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Highland Business Women Awards will inspire Highland youngsters

By Calum MacLeod

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Last year's business woman of the year winner Clare Humphreys of Will to Win. Picture:Alison White.
Last year's business woman of the year winner Clare Humphreys of Will to Win. Picture:Alison White.

AFTER the most challenging of years, resilience is a quality that the majority of businesses in the Highlands and beyond have had to develop.

It is a quality which is also being recognised by Highland Business Women (HBW) in the group’s 2021 awards next month.

Having to develop resilience and innovation itself in the face of the restrictions and other interruptions to normal life resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s HBW Awards will see the addition of a special business resilience award.

This is aimed at businesses who have demonstrated a particularly impressive response to the pandemic.

Judges will not only be looking for evidence of resilience over these last few months, but also at leadership and communication skills and how the business has adapted or diversified.

The award is supported by Developing the Young Workforce Inverness and Central Highland (DYWICH).

DYWICH interim programme manager Sandra McCaughey said: “Hosted by Inverness Chamber of Commerce, our focus at DYW is on creating stronger links between business and education to provide opportunities for young people to be better prepared for the world of work and the last year has been a challenging time for our young people and for businesses.

“We have been inspired by the resilience both young people and businesses have demonstrated as they navigate through the impacts of lockdown.

“For those young people who have struggled most we hope that by sponsoring this award we will highlight the role of resilience in getting through challenging times, and that this will help to inspire them to value and look after their mental and physical wellbeing which are key to resilience.

“DYWICH is expanding its scope of work with DYW coordinators now in every secondary school within the area and this will enable us to support more young people to be better prepared for the world of work.

“If you are a business who would like to become involved in helping our young people to be better prepared for the world of work, please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you.”

Ability to cope with the Covid crisis is also likely to be a factor in deciding one of the most anticipated awards of the evening, business woman of the year, which is sponsored by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

This will be presented to the female business leader who best demonstrates such qualities as drive, determination and entrepreneurship, effective leadership and team work, and of course, business success.

Anne Ross, senior development manager at HIE, said: “We are delighted to sponsor the business woman of the year category.

“The region is home to many ambitious, talented, influential and hard-working women, many who have been adversely affected by the pandemic and have worked creatively to find new ways of trading, particularly online.

“The category not only celebrate success, but also identifies a role model to inspire and motivate other women in the Highlands.”

The 2021 HBW Awards will be held online on Thursday, August 26, and potential winners have just until Friday, August 6, to get their applications in.

For more information, visit https://hbw.scot/awards or the HBW Facebook page.

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