 2009 in February – achieved annual turnover of £3million in 2008-09.
The company is now predicting growth of about 70% in 2009-10, primarily through work in the North Sea and Brazil.
It currently has a 10-strong team, with plans to take on an additional eight people over the next 12 months.
Flexlife is targeting annual turnover of £20million annually by its fifth year in business, along with 50 staff in Aberdeen and bases around the world.
The first of those international bases will open in Brazil and Australia by the end of this year.
Last night’s award to flexlife was sponsored by Glasgow University and presented by Stephen McLaughlin, of the university’s business school department of management.
Judging panel chairman Philip Forrest said: “In what is reported as the most difficult economic climate of the past 30 years, it would have been expected that this would impact on the quality of this year’s entry.
“Not so. The entry for the National Business Awards for Scotland was as robust as ever, showed many outstanding business performances and reflected an air of confidence for the period ahead.”
Robert Ainger, director of corporate marketing for headline sponsor Orange, said: “The quality of finalists this year made it a fiercely fought contest, with many of the judging decisions being very close calls.”
Jim Mather, Scotland’s enterprise, energy and tourism minister, presented Denice Purdie, founder of Purdie’s The Scottish Soap Company, based in Argyll, with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
She has, in just five years, expanded the operation from her own cottage to three shops, at Dunoon, Inveraray and Glasgow, and is planning to open a fourth outlet, at Oban.
Best Use of Technology in Business Award: Cordia, Glasgow.
Business of the Year Award: Petroleum Experts, Edinburgh.
Growth Strategy of the Year Award: Fake Bake, Glasgow.
Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Denice Purdie, Purdie’s The Scottish Soap Company, Argyll.
Business Innovation of the Year Award: Flexlife, Aberdeen.
Customer Focus Award: Inver House Distillers, Airdrie.
Small to Medium-Sized Business of the Year Award: Odin Consulting Engineers, Glasgow.
Employer of the Year Award: Bright Grey, Edinburgh.