Our Advisers

Aberdeen City and Shire Business Gateway Advisers have a wealth of expertise and knowledge to contribute to your new or growing business. They thrive on helping you to overcome hurdles and achieve success and are only a phone call or email away.

Many of our Advisers bring with them industry sector professional qualifications in addition to experience. Many will have previously run their own businesses. All will ensure that the advice they provide to you will be impartial, confidential and tailored to help you and your business develop to its fullest potential.

Here we introduce you to our team:

Jill rettie-crop

Jill Rettie

Proud to be born and bred in the North East, Jill is passionate about the area and has enjoyed watching a diverse range of businesses emerge and thrive in recent years.  

Jill joined the Business Gateway Team as a Start-Up Business Adviser in February 2018 following a diverse career spanning a variety of industries including Oil and Gas, Education, Retail and Creative sectors. Although working in several roles these have latterly been HR and Recruitment focused. 

She graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a Master of Arts in Management in 2013 and is currently undertaking a Masters of Science in Human Resources. It was through her work in HR and Recruitment that she came to recognise and fully embrace that people are what make a business! She is very excited to be able to engage with the local business environment to make a positive contribution to both the business and wider business community. 

In her spare time, Jill enjoys running a blog to document and share her journey exploring the world of craft Gin and Beer. Jill enjoys challenging herself and learning new things through experience. She loves to travel and discover new places, either through weekend adventuring close to home exploring Scotland, or extended breaks further afield and has recently enjoyed trips to New Zealand. California, Australia, Singapore, and Bangkok. Other Hobbies include Snowboarding, dance, cooking, eating out, fashion and reading.


Steliana Radu

Business Administrator

Steliana joined the Business Gateway team in May 2017 as part-time Business Coordinator for Business Gateway services and evening workshops supervisor.

Steliana now also aids our advisory team, providing efficient and valuable Business Gateway services.

Born and bred in Transylvania, Steliana moved to Aberdeen 10 years ago for her personal and professional development.

Having graduated with an HND in Events Management at North East Scotland College, she is currently studying in 3rd-year at Robert Gordon University in Events Management. One of Steliana's proudest moments was being presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award from NESCol in 2016 and was part of the Elevator Challenge winning team in 2015. One day she plans to start her own business in the Events Industry.

Outside of work, Steliana enjoys traveling, meeting different people and engaging in new cultures and loves to explore nature, read and star gaze. Also, she has a weak spot for comic books and playing the PS4.


Hayley Charles

Business Adviser

Hayley joined the start-up team in January 2017. Hayley graduated from Robert Gordon University with a degree in Social Science alongside attaining a Masters in Fashion Management a few years later. During this time she developed her skills in Marketing, Globalisation, Advertising and Consumer Psychology. After graduating in 2014, Hayley launched her own business within the fashion industry based in Aberdeen. During this time, she discovered her interest in not only running a business but also helping and guiding others to do so; paving the way for her to join Business Gateway. 

In her spare time, Hayley enjoys travelling and has spent time in Thailand, Europe, America and Hong-Kong to name a few hot spots; experiencing a variety of different cultures along the way. However, being a born and bred Aberdonian she loves nothing more than spending her weekends with friends and at home in the outdoors; horse riding and walking with her dog.


Catherine Homewood

Start Up Growth Business Adviser

Catherine Homewood grew up in Peterhead and has a good knowledge of the local area. Having worked for the Clydesdale Bank PLC for over 30 years in both the retail and business banking sectors of the Bank, Catherine has a strong financial background with a huge amount of experience at providing excellent customer service, and now keenly carries this in her role as a Business Adviser with Business Gateway; helping both start-up and growing businesses.

Catherine enjoys keeping fit and attends the local gym and aerobics classes. She also enjoys cooking and socialising with friends.


Carron Taylor

Start Up Growth Business Adviser

Born and bred in the North East of Scotland, Carron joined the Growth Start Up team in March 2017 delivering advice and support to early-stage businesses and those with aspirations to grow. Carron’s remit covers all aspects of startup and operation, however, her background in HR and administration sees her role widen to support businesses across the North East who are looking to recruit for the first time or who are keen to develop their people and improve their HR systems.   

As well as her many years of experience gained locally in the food industry, Carron boasts an honours degree in Business Studies and loves to be able to use her skills and experience to help people to follow their dreams and to make a difference. In any spare time, Carron can often be found on the golf course trying to improve her game or in her kitchen cooking for and spending much loved time with her family. 


