Eddie Finnigan.



What is your business called?

Two Rivers Recruitment.

Where is it based?


What services does it offer?

We are a recruitment agency specialising in aerospace, engineering, HR and hospitality with a global reach. We say on our website that rivers are the lifeblood of any city since they bring trade and prosperity to the people who live there. The two rivers in our case are the Clyde and the Kelvin, which both run through Glasgow.

To whom does it sell?

Global engineering and aerospace businesses, including BAE Systems, to whom we are a preferred supplier and to range of Small and Medium Sized enterprises.

What is its turnover?

It was £850,000 last year; we should break the £1m turnover barrier quite comfortably in this current calendar year.

How many employees?

There are four of us; three in the office and another, based in the Borders, who works from home.

When was it formed?

I formed the business in 2015 and we operated for three years on a franchise model. That was not as successful as we had hoped, and we became a fully-fledged independent business in January 2018.

Despite enormous challenges at inception, since becoming an independent business Two Rivers has enjoyed encouraging growth and success.

Why did you take the plunge?

It sounds ridiculous, but I was sitting upfront in an aeroplane bound for New Zealand as part of a globe-trotting job visiting glorious, wonderful places all over the world including Brazil, Kenya and the USA, when I realised I was deeply unhappy and unfulfilled in the role I was playing. At the time I lived in a spacious, sunny apartment on Palm Jumeriah island in Dubai, earning a tax-free six-figure salary while travelling to sort out HR issues for my employer. My Mum had recently died, and I found myself re-assessing my life. A critical part of me was saying I had to make changes in my life and that an important part of that change would be starting my own business.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I went to school in north Glasgow and worked part-time at Safeway while studying for Highers and then while I was at Paisley University, now University of the West of Scotland, where I studied business and specialised in human resources management.

When I got my degree, I started work at McDonald’s as a graduate trainee. Though I was only there for a year it was a great experience and I learned everything from flipping burgers to detailed cash management and how the business operated. I moved then to Brake Brothers in Bellshill as an HR Adviser and won promotion to be HR Manager covering Scotland and the North of England. I was there five years and learned more about HR management and life generally than at any other time in my career. I then got a job in HR in Saudi Arabia with BAE Systems. I was based at first in Tabuk, up near the Jordanian border where BAe worked alongside the Royal Saudi Airforce, servicing its Tornado and Typhoon fighter jets. I worked at BAe for five years before moving to Emirates Airlines, based in Dubai, where I was global Compensation and Benefits manager, [I also did stints at Zurich Insurance and Schlumberger] before returning to Scotland in 2015. Around the same time I completed an MBA from the University of Strathclyde, Graduate School of Business.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

When you have worked in the Middle East for as long as I had, making good tax-free money, it makes sense to be a saver. This gave me the opportunity to get the ball rolling by funding the business start-up costs.

What was your biggest break?

When Two Rivers Recruitment signed a preferred supplier agreement with BAe in Saudi Arabia in 2018.

What was your worst moment?

In our first three years we really struggled. The structure we had entered into was wrong for us. As a result, we hit rock bottom, losing money and running out of resources. It was a challenging time and I began to lose confidence that I had the ability to run a successful business. Eventually, I consulted Glasgow solicitor, David Kaye of Harper McLeod, who helped me plot a course which, from January 2018, has led to the success we are currently enjoying.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

It may sound self-serving, but creating employment opportunities for individuals which can be life changing is a very satisfying way to spend time. Also, being free to make my own decisions on our future course.

What are your ambitions for the business?

To build it up over the years by filling as many quality job roles as possible. I’ve always liked the idea of “doing well by doing good”, and I think we can do that and still enjoy ourselves.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Late payment is such a blight on businesses generally, and we need genuinely effective legislation to improve the current situation and make it unacceptable to delay payment. We are members of the Federation of Small Businesses whose legal department has been effective in chasing up late payers. I also think the two governments should re-double their efforts to support anyone from a disadvantaged area who wants to start a business.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

Trust your instinct. I think your instinct gets sharper with the more experience you accumulate. I wouldn’t say it is always 100 per cent right, but I have found it a pretty accurate guide to making the right decision.

How do you relax?

I try to get to the gym five or so times a week and play seven a side football on Thursdays. I’m also involved with MCR Pathways which trains businesspeople in Glasgow to mentor young people from difficult family backgrounds and give them support to become all they can be in their lives and careers.