finance

Tech entrepreneur honoured



Business leaders recognised in the delayed Queen’s Birthday Honours list includes Chris van der Kuyl, one of Scotland’s leading entrepreneurs who receives a CBE.

Van der Kuyl is chairman and co-Founder of 4J Studios, the developers of the console edition of Minecraft, a huge gaming bestseller.

He was recognised for his contribution to technology, with his entrepreneurial activities working across the media, gaming and entertainment sectors.

A native of Dundee, van Der Kuyl continues to live and work in the city whose resurgence he has contributed to in a variety of roles.

In addition to his role at 4J Studios, he is also chair of Puny Astronaut, which is bringing its first game to market. He is chair too of fast-growing data analytics company TVSquared, start-up insuretecn business Broker Insights and Parsley Box which provides cupboard-stored ready meals. He also sits on the boards of aquaculture technology specialists Ace Aquatec, and ADV Holdings, a developer and operator of Foxlake water-based adventure sites.

Alongside his commercial roles, he contributes to the cultural life of Dundee through his role as Trustee of the Dundee Museums Foundation, which involves fundraising for Scotland’s first design museum, theV&A Dundee.

He is also involved with Optimistic Sound, a charity bringing El Sistema Orchestra to the city.

He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Member of the Leverhulme Advisory Board, and holds honorary degrees with Abertay, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Dundee and Strathclyde universities.

He was the founding Chairman of Entrepreneurial Scotland and is currently a member of other advisory and local charity boards.

Chris van der Kuyl said: “I’m delighted and humbled to receive this recognition, but of course I haven’t been able to do this all on my own.

“With the support of my family, friends and business partner, Paddy Burns, I’m proud of what we have achieved, those we have inspired and what is yet to come.

“Scotland is the home of innovation and this long tradition remains as strong today as it has ever been.

“You just have to look at places like my home city of Dundee to see the advances being made in areas such as technology and gaming, and the fresh and upcoming talent that is emerging.

“I’m proud that I have played a small part in that, and the honour today is simply a bonus.”

Another business figure to be honoured is David Cochrane, chief executive of Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland (HIT), who has been awarded an MBE.

Cochrane, 52, from Milnathort, Kinross has been recognised for his pivotal role in spearheading the hospitality charity’s scholarship programme which has transformed the lives of young people carving out a career in the hospitality sector.

Under David’s guidance, HIT Scotland has raised in-excess of £4m and awarded more than 10,000 bursaries and 2,000 scholarships.

HIT’s Scholarship & Bursary programmes are estimated to return £1m annually to the hospitality industry in new skills, promoting best practice, improving staff retention and encouraging professional development

Well regarded in the industry, Cochrane offers his time as a volunteer to champion the sector and is an active member of many industry forums, including the Scottish Government’s Tourism Skills Group, as trustee of Dynamic Earth (one of Scotland’s top tourist attractions) and as a fellow of the Institute of Hospitality.

David Cochrane said: “I am deeply honoured and humbled by this award.

“What has been achieved by HIT Scotland would not have been possible without the commitment and ambition of our trustees and exec team who have played a huge part in the success of the charity, alongside members of the industry who have given generously of their time, hospitality and funds to make such a positive impact on our sector.

“This comes at a really difficult time for the sector as we grapple with the catastrophic impact of Covid-19.

“This has certainly tested our resilience but again the industry has demonstrated real ingenuity in overcoming the many obstacles we face.

“The ambition and drive to look to the future is shining through and HIT is proud to be part of this incredible industry.”

Chair of HIT Scotland and chief executive of Apex Hotels Angela Vickers said: “I can truly say that David is devoted to the industry and its betterment.

“Throughout his working life from Gleneagles, to Springboard Charity, to HIT Scotland he has championed the cause by promoting hospitality as a sustainable occupation.

“Through his work at HIT David has assisted hundreds of students into education, employment, progression and genuinely enhanced careers.”

The majority of the honours list was compiled before the pandemic but was deferred to consider nominations for people who played crucial roles during the first months of efforts to tackle Covid-19.

It has prioritised frontline and community heroes who went above and beyond their duties to help others.

Among those recognised their pandemic contribution from business was David Maguire, 62, from Glasgow, who repurposed his restaurant near the city’s Gartnavel Hospital to provide free food to thousands of NHS workers, vulnerable people and school children.

When he found out about the honour, Maguire said: “I feel pretty overwhelmed. It took me by surprise and I’m really pleased for everybody in the organisation that I am associated with.

“It was a reflection of what we all managed to do.”

Maguire is made an MBE for services to the community in Glasgow during the Covid-19 response.

The Honours List also recognises the work of a manager at supermarket group Coop for her response to the Covid-19 crisis and efforts to keep communities fed throughout the pandemic.

Liz Mclean, store manager at Co-op’s Brodick store on the Isle of Arran, becomes a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM).

Mclean was nominated for putting her store at the centre of the Isle of Arran’s community response to the crisis, including working round the clock to ensure deliveries were made to hundreds of elderly and vulnerable members of the community.

She helped liaise with local food banks and social services, and played an active role in the Island’s resilience service.

She said: “I love our customers to bits, they are brilliant, and, the way the community has responded has been incredible.

“Local businesses, volunteers, community groups, the local authorities and especially the port manager of Calmac, all co-operating and helping the community to get through this together.

“In addition, the whole Co-op team has been fantastic, so it feels like this is as much in recognition of all their hard work too. I really am delighted.”



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