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ICYMI: Awards show north business still thriving – PICTURES

By Calum MacLeod

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WINNERS at the 2019 Highland Business Awards illustrate the health of the region’s business sector, the awards ceremony heard.

At the annual event, which marked the end of this year’s Highland Business Week, awards host Nicky Marr described the awards as a snapshot of how robust the Highland business economy is – with more than 100 entries received this year from a diverse range of businesses across the dozen categories.

She also told the more than 350 guests gathered in Inverness’s Drumossie Hotel for the awards ceremony that despite the uncertainties caused by Brexit, businesses in the region were still thriving.

“There are new start-ups popping up across all sectors. There are expansion plans afoot, new contracts being won and exporting successes,” she said.

“We in the Highlands are getting on with business.”

Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Highland Business Week organiser Inverness Chamber of Commerce, used his introductory speech to congratulate all the businesses and individuals who made the final shortlist.

“To be shortlisted in any of today’s categories is a remarkable and worthy achievement. That means that every winner is truly outstanding in their field,” he said.

Topping this year’s winning selection was Lochaber-based Ferguson Transport & Shipping, which was named overall Highland business of the year 2019, with managing director Alasdair Ferguson also picking up the business leader award.

The expanding Kingsmill Hotel Group, which had just received confirmation of five-star accreditation for its new Ness Walk Hotel, was named outstanding performing business (25+ employees).

Fellow Inverness firms D & E Coaches and Gael Force Group were also winners, picking up the best family business and newcomer to exporting awards respectively.

New talent was recognised with the award of the young apprentice of the year trophy to Holly Williams of the Lovat Loch Ness Hotel in Fort Augustus, while Nairn-based Farmer Jones Academy, which encourages young people to look at careers in the food and drink sector, was named social enterprise of the year.

Click here and search for Highland Business Awards to see many more pictures.

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