By Victoria Masterson

AT SCHOOL, Grant Currie was told he’d never amount to much.

“I think my head teacher described me as, ‘you’re never going to set the heather alight,’” said Mr Currie, who is founder and managing director of East Kilbride-based virtual facilities management and services company, Virtual FM.

“So school was never really something I was interested in. I wanted to get out as quickly as possible.”

Speaking on the Go Radio Business Show with Hunter & Haughey, Mr Currie also recalled, in his early 20s, showing his first business plan to an accountant.

“He ripped it up and threw it into his bin and said: go and get a job. And I think that was the turning point for me. I’m not going to let this guy derail me. I’m not going to lose vision of this plan.”

His planned music merchandising business didn’t work out, but Mr Currie went on to build a career in facilities management.

He set up Virtual FM in 2016 and it now employs 150 people.

“We probably on-boarded about 100 of that through the lockdown,” he said.

Entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter said: “Sometimes people who have a business nous are a wee bit awkward at school and can be seen as disruptors.

“I think that’s a very positive trait.”

Lord Willie Haughey, the owner of Glasgow-based facilities company, City Facilities Management Holdings, gave a wry account of his own departure from school.

“My headmaster, when I told him I wanted to stay on, told me, No – you’re not,” Lord Haughey said. “You have to leave and your Dad will get you an apprenticeship. And please don’t set the school on fire.”

Sir Tom said he believed fear of failure still held a lot of Scottish businesses back.

Mr Currie urged would-be entrepreneurs to go for it.

“You fear the failure, but you could be denying yourself and your family the benefits of that success.”

Mr Currie said the death of his 15-year-old daughter Lauren in 2010 from an autoimmune disease had changed his outlook. “When we’ve set this company up, it has to be about people,” he said.