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Business Gateway Highland and Moray counts down to the 2021 SHIREs Awards

By Calum MacLeod

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Business Gateway's Danny Gallagher (left) at the 2019 SHIRE's (Scottish Highlands & Island's Rural Economy) Awards with Calum Macleod from law firm Harper Macleod.
Business Gateway's Danny Gallagher (left) at the 2019 SHIRE's (Scottish Highlands & Island's Rural Economy) Awards with Calum Macleod from law firm Harper Macleod.

Bringing energy and new ideas, entrepreneurs are vital to the continued success of any economy.

Those innovators may be even more important now as the local, national and world economies rebuild after the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Equally, those entrepreneurial skills have a key role to play in rural areas, creating jobs and opportunities where few others might exist, or providing goods and services which might be commonplace in larger towns and cities, but are all too rare in those places where the population is more scattered.

It is these enterprising figures which the rural entrepreneur award seeks to celebrates at the 2021 Scottish Highlands and Islands Rural Economy Awards – the SHIRES – which will be held virtually on Thursday, November 18.

The SHIREs Awards, which follow the companion online SHIREs Conference earlier in the day, will celebrate the achievements of individuals, businesses and other organisations from Argyll to Shetland and from the Western Isles to Aberdeenshire.

There are 10 categories in the awards, which are organised by national law firm Harper Macleod and north multimedia group Highland News & Media, including the rural entrepreneur award.

This will be presented to a business owner who has set up or established a business that has already shown success, but is also looking ahead with a clear strategy for sustainable growth.

For many new enterprises across the north of Scotland, Business Gateway has been instrumental to their success by offering free support and advice as they start out, and continuing that relationship as they move on with their business journey.

Fittingly, the rural entrepreneur award will be sponsored by Business Gateway’s DigitalBoost programme which provides expert help to enable businesses make the most from their digital assets and opportunities.

Business Gateway Highland manager Danny Gallagher said: “The Highlands continues with a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit, despite the pandemic challenges. Many of our new rural businesses are now powered in some shape or form by digital platforms and processes, this goes hand in hand with our rural entrepreneurs.

“Business Gateway’s DigitalBoost is therefore delighted to be sponsoring the Rural Entrepreneurs Award.

“As Scotland’s national business support service, Business Gateway plays a crucial role in driving growth, skills, regeneration, and employment across the Highlands.”

Over the last year, the Business Gateway Highland service has supported more than 2000 businesses, helping them to diversify, work differently, operate digitally, and access grants which have enabled their continued survival, as well as offer webinars and other online advice and support.

“Our website bgateway.com provides useful advice, supporting all Highland businesses to thrive,” Mr Gallagher added.

“Central to helping our customers succeed is our ability to listen to what businesses need, find the pieces they are missing, deliver the right support and make the right connections.”

To find out more about the entry criteria for the rural entrepreneur award and the other SHIREs categories visit www.hnmedia.co.uk/the-shires-conference-awards

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