Aisha Kasim

Business Adviser

Aisha is a proud Nigerian Scot having been raised in both enterprising countries. Aisha moved back to Aberdeen after graduating from Glasgow University with a Master of Arts in Business Management. After spending some time working in the Aberdeen Oil & Gas industry, Aisha began her entrepreneurial journey and started a small business. Inspired by business and a passion for hair, Aisha invented a low heat hair styling tool. Aisha was heavily involved in the product development, prototyping, and patent application stages of her invention. Taking a less traditional approach to seeking investment for her invention Aisha successfully applied for the BBC’s The Apprentice in 2015.

In her spare time, Aisha is into meditation and completed mindfulness studies at Oxford University, finding mindfulness practices helps fuel creativity. A keen traveller Aisha has explored Dubai, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe, enjoying learning about different cultures. Aisha enjoys the arts, music and, of course, a good laugh. Aisha is looking forward to working with you on your own business journey! 


Kirstie McLaughlin

Business Adviser

Kirstie joined us in the Start-up Team in July 2016.

Kirstie is originally from Largs on the west coast of Scotland so loves to enjoy an ice cream by the sea. 

Kirstie graduated from the University of Dundee with a degree in Law in 2012 however, she decided that a career in law wasn’t for her so she went on to study at Strathclyde University in Glasgow where she graduated with an MSc in Business and Management. It was during her year at Strathclyde that she discovered her love for business, team work and planning. After graduating from Strathclyde University in 2013, Kirstie moved to Aberdeen for a job in the oil and gas industry where she gained experience in business improvement, contract management and business development. 

After nearly 3 years in the Oil and Gas industry, Kirstie decided it was time for a change and joined us to help and support entrepreneurs and new start-up businesses.

Outside of work Kirstie enjoys travelling, she has been on a few adventurous holidays where she has been bungee jumping, canoeing with wild dolphins and white water rafting. She also enjoys spending time at home playing computer games, particularly old Nintendo games and spending time cooking with her friends. 

Kirstie looks forward to working with you to progress your business plans. 


Nicola Doherty

Business Development Coordinator

Nicola is a Business Development Coordinator for our Business Gateway services, joining in Sept 2016. Nicola supports the business advisory team and ensures the smooth and efficient running of the Business Gateway service. 

Nicola is from Paisley and is acclimatising to Aberdeen having relocated here to join the organisation. Her background is in optimising processes and delivering a fulfilling customer journey.

Off duty, Nicola may be found cycling, socialising or cooking, but not all at once!


Gordon MacKay

Business Adviser

Gordon joined us in the Business Growth Team in December 2015.

Gordon has been providing mentoring services on a part-time basis to a wide variety of businesses for nearly 10 years, during which time he has been known as Blackmask.

Gordon enjoyed working with mostly smaller companies who have found it difficult to position themselves in their marketplace and has generally offered advice and guidance on Sales and Marketing activities, led with some assistance in developing a credible web presence at an affordable price.

Gordon's core experience is drawn from his major life’s work which was with an Aberdeen based office equipment sales and supply company called Grampian Business Products. Gordon joined that company in 1981 as their first salesman when the business was just 11 months old and had a long and successful career there which progressed through sales management to becoming the Sales Director, heading up a management buyout in 2002 and as the Managing Director, negotiated the profitable sale of the company in 2006, just before the economic downturn.

During that 25 year journey, the company grew from 3 employees to a peak of 100, Grampian Business Products were the first company in its industry to attain the requisite BS Standard and Investors in People and were seen as the vendor of choice by a large percentage of the Aberdeen business community.

Gordon was also involved in the development of a bespoke CRM system which included a highly effective sales development and forecasting utility which was unique in its time and large parts of which have been adopted by a long established Sales Development company whom Gordon has had a relationship with for over 30 years.

Gordon has been married for 36 years to the girl he met at school and has 3 grown up sons (35, 33 and 20), 3 grandchildren (10, 6 and 2), a Bearded Collie called Alfie, and has lived in Cruden Bay for 33 years.

Outside family and work, Gordon plays in a ‘pub rock’ band and has a passion for the works of Robert Burns, having performed his own unique interpretation of Tam O’ Shanter for many years.

