My Column

11th March 2013

  • Date: Monday 11th March 2013


I was encouraged to see a few Scottish businesses reporting good news for a change. Edinburgh based aviation company, John Menzies, announced a 16 per-cent rise in profits while John Wood Group reported a 43 per-cent rise in pre-tax profits.

Menzies proved themselves to new and old customers to retain £118million of business and made over £15million with new contracts.

News like this is great for the economy and restores faith in Scottish businesses. This just proves that Scotland still has plenty to give and we should invest in our future.  

It was only a few weeks ago I was talking about how important the next generation will be to continue this success and develop Scotland within the business world.

You may remember the Scottish Institute for Enterprise challenge I spoke about a few weeks ago where 18-24 year old final year students are being encouraged to enter the contest and battle it out to win £50,000 in dedicated business support.

Initiatives like this are vital to encourage youngsters to get involved in the business world and be creative.

A prime example of what Scotland has to offer was revealed by Insignia Technologies recently.

The Lanarkshire based company launched its smart label system designed to tell you if your food is past its best.

I know you will be wondering how this is different from sell-by dates but trust me, this is life changing stuff!

The clever technology is incorporated into a film lid and the label is activated when the packet is opened which triggers a timer that changes colour as the food loses freshness.

This is ideal for products like cold meat as it loses freshness from the second it’s opened therefore a use by date can often be misleading. 

I think this is fantastic and even better that it has come from a Scottish company. With all the recent horsing around in the food industry, it was refreshing to hear about a product to help restore customer confidence.

In Scotland, we are fortunate to have enterprise groups like SIE willing to take a chance on creative ideas.

Insignia has developed a product that will undoubtedly change the food packaging industry for the better.

Best before dates, use by dates and display until can often be confusing and incorrect. On most packaging we see a display until, which is obviously for the store supplying the product, and best before or use by which are for the customer.

I know that I can get a bit dazed looking at them and I’m sure there are many more like me out there.

This new label doesn’t kick in until the packaging has been opened so it is clearly for the customer. It will be much easier to pop your head in the fridge and look at the colour of the label to know if the product is still fresh or if it should go in the bin!

Erik Smyth is the genius behind this product and he reminds me of myself in many ways. I too have found myself with an amazing idea in my head but knowing what to do with it can often be hard.

Voices of doubt will always creep into your mind and make you second guess yourself and your idea.

Like I have done many times, Erik decided to ignore those little voices and has taken his product forward.

Erik and the team have shown that a simple idea can develop into a business and no matter where you are from, you can make it work.

I’m personally really excited to see where this product leads. I’m sure food packing is not the only thing we will see this smart label system on in the future!


I think it’s fair to say that when the recession hit, it meant bankruptcy for many people.

Scotland’s population was hit where it hurts, with everyone from bankers, business tycoons and the average worker slapped in the face with redundancy, wage cuts and inflation.

Amongst those to face the hard realities of the financial crisis were property developers.

I know many once-successful entrepreneurs who were reduced to their knees, a victim of the crashing markets.

That’s why I was delighted to read front page news about the huge popularity and unprecedented interest in the fantastic Buchanan Gardens development, located in the heart of Glasgow’s plushest G1 postcode.

More than 1000 potential buyers have registered to find out more information and potentially buy one of the eco-homes with its own private terrace or balcony.

I tell you, if I was a young guy out and about on the town, I would give my right arm for one of these state-of-the-art homes. I would love to kick back with some buddies and take advantage of the unique sky garden.

Many people seem to be finding their feet again. It was recently announced that last month’s retail sales are the fastest growing in three years showing that consumers are, once again, spending disposable cash in the stores.

And now hoards of people have registered for information to potentially purchase of these luxurious apartments.

I hear some big name celebs have expressed interest in the one, two and three-bedroom flats. Who knows, if you are lucky enough to buy one of these apartments, you might end up living next to your favourite pop star!


Related Content Video: How To Get Investors & Investment For Your Business Or Startup


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