Acorns 2019: Robbie Laidlaw, 29

19 June 2019 by
Acorns 2019: Robbie Laidlaw, 29

Business development manager, the Genuine Dining Co (GDC)

Nominator Chris Mitchell, managing director, GDC

Proudest moment "Joining the growing and successful team at GDC, which has won and been shortlisted for many awards. It's great to be part of something exciting like this."

Greatest inspiration "My parents, because they have always supported my brother and me in chasing our goals. And GDC's sales and marketing director Danielle Mitchell for teaching me everything about our industry and instilling a passion for hospitality within me."

Why hospitality is a great career "It really is what you make of it. There are endless opportunities, it's versatile and rewarding, and you work with inspiring people in amazing places."

Robbie Laidlaw began honing his flair for sales from an early age. Way before gaining a Higher National Diploma in events management, he was organising events for a social club he had set up at high school. By 19, he'd started his own company, Working Events, which raised £18,000 for Help for Heroes.

He continued this talent for fundraising at the Kiltwalk charity, where he raised more than £3m for Scottish children's charities.

A move to London in 2016 saw him join the Springboard charity as events manager, launching 20 events in a year and increasing fundraising by 28% and footfall by 17%.

Two years later, Laidlaw joined GDC as business development manager, winning five clients and boosting revenue by £4.1m. Among his initiatives, he has led a project to develop an audit app which, since its launch in September 2018, has seen audit scores across the portfolio improve by an average of 20%. And, thanks to him, GDC has notched up 24 new business proposals in 10 months.

But what really stands out about Laidlaw is his generosity. Extra projects he has taken on include creating pathways into employment for students at Westminster Kingsway College; organising internal chef competition GenChef to showcase 45 chefs; and getting behind Team Velo to raise more than £30,000 for the Springboard charity in 2018.

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