Highlands leads the way at the Highlands & Islands Finance Awards 2019

The Highland Council is delighted that, at the Highlands & Islands Finance awards event held in Inverness on 26th April, of the 19 finalists 15 were from the Highlands.  Of these finalists four which have had support from the Highland Council Growth fund (Highland Opportunity (Investments) and Business Gateway Highland received category nomination and awards.  A further six had been supported in one form or another by the Business Gateway service giving confidence that we are doing the right thing in Highland!

Seaforth Saddlers Ltd, Inverness won the award of Best Purchase Finance Deal award. After receiving their  award Jason Thomas and Jacqueline Wilson  said: “This award is the icing on the cake for the hours and many discussions which led to the success with our customers noting the improvements and enhanced range now stocked.  From first contact with Robin, Investment Manager at HO(I)L who introduced us to Murray from DSL Ltd their enthusiasm and support were always there.  This did not even ebb when there had been last minute changes to funding and they helped us conclude the purchase continuing to liaise and counsel us to this day.”

Bad Girl Bakery Ltd in Muir of Ord continues to see success with their nomination as Best Food and Drink Deal award.  Owners Douglas and Jeni Hardie said: “We are delighted with the support from the Council through the Highland Opportunity (Investment) Ltd fund and Business Gateway Highland who helped us at every stage of our growth, with funding, advice and market intelligence.”

The Durness Bus Company Ltd (TDB) in Sutherland was commended in the Best Start-Up Finance Deal receiving positive comments from the judging panel.  Neil and Sarah Fuller of TDB stated that “accessing finance was made easy by the Investment Manager of Highland Council working with us to support our funding solution.  We have started well and have ambitious plans for development over the coming years.  It was great to see HO(I)L Board agree to support us as part of our innovative package as well as giving credit to Nick, the previous owner, for support and help during the transition.”

Visit Inverness and Loch Ness Ltd took top prize in the Best Social Enterprise Finance category.  Graeme Ambrose, Chief Executive said: “HO(I)L has been instrumental in helping us towards success and complete the new route around Loch Ness.  The confidence of members due to its completion is reflected in the vote to continue VILN as the local Business Improvement District.  We look forward to continuing to work with our partners, including The Highland Council, in achieving our ambitious strategy.”

A range of companies on the nomination shortlist were supported by Business Gateway and the Investment Manager from Highland Council in seeking to access finance.  They all have placed an emphasis on the importance of impartial advice, support and guidance for businesses at all stages of their development.  Highland Opportunity (Investments) Ltd practice of working in partnership with traditional and non-traditional sources of finance is in the best interests of all businesses and was regularly commented upon positively by the judges.

Councillor Helen Carmichael, Provost of Inverness and Chair of Highland Opportunity (Investments) Ltd said: “I would congratulate all nominees and winners and the Council  is pleased with the ongoing success of local businesses in the awards which recognise achievement and the increasing number of innovative and growing businesses in the Highlands.  It is pleasing that our support both of finance but also in advice and guidance helps to sustain and grow the economy and businesses with these awards recognising that the most important factor is the people and not just funding. 

“I would give credit to Close Brothers, SPP and Munro & Noble as sponsors for the innovation and organisation.  The Highland Council looks forward to continuing to work with our partners over the years to come.”

The Highland Council Investment Fund is keen to support businesses and communities throughout the Highlands with the Investment Manager always remaining impartial and, seeking to ensure that the right package to support a development project is established.  First port of call is normally the Business Gateway service in Highlands which has a team located throughout the region.  Information is contained on the main gateway portal for an organisation’s local contact – www.bgateway.com/highland.



29 Apr 2019