Malcolm’s ‘hawking’ for trade is paying off

Malcolm Gibson with his birds, Taze, the Harris Hawk and Falcon Caleigh
Malcolm Gibson with his birds, Taze, the Harris Hawk and Falcon Caleigh

Losing his mother to cancer made Malcolm Gibson realise life is short, so he decided the time was right to launch his own company – Add Hawk.

Using redundancy money saved for three years, the former recruitment consultant set up the avian pest control business as a way to indulge his passion for birds of prey and provide a much needed service to local businesses.

Even before launching, Malcolm, who received assistance from Business Gateway Scottish Borders, had secured his first client – Drysdales of Cockburnspath.

Malcolm, from Coldingham, said: “When my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer I took the decision to leave full time employment to care for her. During that time I started to volunteer at a bird of prey centre to get hands on experience. My mum sadly passed away last year and I realised I didn’t want to wake up one day and say ‘what if’.

“I’ve loved birds of prey ever since I was little and the idea of the business had been bubbling away since someone gave me a gift of flying a falcon some years ago. Using the redundancy money I’d been given in 2010 I bought the equipment I needed to get started, including my falcon, Caleigh, who I trained.

“Through the Job Centre’s New Enterprise Allowance Scheme I was given access to a Business Gateway adviser whose support has been very useful - and going forward the contacts and networking opportunities she’ll be able to highlight will help me promote my business further. Shortly after my business plan was approved I landed the work with Drysdales, who need to keep wood pigeons off their Brussels sprouts. The contract has given me real confidence in my decision to become my own boss.”

Lyn Galloway, Business Adviser atBusiness Gateway said: “Using birds of prey to scare off seagulls, pigeons, crows, magpies and starlings is extremely effective at locations where pest birds present a danger or hazard to public health, such as hospitals, landfill sites, agricultural land etc. Securing work before officially launching highlights that being the only business of its type based in the region is a huge selling point. Malcolm has extensive commercial knowledge, gained from his previous employment, so our role will be to help ensure that knowledge is kept up-to-date through one-to-one advice and our free seminars as well as providing him with excellent networking opportunities.”