Highland Business Awards set to become north's first hybrid awards ceremony
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After a long gap in the north business community's social calendar, Inverness Chamber of Commerce is at last providing a reason to get the dinner suit out of mothballs and the party frock out of storage with the return of the Highland Business Awards.
The awards will return to Drumossie Hotel in Inverness on Thursday, November 25, but although it is a familiar venue, there will be a number of changes for the 2021 awards ceremony – the first since 2019.
Capacity will be reduced to minimise the risk of infection, but to compensate, the awards will be also be available to view online.
Inverness Chamber deputy chief executive Paula Nicol believes the hybrid approach also brings a number of advantages.
"Numbers will be more limited, but we are also planning a fantastic online event so there will be plenty of opportunities for people to see the awards ceremony," she said.
"We also think it will give us more scope in terms of engaging with other Chambers around the Highlands. Normally they would travel to the Drumossie, but they will be able to do things a little differently this year and even if people are joining virtually, it will be a really good production and very enjoyable.
"It will be a first for us and I think the first for any awards in the Highlands, being done in this hybrid way. This could be the shape of things to come."
It is not just the awards ceremony which is seeing changes. The award categories for this year are also being amended in recognition of the challenges businesses have faced over the last 18 months and the flexibility and adaptability they have shown to not only survive, but to seize new opportunities.
"It's very much about recognising where we are now," Mrs Nicol said.
"It's an opportunity to recognise what a fantastic business community we have in the Highlands and the great work that is being done.
"We have also changed the nomination process. It is a very straightforward process to enable businesses and individuals to enter the awards."
There are nine award categories and are open to businesses based anywhere in the region. There is no requirement for businesses to be members of Inverness Chamber or any of the other Chambers of Commerce within Highland.
The nine categories covered are: innovation; resilience; environment sustainability; digital transformation; employee wellbeing; workforce upskilling; employer of the year; young employee of the year; and best local hero.
Nominations are open until 5pm on Friday, October 29, 2021.
Nomination forms can be downloaded at the Inverness Chamber of Commerce website, here.