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Highland Business Women Awards issue application reminder to north firms

By Calum MacLeod

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HBW president Màiri Macdonald (third from left) hopes members will dress for the occasion.
HBW president Màiri Macdonald (third from left) hopes members will dress for the occasion.

WITH just over a month to go until the 2021 Highland Business Women Awards, planning is already well under way to ensure the online event is just as special and enjoyable as always – even if this time members have to join in from home.

HBW president Màiri Macdonald revealed that planning has begun in earnest for the awards night on Thursday, August 26.

Judges, including some new faces, have been picked to decide on this year’s winners, and the awards host, broadcaster, author and Highland News & Media columnist Nicky Marr, has already been in discussion about what format the event will take.

This is the second – and the board hope, the final – time that the awards will be online instead of in person, but Màiri does not believe the online format has dampened enthusiasm among members for the highpoint of the HBW calendar.

“I think people still enjoy a celebration and something that is a bit more fun,” she said.

“When we went online with the awards last year, we didn’t really have any choice because we were only 10 days away from the event when lockdown happened. This year we have had a lot more opportunity to plan ahead and want to make it as good as we possibly can.

“We are going to make it a very interactive event so the finalists and winners will have a chance to speak on Zoom, which they did not have an opportunity to do last year.”

Last year’s online event did at least present an opportunity to join fellow members before and after the event for virtual drinks and some networking.

This will again be a feature of the 2021 awards and with the easing of restrictions, Màiri hopes more members will be able to gather together to watch the awards and give it a bit more of a party atmosphere.

“If they are comfortable with that, it’s something we would very much encourage,” Màiri said.

“Get dressed up, get together if you can and make the best of it under the circumstances.”

The online event is free, but donations are encouraged in support of this year’s chosen charity, Mikeysline, and the awards will also include a special focus on the Inverness-based mental health support charity and its work.

As the awards evening approaches, Màiri is also urging businesses and individuals to get their entries in for this year’s categories and not get caught out by the closing date of August 6.

There are 10 categories in this year’s awards, but the HBW would especially like to see a strong response to its new awards for digital innovation and business resilience.

These categories were introduced in response to the coronavirus crisis in recognition of the particular circumstances businesses have faced since March 2020.

“We are at a stage now where things are opening up,” Màiri said.

“Now that restrictions have eased a bit, it seemed right to recognise the challenge that businesses have faced over the last year and how they have stepped up to deal with them.”

For further information about how to enter the awards and entry criteria for each of the categories, visit www.hbw.scot/awards or the HBW Facebook page.

The final deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday, August 6.

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