ENTREPRENEURIAL Scotland chief executive Sandy Kennedy has praised the quality of the leaders of growth businesses in the country after naming the candidates short-listed for recognition in a prestigious awards scheme developed by the organisation.

The Entrepreneur of the Year awards will be announced at a dinner at the SWG3 events space in Glasgow on 30 November.

The Herald is media partner for the awards.

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“The ES Awards are a celebration of the breadth of entrepreneurial leadership on show in Scotland in 2017 from tech and life sciences to hospitality and airports, across the private and the public sectors, organisations large and small,” said Mr Kennedy.

Finalists impressed the judges with their talent,and determination and for doing the hard work needed to lead an entrepreneurial organisation.

This year’s awards will be made in three categories: Entrepreneur of the Year; Scale Up Entrepreneur of the Year and Rising Star Entrepreneur of the Year.

Sponsored by professional services firm Deloitte, the Entrepreneur of the Year award salutes an individual that has led an organisation or enterprise of scale to strong growth in revenue, and profits through innovation, teamwork and leadership skills.

The short-listed candidates are: Steve Dunlop of Scottish Canals; Tarak Ramzan, who runs the QUIZ clothing retailer and Gareth Williams of the Skyscanner flight search business. Last year’s winner, oil services entrepreneur James Milne, was on the judging panel.

The new category of Scale Up Entrepreneur of the Year is sponsored by Barclays. It recognizes a person who has demonstrated that he or she is building a scale-up organisation or enterprise of outstanding potential.

Peter Bruce of the Entier catering group; Angus MacDonald, who thrived in financial publishing and has interests in firms such as ICS Learn; Dr Deborah O’Neil, chief executive of the NovaBiotics biotechnology firm and Edinburgh Airport’s John Watson are in contention.

Spark Energy chief executive Chris Gauld, who won the former Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year category last year, was among the judges.

The new Rising Star Entrepreneur of the Year will go to someone seen to have a truly entrepreneurial mindset, and considerable potential to drive growth.

Rachael Brown, of Cultural Enterprise Office; Callum Murray of software firm Amiqus; Pick Protection’s Rebecca Pick and Craig Robertson, who developed the Epipole smart camera business, have been short-listed.