People: EIE wants 200 investors to hear pitches

Gordon Stuart, left, with colleagues Nicola Hogg, marketing manager, and Danny Helson, programme manager. Picture: Colin Hattersley
Gordon Stuart, left, with colleagues Nicola Hogg, marketing manager, and Danny Helson, programme manager. Picture: Colin Hattersley
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IT’S only the first full week of January, but already the folk behind one of the premier investor events in Scotland are looking forward to the next one in May.

Informatics Ventures has set a deadline of next Sunday for entries from any young tech companies wanting to showcase their talents before an audience of investors at EIE14 at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms.

Last year’s Engage, Invest, Exploit (EIE) event at the same venue was a roaring success, with Sir Tom Hunter making the opening address and 150 investors listening to the pitches.

Gordon Stuart, senior executive at Informatics, wants this year’s event to be even bigger. “Our target is 200 investors,” he says, adding that he hopes to attract more from London following the success of an event there in November. EIE14 will be addressed by transport tycoon Sir Brian Souter.

Urquhart toasts honour

Gordon & MacPhail managing director Michael Urquhart joined a select group of less than 20 industry leaders last week when he was handed a lifetime achievement award by American magazine Whisky Advocate.

The publication, which also organises the United States’ largest whisky festival, WhiskyFest, said Urquhart led the team that released a whisky “that shone like a beacon round the world”.

He is part of the third generation to lead the family-owned firm, which was established in 1895. A century on from its beginnings in a shop in Elgin, Gordon & MacPhail bought and re-opened the Benromach Distillery, and sales have grown rapidly since launching its first malt in 2009.

However, it was the firm’s launch in 2010 of its Generations range of the world’s oldest single malts that really caught Whisky Advocate’s eye. Whisky writer Jonny McCormick said: “For the whisky community, the unrivalled release of the Generations Mortlach 70-year old 1938 and Generations Glenlivet 1940 shone like a beacon around the world. It was Michael who led the team that designed and launched these exceptional whiskies.”

When mothers know best

Claudia Romero is tapping into her creative flair to launch a range of clothing for severely-disabled children.

She made the decision because of the limited choices that were available soon after her third son, Christian, was born.

Diagnosed early on with deafness, onychdystrophy, osteodystrophy and mental retardation (Door) syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, Christian cannot walk and has no control over his body.

One frequently-overlooked challenge came in the form of clothing – or rather, the limited styles of garments for those with special needs. It seemed to Romero that the designers of adaptive clothing felt their task was finished after making something easier to get off and on.

Spurred on by positive feedback about Christian’s clothes, she has teamed up with her friend, fashion designer Bernardita Reyes, to form a clothing company that strikes a balance between style and function.

Assisted by the Edinburgh arm of start-up support firm Entrepreneurial Spark, they will launch CAPR-Style later this month.

Their online store will sell a range of t-shirts, trousers, dresses and jumpers individually customised for each user’s needs.

All of the clothing will be made from scratch in Edinburgh by a small team of seamstresses that Romero and Reyes have put together.

Crass in pocket …

Magnus Wheatley, head of public relations at investment manager Charles Stanley, has clearly not lost his sense of humour over the festive period with the offer of a 2014 pocket diary.

He reminds us that said item was once described on the FT Alphaville website as being “cheap and plasticky”.

“Probably not the best sales pitch”, admits Wheatley, “but we would be delighted to send one to you.
Great for grannies, mums and anniversary presents.”