The Business Women Scotland Awards were presented at a black tie ceremony at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow on Thursday 27th October, celebrating the success and entrepreneurial spirit of Scotland’s business women.
The Awards, run by Business Women Scotland magazine, had the support of the Federation of Small Businesses, and had received a geographical spread of entries from female led companies in a variety of different industries, showing that women are indeed helping boost Scotland’s economy.
The awards reflected success in different areas, looking at results so far, potential growth opportunities, innovative ideas and practices, staff and customer engagement, and leadership. Coming out on top were companies from Arbroath to Gourock, Paisley to Perth, working in industries including facilities management, environmentally friendly glazing, and software design.
The magazine were delighted to have the knowledge and expert advice of three successful women in picking the shortlist and judging the winners. Margaret Gibson, ex Chief Executive at Women’s Enterprise Scotland, helped pick the shortlist, and Marie Macklin CBE and Dr Lesley Sawers picked the winners. Marie is Executive Chairwoman of Macklin Enterprise Partnerships, and Lesley is Equalities and Human Rights Commissioner for Scotland.
Marie Macklin said: “It was a tough task picking winners as there were some great success stories, both from new and established companies. It was brilliant to see women leading companies in some not-so-glamorous industries, and being innovative, designing new products and taking them to market. As well as helping Scotland by providing jobs locally, many of these growing companies are exporting, and have great prospects.”
Lynne Kennedy, BWS magazine’s managing editor said: “I love to see the different businesses that women start and to follow how they grow them into successful companies. Women are starting to believe that they can follow whatever dream they want in business, and we should continue to push them to do that. Our Awards help them shout about their success, and reward them for their hard work.”
BUSINESS WOMEN SCOTLAND AWARDS 2016 – WINNERS
NEW ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR – Victoria Hamilton, Recoil Kneepads (Gourock)
The next generation in knee protection for those in the manual trades industry or with an interest in the DIY market. Innovation to create a niche product, with a distribution agreement in place and interest from large retailers, made in Scotland. (Award for those trading up to 18 months)
NEW BUSINESS OF THE YEAR – Tanya Ewing, Glaze & Save (Perth)
Polycarbonate and magnet secondary glazing which turns your single glaze windows into double glazing without replacement or redecoration. New product successfully brought to market, doing well through a business to business model, now ready for growth through franchising, great with waste and energy efficiency. (Award for those from 18 months to 3 years old)
SME OF THE YEAR – Sara Speirs, Spectrum Service Solutions (Paisley)
A contract cleaning and facilities management company, providing services to a wide range of sectors in Scotland. Great business with continued growth through diversification and excellent customer service, with good staff development and motivation. (over 3 years old)
EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR – Theresa Wishart, Journeycall (Arbroath)
A transport centric contact centre providing world class customer service from highly motivated staff, to large clients including Transport For London. Considered a longterm employer by staff, with a great retention rate, where staff development is key.
INTERNATIONAL GROWTH OF THE YEAR – Leah Hutcheon, Appointedd (Edinburgh)
An online booking and business management software which enables businesses to take any type of booking, on any platform, in any time zone. Several international distribution partnerships mean the product will be used in over 50 countries by hundreds of thousands of customers, with continued positive growth prospects.
BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA – Kate Davies, Kate Davies Designs (Blanefield)
For a campaign centred around the launch of Kate’s brand new handknitting yarn, Buachaille, launched via the Seven Skeins Club. Sold to customers worldwide, with creative content sent to club members, allowing her to build and maintain a loyal global customer base for the product going forward.
MENTOR OF THE YEAR – Lesley Thomson, Spreng Thomson (Glasgow)
Goes above and beyond to mentor a number of people, outwith her day job. Nominated by Orwell & Goode who she helped communicate better, make plans for the future, rebrand, and grow into new areas.
INSPIRATIONAL WOMAN OF THE YEAR – Justine Mitchell, co-owner of Dundee United FC and Chamomile Sanctuary (Edinburgh)
Chosen by Business Women Scotland Magazine, for someone whose story has inspired them. Justine lost her husband and father within days of each other back in 2008, and has found the strength to make a successful life for herself and her son. She created her own spa in Edinburgh which is thriving, and is a big supporter of women’s and community football. She started the Dundee United’s women team and is Joint Chair of the Scottish Women’s Football Board. Inspiring us all to survive through tragedy, to push forward in male dominated industries, and to create businesses that we love.
STV newsreader Rachel McTavish was the MC for the awards, with TV presenter turned entrepreneur Carol Smillie as guest speaker talking about her journey with her own company Diary Doll. There was a raffle for the magazine’s charity partner Maggie’s Centres.