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Celebrating innovation and success at Highland Business Week 2024


By Features Reporter

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Highland Business Award finalists 2023.
Highland Business Award finalists 2023.

The premier week in the Highland business calendar will return this September and it’s not to be missed.

Organised by Inverness Chamber of Commerce, Highland Business Week 2024 is an opportunity to network, collaborate and celebrate whether you are a one-person entrepreneur or a global business.

Taking place from September 23-27 the highly regarded annual business festival also includes the popular Highland Spotlight and the annual Highland Business Awards.

Colin Marr, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, explains: “This is one of our flagship events and one that we’re proud of. The programme is anchored with our Highland Spotlight exhibition and Highland Business Awards while the week itself is an opportunity for our business community to contribute to our programme of events, workshops or masterclasses that inform and educate for the benefit of the wider region. I’m looking forward to seeing the Highland Business Week calendar develop in the lead up to September and sharing all the expertise and innovation that exists in the Scottish Highlands.”

Robert Ferguson and Peter Urry of R I Cruden.
Robert Ferguson and Peter Urry of R I Cruden.

Highland Spotlight is the region’s biggest business exhibition, providing organisations and companies the time and space to meet together in a collaborative setting. This year it will take place at The Drumossie Hotel on September 24.

Last year, the event showcased over 50 exhibitors with over 300 people in attendance. In 2023, a new ‘Rising Stars’ showcase was also held at the event. This placed young entrepreneurs at the heart of Highland Spotlight and it was such a success that they will form a key part of the exhibition again this year.

The event is an opportunity to forge lasting connections with people across the Highlands and learn more about the products and services available on our doorstep.

Speaking about Highland Spotlight, Paula Nicol, deputy chief executive and head of events, said: “There is nothing else like it in the Highlands. It’s a chance to come together, raise your profile amongst the business community, show everything your business has to offer or launch something new to a captive audience. Those that take stands each year get a lot out of it – very often inspiring new business opportunities and collaborations. It’s fantastic to see all the conversations taking place.

Duncan Morrison, Roehill Springs at last year's Highland Spotlight.
Duncan Morrison, Roehill Springs at last year's Highland Spotlight.

“Last year my highlight was Rising Stars. It was a fantastic opportunity for those up-and-coming businesses to get involved, have a presence alongside established businesses and meet with business leaders that could potentially open more doors for them.

“What’s been great is that they have continued to support and learn from each other in many respects, so we are looking forward to working with our Developing the Young Workforce colleagues to have more Rising Stars at Highland Spotlight 2024.”

She added: “The atmosphere at Highland Spotlight is always buzzing. We find the connections made at the event last long afterwards, often leading to business referrals, collaborations, and contract opportunities. It’s also designed to be an accessible and inclusive event where smaller businesses, that have a connection, can share a stand and the investment of having a presence at the exhibition.”

Sandie Gordon was part of the Rising Star exhibitors.
Sandie Gordon was part of the Rising Star exhibitors.

Highland Spotlight will also include events throughout the day such as business masterclasses and seminars.

Highland Business Week culminates with the Highland Business Awards which celebrate the diversity, innovation and resilience of organisations throughout the region with categories for all.

Large or small, well-established or just starting out, businesses are invited to nominate themselves or another organisation.

The winners will be announced at the Highland Business Awards lunch at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness on Friday, September 27. There are also sponsorship opportunities available.

Alongside returning categories such as Business Leader of the Year and Global Growth, this year sees a new a category in the running: Best Marketing Campaign.

Paula said: “It’s exciting having this new category setting out strategic marketing initiatives that support business success. We are looking for entries that have taken an innovative approach and can demonstrate real results.

”Like all the Highland Business Awards categories, any business large or small can get involved in this new award.”

She added: “Our past finalists and winners demonstrate that no matter their size or location, everyone has the potential to showcase success. So we really encourage businesses from across the Highlands to put themselves forward and celebrate with us.

“There are other ways to get involved with the Highland Business Awards too. The awards celebrate the strength and diversity of business in the Highlands and by sponsoring a category you can demonstrate your organisation’s affinity to these principles, while supporting the continued success of the Highland economy.

“We have a number of categories still available and would be delighted to hear from businesses who’d like to know more about the opportunities.”

For more information visit www.inverness-chamber.co.uk/events

To discuss sponsorship opportunities or running an event throughout Highland Business Week email events@inverness-chamber.co.uk

Highland Business Awards categories 2024

Highland Business Award for Innovation

A business that has implemented new ideas, products or processes which have contributed to its success, whether in terms of profitability, new customers and/or new markets. Organisations are invited to nominate themselves or they may nominate another business.

Highland Business Award for Resilience

A business that has adapted its operations to overcome a short-term difficulty or challenge, enabling it to deliver on its objectives and continue to prosper. Organisations are invited to nominate themselves or they may nominate another business.

Highland Business Award for Positive Environmental Impact

A business that takes responsible decisions to reduce its negative impact on the environment, actively promoting the benefits and bringing about efficiencies in its operations. Organisations are invited to nominate themselves or they may nominate another business.

Highland Business Award for Global Growth

A business that is achieving commercial success by developing its activity in overseas markets, whether for the first time or as part of ongoing international expansion plans. Organisations are invited to nominate themselves or they may nominate another business.

Highland Business Award for Digital Initiative

A business that has introduced new digital activity to drive growth in its operation and change how it delivers value to its customers. Organisations are invited to nominate themselves or they may nominate another business.

Highland Business Award for Best Marketing Campaign

A business that has engaged in standout marketing activity to support a clear business objective. Whether via social media, traditional platforms or an integrated campaign, entries must demonstrate creativity, alongside communications results and impact on the business such as increased sales, a drive in footfall, increased engagement or new business referrals. Organisations are invited to nominate themselves or they may nominate another business.

Highland Business Award for Community Engagement

A business that demonstrates ongoing commitment to and support for its local community through its activities, helping to improve the lives of others and making the community a better place in which to live. Organisations are invited to nominate themselves or they may nominate another business.

Highland Business Award for Employer of the Year

An organisation that demonstrates dedication to its workforce, by continually investing in upskilling and training and putting staff wellbeing at the heart of its activity, resulting in a collaborative and inclusive culture and a stimulating and supportive work environment. What makes your organisation great to work for? Employees are invited to nominate their employer for this award.

Highland Business Award for Young Employee of the Year

A young person who makes a positive impact in the workplace thanks to their dedication, talent and can-do attitude. Employers are invited to nominate a young member of their team up to the age of 24.

Highland Business Award for Business Leader of the Year

Someone with a track record of leading and inspiring others, who makes a difference to the Highland business economy through their commitment and passion for the area as well as the industry in which they operate. Nominate an individual who you consider embodies the spirit of this award.

• Plus one business selected from the category winners will also be announced overall Highland Business of the Year.


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