In summary, Gordon gained all of his business acumen in the School of Hard Knocks and the University of Life, and has developed a highly refined sales and sales management skill set, which will add breadth to the knowledge base already in place at Business Gateway in Aberdeen City & Shire.

Gordon looks forward to working with you.


John McQueston

High Growth Business Adviser

John has been advising Growth businesses for 15 years and has covered most sectors including oil and, gas, food and drink, ICT, engineering and financial services. He advises his clients on all the public sector support available in Scotland through agencies like Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Investment Bank and local councils as well as giving them commercial advice on running and growing their businesses.

Before becoming an adviser he worked in the financial services sector and ran his own businesses based on franchising. These were in the fast food and logistics sectors.


Andrew Mackay

High Growth Business Adviser

Andrew has worked in the public sector development 'arena' since the 1980's primarily across the Highlands & Islands and currently with Business Gateway Aberdeen City and Shire as a Growing Business Adviser.

He sees client contact as paramount to assist the individual/organisation to achieve its goals and targets. He is able to provide such support from his background in corporate law, accountancy and business development. Andrew is also able to deliver or write training courses to help meet specialist client needs.

Prior to joining Business Gateway, Andrew was self-employed for 22 years delivering support to a variety of difference businesses.


David Percival

E Commerce Business Adviser

David Percival is an experienced start up and business growth adviser with Business Gateway Aberdeen City and Shire and specialises in providing clients with a wealth of knowledge to drive their business forward online and via their web presence. David is a Specialist in Online Marketing and multi-lingual website translation and marketing.

David will be able to assist start up and growing businesses with Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing along with advising on Best Practice Web Design to help with business opportunities.

Shelagh Swanson of Oil and Glass said: "I found the session with David Percival very useful, covering a range of important topics such as search engine optimisation, satisfying any legal obligations and checking the ease of use of our ecommerce functionality. I found all of David's advice was relevant, insightful and useful. He obviously has a very in-depth understanding and knowledge of his field and was clear and concise in delivering his recommendations."


Debbie Moir

Business Adviser

Debbie is a positive and energetic adviser with a passion for tourism. Born and bred in Yorkshire, she has lived in many UK locations throughout her career, settling in Scotland for the last 17 years.

Debbie has worked for large multi nationals such as Forte, Marriott, Accor and Macdonald Hotels alongside SME's and small individual operators. She brings together all of her experiences to benefit local businesses and the service they give their clients.

She ran her own businesses, achieving a "Best New Start" award from Grampian Enterprise in 2002 for her event management business, Q Events. She sold this business after four years with the planned exit strategy achieved.

Debbie looks forward to helping clients with strategy to grow their business, and specifically enjoys helping businesses with their sales and marketing plans due to her extensive knowledge in this area.


Emilia Stanczyk

Business Adviser

Emilia joined the Business Gateway team in 2007; she graduates from the WSB School of Banking with a degree in International Business and Finance. Emilia moved from Poland to Scotland and puts her fantastic bilingual skills to great use when assisting both Polish and Scottish business clients.

Emilia works alongside businesses with aspirations to grow rapidly by exceeding £70,000 of turn-over within first 18 months of trading and taking on members of staff.

Emilia takes great pride in being part of the business journey, helping them to plan, launch and then grow.


Elaine Reid

Start Up Business Adviser

Elaine is born and bred in Peterhead and has a thoroughly good working knowledge of the area. Elaine has experience of assisting many Aberdeenshire businesses, including a business she worked on for 5 years herself.

Elaine is a dedicated mother to two and is often excited to see a start-up business pop up in the Shire, even when she is on her holidays. Elaine passionately supports businesses to take their plans to the next level, and enjoys nothing more than seeing them make a success of it.


Gillian MacDonald

Start Up Business Team Leader

Gillian is one of our longest standing members of staff, having been in the business support network since 1993. Gillian loves nothing more than to receive a phone call from a client to say that they have started their business, when she has been able to assist them along the way. Running her own business with her husband, Gillian knows the ups and downs involved in running a business, and uses her expertise to give her clients the best possible start. Gillian runs workshops on Start Up Awareness and Business Planning, and is available for one to one chats over the phone or in person.

Kirsty Forrester (client) said: "I have on-going contact with my adviser, Gillian Macdonald, who answers my questions, holds my hand, and advises me on finance and tax matters which can be quite daunting. Business Gateway is a fabulous resource with nice people who are very approachable. Their workshops are engaging and an ideal way to meet people who are in the same boat as you."