Trio of Edinburgh entrepreneurs recognised by UK government campaign

Three Edinburgh entrepreneurs have been recognised for their responses to the Coronavirus pandemic by being named as some of the faces of a prestigious UK government campaign.

From left: Ruari Fairbairns, Roz Colthart, and Robbie Allen. Picture: contributed.

Among those chosen for the “Great Inspirations” initiative is Roz Colthart, founder of co-working hub Salon Studios, who in a bid to help her business community post-Covid-19 launched Salonpreneur, a free digital platform to support self-employed salon professionals.

She is joined on the list, which comprises more than 80 companies, by One Year No Beer (OYNB), the brainchild of Ruari Fairbairns, which helped to tackle alcohol consumption during lockdown by offering its 28-day challenge for free, and the team sacrificing their own salary for three months.

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Thirdly, Robbie Allen launched The Thriving Box Company to support local businesses by enabling customers to shop for high-quality products such as artisan food, art and coffee, delivered straight to their door.

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The “Great Inspirations” campaign celebrates those who have gone “above and beyond” for their customers, employees or communities by innovatively adapting to a new way of working.

Campaign director Dan Ramsay said: “The UK is an incredibly innovative nation and the businesses selected for the Great Inspirations epitomise this. In an incredibly difficult period they have adapted and found new markets, new customers and new ways of operating as well as helping their communities and keeping them safe.”

Colthart said: “When the pandemic hit, I knew that the salon industry, centred around tactility was going to be one of the worst affected so I created Salonpreneur to support self-employed salon professionals. I’m so delighted that we’ve managed to help so many people and I’m honoured to have received this recognition.”

Fairbairns said: “Over 7,000 people signed up to our free support service and I’m just so grateful for the incredibly quick thinking, open-hearted support and passion that the OYNB team demonstrated during these hard times. This has been such a great opportunity for us to help so many people.”

Allen said: “Since launching, The Thriving Box Co has delivered over 5,000 gift boxes throughout the UK, generating £200,000 in revenue for small independent businesses. We’re so proud to have been able to provide this critical lifeline for businesses across the UK.”

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