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Varied Highland Business Women Award entries 'very positive'

By Calum MacLeod

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The Highland Business Women Awards may be virtual this year, but organisers hope the party atmosphere will be retained.
The Highland Business Women Awards may be virtual this year, but organisers hope the party atmosphere will be retained.

HIGHLAND Business Women president Màiri Macdonald is delighted with the response to the networking organisation’s annual awards.

A late flurry of entries just ahead of last weekend’s deadline may have given the judging panel a harder job, but the number and quality of entries has been welcomed as a sign of the region’s positive response to the challenges of the last year and a half.

“The response was very encouraging, and the two new categories we introduced in response to the Covid crisis, business resilience and digital innovation, have had some really, really strong entries,” Màiri said.

“That is exactly what we wanted to see because there has been so much innovation and a lot of strong community spirit from the business world over the last 18 months. It is good to see that reflected in the entries that we have received.”

Another positive was in the number of entries from across the region.

“The entries are also really varied as far as geographical location, which is also very positive, so the awards are not quite as Inverness-centric as they have been in previous years,” Màiri added.

“That is a reflection of Highland Business Women’s activities over the last year as well. Hosting our meetings and events online has really opened things up to people from across the area.”

There is also a welcome variety in the size and scope of businesses entering this year’s awards, with a broad range of sectors and businesses ranging from sole traders to well established major firms.

Màiri added that she was also pleased to see firms putting themselves forward for a number of categories.

“That really shows the diversity of achievement from our local businesses,” she said.

While the deadline for entries has passed, booking has now opened to be a part of the virtual audience for the awards, which will take place online on Thursday, August 26.

Hosted by journalist and broadcaster Nicky Marr, the event will make for the absence of HBW’s in-person events with the chance to socialise via Zoom both before and after the awards ceremony itself, with a virtual drinks reception beginning at 7pm before official business commences half an hour later, followed at 9pm with a chance to toast the winners or commiserate the runners-up at the after party at 9pm.

HBW view this as a great opportunity to get together and reflect on the achievements of business women across the Highlands over the last year, and dressing up is strongly encouraged – as glitzy as you like.

And with social distancing regulations and limits on indoor groups easing, the hope is that members will join together to watch the event in groups and have an awards party of their own.

To book a virtual ticket, visit the HBW website, www.hbw.scot, follow its social media channels, or email HBW at info@hbw.scot

Places are free, but Highland Business Women request a donation to this year’s chosen HBW charity, Mikeysline, whose work on mental advocacy and support will be highlighted during the awards.

Màiri added: “We look forward to seeing you all on screen on the 26th and we can’t wait to celebrate the achievements of our finalists and winners on the evening.”

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