Alumni Profiles

Isla Leslie

United Kingdom

Isla Leslie joined our Alumni Network in 2018

60-Second Interview

What three words would you use to describe your Company Programme experience?
Hectic, Stimulating, Rewarding
In more detail, tell us about your journey.
I was the Managing Director of Estrela. We created hand crafted, portable, LED lamps inspired by the history, culture and scenery of our home in Orkney. Our product quickly became extremely successful and we were faced with large amounts of orders right from release day.

Personally, I learned how to control and navigate a team. I was able to identify strengths within my team as well as in myself so as we were could produce, market and sell our lamps as effectively as possible. At times, we felt that we would never reach the demand but as a team we pulled through, working long hours.

The support for our lamps was very strong not only in our small community in Orkney but all over the world as well. Our lamps have found homes in the far corners of the world which is something we never imagined for our small business.

All the hard work really paid off and we were crowned Company of the Year at the 2018 Young Enterprise Finals and went on to represent Scotland at the UK finals.
How do you feel the Company Programme helped you prepare for life after school?
The whole experience of the company programme has helped me in many ways. Time management being a big one. I never expected the project to take up so much of my time and I had to balance it with my school subjects as well.

It was more than possible, it just meant I had to be efficient, avoid procrastination and at times, consider what my priorities were. The programme boosted my confidence considerably as well. Throughout my time with Estrela, I was constantly promoting the business and dealing with the public one-to-one. I think as a team, we could really fault ourselves on underestimating how successful the product could become in the early stages.

We all learnt to believe in ourselves and our business and how to project this to others.
What has your journey been like post-school?
Being able to say I was Managing Director of our company undoubtedly boosted my personal statement for university considerably and I was lucky enough to receive three unconditional offers to my chosen course. For me, the journey still hasn’t come to an end.

Myself and four other members of Estrela travelled to London to represent Scotland in the UK Young Enterprise Finals earlier this year, after we had left school. We were also recently invited to the Scottish Parliament’s Business in Parliament Conference where we presented our company story to an audience - including MSPs, Ministers, and the First Minister - in the Parliament chamber.

On the day, myself and another member of the team sat on a panel with Nicola Sturgeon where she asked us questions about our experience and we discussed the benefits of business experience in young people. In addition, I was also named as Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Summit Awards ’Young Entrepreneur of the Year’.
What advice would you give to anyone setting out on this journey?
When setting up a business, you need to believe in and be passionate about your own company and product. A large proportion of our success was down to the pride we took in our product. This was reflected in the high quality of our handcrafted lamps which was what our customers really bought into. Throughout the journey, I ran our three social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – and always made sure they were updated so as our customers knew what we were doing. This constant presence secured an engaged customer base and was the real key to our support and success

Alumni Network Newsletter

Sign up to our Alumni Network Newsletter to receive regular updates linking you to the latest information added to this section of the Young Enterprise Scotland website.


Your information will only be used by Young Enterprise Scotland to send you Alumni Network updates. Young Enterprise Scotland will not share this information with any other organisation or use it for any other purpose. You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time, by clicking on the unsubscribe link included in every message we send you.

  • Investor In People
  • Cyber Essentials
  • Big Lottery Fund
  • Voluntary Code of Practice for Social Enterprise in Scotland
  • Investors In Young People
  • Family Friendly Working Scotland
  • Disability Confident
  • Living Wage Employer
  • Good Fundraising

About YES

Our Vision is for Scotland to be a place where all young people are given the opportunity to have a rewarding future in work and life - no matter where they start
their journey.

Our Mission is to inspire & equip all young people to learn, develop and reach their full potential through enterprise.

In everything that we do, we will work with the following values: Integrity, Enthusiasm, Creativity & Collaboration.

Contact Us

Young Enterprise Scotland
Rouken Glen Centre
Rouken Glen Park
G46 7UG
United Kingdom

+44 (0)141 406 7722
0141 406 7722

Where to Find Us