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Glasgow Business . 25


Printing company leader John M Watson OBE on why he has given Glasgow Chamber £100,000 to help the next generation of business in Glasgow to thrive and grow


lasgow Chamber of Commerce has just set up a new fund to give financial backing to city businesses to help them grow and develop.

Te new strand of backing comes courtesy of a generous donation of £100,000 from long time Chamber Member John M Watson OBE and Te Watson Foundation. “I am in the very fortunate position that

I sold my business very successfully last year. I completed my Earn Out and exited John Watson & Company in March 2015,” he said. Te company’s long-term success

had been built on its specialism in the drinks industry, particularly Scotch whisky which atracted the bid from the Multi-Color Corporation of Ohio, which was, John said: “A commercially astute deal that I could not refuse!” He explained: “So I thought rather

than just bank this amount, Te Watson Foundation would help other people in business – young and not so young entrepreneurs who wish to start up or continue in business. “We’ve been long-term members

of Glasgow Chamber and I thought who beter to speak to here than Stuart Patrick, the Chief Executive, who would give me a steer for what we could do with a sizeable six-figure sum.” Aſter consultation with the

Chamber Board of Directors, it was decided that it should be given to aspiring entrepreneurs who may have experienced difficulty in receiving funding. “Tis was one of these

situations where I didn’t want any particular input other than giving the cheque to

John M Watson OBE receives

The Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2014 from former President, Vic Emery

the Chamber,” John Watson explained. So Glasgow Chamber set up a panel that

will consider proposals from Member businesses and decide how the money should be awarded. Te idea is that money is lent to help businesses grow and is repaid with minimal interest so over time the fund can grow and do more in the future. “My motivation is, I would say,

that I am a student of Andrew Carnegie. I am a great believer that if you have, in your lifetime, the ability to be successful you should be prepared to give some money back,” John explained. “I would like to improve the

lot of Glasgow and Glasgow businesses. Because I’ve lived through three or four recessions now I know that business is very

cyclical and I think if you back the right people they can make

Glasgow great. “Te Chamber will keep me

apprised of the companies we’ve supported and how the fund is

progressing. “Tis might be the difference between a company geting started and not geting

started – they may have got assistance from their bank but this is just the ‘wee top up’ they require.” Watson says the fund will not be

restricted to start-ups. “It could be a company that has been in business for 20 years but they’ve got a new idea which warrants a bit of funding.” Asked to reflect on the principles

that guided his business to be so successful, John Watson does not hesitate in replying: “Make sure that the customer is king at all times. I looked at a lot of different business models where they didn’t regard the

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