A businesswoman who overcame stereotyping has been named Forth Valley Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
Shrewd Miriam Wolanski founded Wolanski’s Pole Fitness five years ago after attending classes while studying at Stirling University. She astutely recognised a gap in the market for quality, and fun, instruction in the Central Scotland area and her business idea began to flourish.
Within a few years, and with support from Youth Business Scotland, the business has grown into multiple classes in two venues in Stirling and her home town Grangemouth in Earls Gate Park.
Her business nous saw her just pip David Richardson (24), founder of Richardson Property Management in Shieldhill, who was runner-up at the Prince’s Trust awards ceremony in Callendar House.
Her innovative ways to market the business was seen as one of her great strengths by Tuesday night’s esteemed judges.
The entrepreneur is now running her third annual pole show and she represented Scotland in the first Pole World Cup in South America last year. She has plans for a 24-hour pole acrobatics display which she hopes will make the Guinness Book of World Records and has even invented her own fitness moves which have made it into the Pole Dictionary.
She is also studying acrobatic techniques used by members of the Chinese Circus in a bid to introduce new techniques.
The delighted 26-year-old, who graduated from Stirling University with a 2:1 honours degree in biology, said: “I’m very happy because people are either for or against the pole fitness industry, but there is a big difference between pole fitness and dancing.
“We do absolutely no dancing, no choreography and there’s no heels involved. The pole is basically used as a piece of gym equipment. Some people think it’s something it’s not.”
She added: “This award is a great honour for me and I want to keep pushing for innovative ways to keep pole fitness fresh and different for people.
“When I first went along I was looking for a different way to keep fit. Everyone knows how to run but you get bored doing that. I’m really looking forward to the Guinness Book of World Records, which we’re planning to hold at Stirling University.”
Miriam won £1000 and she will now be considered for entry as one of the country’s top six in the national final in November.
Youth Business Scotland regional manager Alison Gee said: “These young entrepreneurs represent some of the most talented, creative and dedicated business people in Scotland today and we’re delighted to recognise and reward their achievements through these awards.”