Deputy First Minister celebrates Scottish successes at SCDI Highlands & Islands Business Excellence Awards

Business leaders from across Scotland gathered in Inverness on the eve of Friday 8 September 2017 to celebrate success at the annual SCDI Highlands & Islands Business Excellence Awards, presented by Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP.

The Awards showcased the achievements of organisations from across the Highlands and Islands and celebrated business excellence in a range of sectors - from local authorities initiatives and fish farming, to marine energy and transport - demonstrating the diverse nature of the Highlands and Islands economy.

Delivered by SCDI, the Awards are supported by high profile sponsors - including SEPA, Crown Estate Scotland, Liberty British Aluminium, HIE Scotland and Benromach - and are rigorously judged, providing the opportunity for organisations to be recognised for their businesses achievements.

Awards host and popular comedian, Marcus Brigstocke, was joined by Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP who presented the Awards.

Mr Swinney had earlier in the evening delivered the Keynote Address, focussing on the themes of an inclusive economy in Scotland for all geographies and society, and the importance of business internationalisation. He commended SCDI's ability since it's foundation in 1931 to bring together disparate opinions in the pursuit of finding a common cause, through open and honest conversation and collaboration. The 350 dinner guests heard of The Scottish Government's aim to make Scotland an inclusive, fair, prosperous and innovative country.

Amongst the Winners on the evening was Loch Ness by Jacobite. The company picked up the prestigious SCDI Highlands & Islands Chair's Award for Outstanding Business Achievement. Loch Ness by Jacobite was recognised for its remarkable reputation, gained over the past 40 years, in helping thousands of visitors access and experience the magic of Loch Ness. Under the leadership of Freda Newton the company has grown its fleet and is one of Scotland's finest tourist attractions. 

 SCDI HI Awds 17 - Chair Awd for Outstanding Biz Achieve - Loch Ness by Jacobite - PJ snip

The SCDI Highlands and Islands Business Excellence Awards 2017 winners were:

Benromach Award for Excellence in International Business - Marine Harvest (Scotland) Ltd

Crown Estate Scotland Award for Excellence in a Marine Business - Calmac Ferries Ltd

Highlands and Islands Enterprise Award for Excellence in Research & Innovation - MIME Technologies Ltd

Liberty British Aluminium Award for Outstanding Business Ambassador - Aquatera Ltd

Scottish Environment Protection Agency Award for Excellence in Environmental Sustainability - Carbon CLEVER

SCDI Award for Excellence in People Development - Aquascot Ltd

SCDI Highlands & Islands Chair's Award for Outstanding Business Achievement - Loch Ness by Jacobite

Also recognised on the evening were the SCDI Highlands & Islands Young Engineers & Science Club of the Year - Forres Academy, from Moray, who were awarded a trophy for their excellent STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) projects. Working with industry partners, YESC engages with more than 1500 school clubs and over 30,000 primary and secondary school pupils across all Scotland's 32 local authority areas.

Jane Cumming, SCDI Highlands & Islands Chair, commented: "The Highlands and Islands is home to a diverse, strong and vibrant economy which has grown into a regional powerhouse - breaking boundaries, setting standards and demonstrating true leadership in many sectors.

"The SCDI Awards recognise businesses for their significant strengths and successes. We commend all of the award winners on their continued investment and growth in the region and the vital contributions that their companies make towards our country's sustainable economic growth.

"SCDI has launched its call for the for the formation of an inclusive and dynamic Rural Commission, which can draw together relevant interests to face up to the challenges of infrastructure, connectivity and demography - supporting the businesses in attendance tonight and creating a vision for inclusive growth in rural Scotland.

"The businesses recognised at the SCDI awards are a fantastic example of Scotland's economic strengths. SCDI looks forward to continuing its work with government to ensure that we are best placed to deliver an economy that drives inclusive growth for every part of Scotland - growth that works for business and for wider society."