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Robert Graham named regional winner of Ernst and Young Scotland Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

Robert Graham, the managing director of Stirlingshire based Graham’s The Family Dairy, Scotland’s largest independent dairy was named a regional winner at the Ernst and Young Scotland Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 Awards.

The 38 year-old managing director of the UK’s seventh largest liquid milk producer with a turnover of £40 million and employing 300 staff, fought off competition from 30 of Scotland’s leading business men and women to pick up the award at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire in June.

Robert Graham joined the family business in 1991, after graduating with a degree in accountancy and finance from Heriot-Watt University.  In 1996, he succeeded his father, Robert senior, as managing director. 

The award was in recognition of his ability to provide strong direction to his family business over the past 16 years as it continues to drive market share in a competitive market.  In the 70th anniversary year of his family business, Robert Graham now joins 11 Scottish regional winners who progress to a national final in October to compete for the title of Ernst & Young Overall UK Entrepreneur of the Year.

Commenting on his award, a proud Robert Graham said: “To be named a regional winner at the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards is a huge honour, both for my family and everyone connected with our dairy.

“At Graham’s The Family Dairy, we passionately believe in continuing to offer our discerning customers the highest quality of milk, cream, butter and ice cream dairy products.  Integrity, honesty, family values and quality are principles that have successfully guided the Graham’s business for five generations. 

“I am confident this approach and our constant drive to offer our customers innovative dairy products, including the recent launch of our first range of luxury vanilla ice cream, will continue to see Graham’s The Family Dairy prosper.”

The independent chair of the judging panel, Sir Bill Gammell of Cairn Energy plc commented: “Since taking the reins of the family business, Robert has shown himself to be a true entrepreneur and leader, totally committed to the business and prepared to be innovative around introducing new products in a very established market.”  

Jim Bishop, Ernst & Young Partner and Leader of Entrepreneur Of The Year in Scotland, commented: “The success achieved by Robert highlights the drive and determination of Scottish companies to succeed in today’s global climate and we wish him well in the national finals.”

Under Robert Graham’s guidance, the Graham’s The Family Dairy has placed product innovation at the heart of its business strategy to drive market share.  In May, the family launched its first range of luxury vanilla ice cream across its Organic, Graham’s Gold and Scottish Dairy range.  Earlier this year it also launched 100% Scottish Really Garlicky Butter. 

Last month the family business saw its Graham’s Gold dairy products, produced by its prize-herd of doe-eyed Jersey cows, pick up both the award for Marketing Initiative of the Year and for Best Dairy, Confectionary & Snacking Product at the 2009 Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards