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Small Business of the Year 2001

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce EGC won Small Business of the Year 2001 in the Lothian Business Excellence Awards at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Thursday 4th April 2002. The category sponsor was the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. The following article was printed in the Edinburgh Evening News on Tuesday 26 March 2002.

Graham Watson accepts his award at the Lothian Business Excellence Awards

EUROPEAN Gas Consultancy emerged from the experience garnered over 20 years in the energy business by Graham Watson. Ten of those years fell in the period after the liberalisation of the UK gas market in the early 1990s.

EGC aims to provide a consultancy service "from the beach to the burner tip" for European companies with an annual spend on gas in excess of 100,000 who are looking to reduce their costs.

Mr Watson, the company's managing director, says the idea for EGC really took seed while he was at the World Gas Conference, in Nice, in June 2000, in the run-up to the opening up of the European gas markets in August that year. "Having been part of the UK market as it liberalised, I recognised the need for major gas users to have support in coping with a new evolving market, and how my knowledge and experience of the UK market could help them," Mr Watson says.

"I also recognised that no company offered a complete technical and commercial service along the whole gas value chain from the beach to the burner tip in the UK or Europe." Launching in January 2001, the company runs entirely on a e-business platform.

Mr Watson says companies will soon be able to log into their own portals via the EGC website to access reports and pricing information.

The company is also earning a strong reputation as a market leader in the liberalising European market, with "100 per cent customer satisfaction" rates.

EGC growth has been "self sustaining", the company is debt-free and staff are given clear objectives, the achievement of which are "rewarded suitably".

Mr Watson says the company has implemented robust management information systems which mean that the financial health of the business can be measured accurately "24 hours a day".

But the studied monitoring also extends to competitors, customers, suppliers, the regulatory environment in the UK and Europe and gas prices across the world, Mr Watson says.

Growth over the first year is recorded at 700 per cent. This year it has extended 27 per cent and next year EGC expects to achieve growth at about 67 per cent.

With the health of the sector "buoyant", Mr Watson says there are "considerable" opportunities for EGC to grow.

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