NKD Clothing founder Gill – who successfully spearheaded a management buyout of the corporate clothing firm in 2005, since doubling the company’s profits to £1.3 million – beat off 16 high-profile applicants to become one of the six finalists.
The JCI CYEA was launched in 2005 and was designed specifically to recognise outstanding entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 40.
Applicants are required to have started a new business using creativity in product development, service development, and in their approach to the market.
Existing business owners must have taken an active business and incorporated creativity to solve a problem, change a process or to create positive change in their business operations.
Gill said: “NKD Clothing is Scotland’s leading supplier of uniforms. We offer a unique service in terms of quality, style and brand identity.
“For NKD Clothing to be nominated for an award of this magnitude is gratifying. As a team we work hard to ensure rigorous standards are met. I am extremely proud of my team, and being recognised for our ability as a company has confirmed NKD Clothing’s capability to go from strength to strength in the corporate clothing sector.”
This year’s event takes place at Edinburgh’s new 5 star designer Missoni Hotel on July 16 and judges include Dragon’s Den star and Edinburgh entrepreneur Shaf Rasul, who will be speaking at the exclusive networking event.
Scottish finalists include Isla Mclean of Uloop, Jo Paulson of BEP, Kathryn Thomas of Cobalt Accountancy, Marc Malone of MOT.I.VATE and Ryan Falconer of Mediaroots, who will compete with Gill for a place in the International final which takes place later this year in Tunisia.
Multi-millionaire MGM boss Michelle entered the competition in 2006 and was selected to compete in the International final alongside 19-year-old “Super Jam” business whizz Fraser Doherty, after both were successful in the Scottish National final.
Michelle lost out in the final heat to Fraser, who went on to win the event in the US and has since accredited the competition for helping him to crack the American shopping market with his company Super Jam.
Gill added: “To follow in the footsteps of successful entrepreneurs such as Michelle Mone and Fraser Doherty is a huge honour.
“Despite the recession, NKD Clothing has continued to win a string of orders to provide stylish and bespoke uniforms to venues across the UK.
“To be shortlisted alongside five successful Scottish businesses backs my belief that now is the right time for NKD Clothing to embark on a global salespush, increasing the reach of stylish corporate clothing to countries out with the UK.
“It would be fantastic to progress to the international final, but either way it amazing for NKD Clothing to be recognised in this way.”
Building an excellent reputation
NKD Clothing is already Scotland’s leading designer of bespoke corporate wear, with a burgeoning client list and order book.
It has won plaudits for transforming the appearance of staff with a host of blue chip companies, including the De Vere and Malmaison hotel groups.
JCI Judge Shaf Rasul said: “It gives me great pleasure to be involved in this year’s awards and to be part of the judging panel.
“As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist I have been extremely impressed with the standard of entries and it’s inspiring that people recognise that there are opportunities amidst the economic downturn if you believe in your business idea and are willing to put in the hard work required to make it a success.
“Scotland has some serious entrepreneurial talent at its disposal and I fully believe that each of our winners will perform well at the world finals later this year.”
JCI Enterprise Director, Suzanne Shinnie, who also runs her own IT company, Techs in the City; added: “The quality and variety of entrants we have had this year has been incredible. The shortlist has a diverse range of small businesses that each represent Scotland in an extremely positive way.
“I look forward to helping promote the winners of this award at an international level.”