IF she had looked closely enough she may have been able to foresee her destiny in her tea leaves.
Raising a cuppa to success is tea shop owner Erika Moore who has co-won an Evening News-backed Dragons’ Den-style competition, earning her Frederick Street business, Eteaket, free advertising in the paper and specialist mentoring worth thousands of pounds.
Joining her in the celebrations is Colinton-based Gardening Services Edinburgh, whose owner, Andy Shaw, today said he was “full of joy” at the news of his victory.
The winners had to pitch their firms to a panel of experts in the Business Accelerators competition, a nationwide challenge backed by newspapers across the country, as well as Prime Minister David Cameron, to support up-and-coming companies.
Panel chairwoman Liz McAreavey, former Scottish Businesswoman of the Year, said the judges had been unanimous in their choice of winners.
She said: “Eteaket was a fantastic concept that can grow and could be national, if not global, so it’s got huge growth potential.
“Gardening Services had an absolute focus on quality and customer service and he [Andy Shaw] just had a grasp on every element of his business and what he needed to do to make his business grow – but he also recognised his limitations and he wasn’t afraid to ask for help.”
The Business Accelerators competition attracted more than 3000 entries nationwide. Locally, the winners will have their businesses advertised for free in the Evening News, as well as receiving mentoring from experts at the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. They will also go on to the national final for a chance for one-to-one mentoring from real-life “Dragon” Deborah Meaden.
The Edinburgh panel of judges – which also included entrepreneur Sir Tom Farmer, former Prince’s Trust director Geraldine Gammell, and Evening News editor Tom Little – also gave a special mention to finalist Lee Fitzpatrick of Market Prepare!, based in Prestonpans, which equips properties for rent or sale.
Ms McAreavey said: “We loved his enthusiasm and entrepreneurship. We feel that he will go on to have a great future.”
Mr Shaw, said winning the competition would “transform” his gardening business. “It’s going to make such a difference. Also, it will be great to represent Edinburgh and Scotland in the national competition,” he said.
Eteaket director Erica Moore added that she was also delighted to have won, saying: “It’s a fantastic chance to get in front of our customers.
“We’re a small, family-owned company so we don’t have lots of money to spend on advertising but it will be a really big boost to be able to speak to our potential customers in the Evening News, to let people know about our website and the fact we sell our tea wholesale as well. The mentoring is also exactly what we need.”
The winners were among six finalists given the chance to pitch to the panel at the Evening News offices. The other firms who made it through to the last round were Vertex eCommerce, in South Queesnferry; AM Lettings, in Dalkeith; and Greetings from Leith, as well as and Market Prepare!.
Sir Tom said each of the businesses had impressed the judges: “The agreement was that every one of them had something special about them and I think the most special thing was the enthusiasm and the can-do attitude.”
Prime Minister David Cameron also congratulated the winners. “It’s brilliant that so many promising young companies, from such a wide range of sectors, are benefiting from this excellent initiative,” he said.