Starting out part-time, Hugh Graham’s business had become an industry leader. But after 30 years at it he was beginning to feel the strain of the industry demands. He tells how he sold up, walked away from his company, and got into something completely new.
Hugh Graham flicks the computer on, and checks his daily trades on the world’s foreign exchange markets.
“We’ve been doing it for a year or so, but you have got to be careful,” the amiable 77 year old enthuses. “It’s a very complex business.”
It’s big business too. Around £3bn ($5trn) changes hands every day worldwide, and in the UK, an estimated 81,000 ordinary traders trade on the forex markets daily. And in a low interest environment it is growing – the average returns of 1-10% a month make it an attractive asset class.
But after 50 years in haematology – including 20 years manufacturing blood banking and tissue reagent products alongside his daughter Fiona – Hugh and Fiona were seeking a fresh challenge.
THE EARLY YEARS
Hugh’s journey into entrepreneurism was unconventional.
“I was a biomedical scientist, and I spent most of my life in laboratories working on obstetrics for the National Health Service (NHS) in Bellshill,” he recalls.
“Two of my friends had businesses of their own and they intrigued me. I wondered if I could find a niche, preferably something related to the lab work where I had considerable expertise.”
In 1983 – the same year as the HIV virus was formally identified – Hugh set up Inverclyde Biologicals to develop and sell blood grouping products and consumables.
“At that time, I didn’t think it would become full-time, but after my daughter joined in 1986, she drove the business forward, and it blossomed.”