Awards Categories

We have 10 awards categories to choose from. Why wait enter now!

Rural Covid Resilience Award

To recognise the diversifications and adaptations made by businesses during Covid-19


We are looking for a business or enterprise which has responded to the pandemic as positively as possible under the circumstances, allowing it to survive and thrive in what has been such a difficult and challenging time.

The winner will have demonstrated a level of adaptability in its business model, evolving to meet the unique circumstances and dealing with the impact of Covid-19. It may have been through developing new ways of working and business streams, adopting new technology, being efficient with resources, or simply through sheer willpower and motivation from your people.

We know that the response to the pandemic from rural businesses, under such difficult conditions, has been incredible and we want to hear your stories.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this business is deserving of the award, such as details of the diversifications and adaptations made and evidence of how this has been successful such as: testimonials etc.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as jobs; financial performance; and contribution to the local economy and community during the pandemic.

Sponsored by

HIE

Rural Taste Award

Food & Drink Business of the Year


We are looking for a brand, business or Food & Drink related project that has demonstrated the very best of what the Highlands and Islands has to offer in the sector. From large-scale manufacturers to artisans and those who create products unique to the region, and from small, local operators to those taking their product to the rest of the world, this category is open to a wide range of businesses.

The winner will have demonstrated that they know their unique selling point and the market or markets in which they are operating. They will have a vision of where they want the business to be in the years ahead – whether that vision is global or to be a sustainable part of the local community. They will also, of course, have a fantastic product which highlights why the Highlands and Islands are the go-to place for Food & Drink.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this business is deserving of the award, such as a business plan or growth strategy, and understanding of the market opportunity which has been identified and evidence of how this has been successful such as: testimonials etc.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as job creation; financial performance; and benefit to the local economy.

Sponsored by

Rural Entrepreneur Award

Entrepreneur of Start-up Business of the Year


We are looking for the visionaries and entrepreneurs who are changing the game in the Highlands and Islands rural economy with their new and growing businesses, and helping to drive the recovery of our economy. These are the businesses or enterprises that have taken inspiration from what has gone before or have spotted a whole new opportunity and blazed a trail of their own, in turn inspiring the next generation of businesses.

The winner, who may come from any sector of our rural economy, will have set up or established a business that has already shown success and has a clear strategy for sustainable growth, with the ability to scale-up the operation.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this business is deserving of the award, such as a business plan or growth strategy, and understanding of the market opportunity which has been identified and an entrepreneurial or innovative vision.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as job creation; financial performance; potential market size; and benefit to the local economy.

Sponsored by

Business Gateway Business Boost

Rural Natural Capital Award

Decarbonisation / Nature Based Solution Project or Business of the Year

We are looking for a business or project which is making a substantial contribution to preserving and enhancing Scotland’s Natural Capital. The Highlands & Islands in particular has much of our natural resource which needs to be preserved & enhanced as we journey towards net zero carbon emissions targets. We also need to reverse any reduction in our biodiversity and support our natural ecosystems.

The winner could be a business or project of any size. Projects could include investing in peatland restoration, creating a circular economy within communities, innovation in recycling, investing in new greener production processes or becoming a net zero organisation.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this business is deserving of the award, such as a business or project plan with measurable outcomes and evidence of how this has been successful such as: testimonials etc.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including the impact that has been made in relation to biodiversity/decarbonisation, or the future potential for this impact.

Sponsored by

Harper Macleod

Rural Blue Award

'Blue Economy' Enterprise of the Year


The 'Blue Economy' is all activity related to our oceans, seas, waterways and coasts – of which the Highlands and Islands is blessed with far more than most with over two third of the UK coastline. Our Blue Economy plays a central role in terms of food, energy and health. From aquaculture to tourism, and from ports and harbours to energy – and the supply chain for all these and more – the blue economy is a major part of the Highlands and Islands' rural economy. We are looking for a business or enterprise which has grasped the opportunities presented by our location and is making waves in their chosen sector or industry – a champion of the modern Blue Economy and the potential it has for the Highlands and Islands.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this business is deserving of the award, such as a business plan or growth strategy, and understanding of the market opportunity which has been identified and evidence of how this has been successful, including environmental impact or benefit.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as job creation; financial performance; potential market size; and benefit to the local economy.

Sponsored by

Port of Cromarty Firth

Rural Creative Award

Arts, Crafts, Textiles or Creative Business of the Year


We are looking for a business or enterprise which has creativity at its heart. The Highlands and Islands are world renowned for our creative industries, and we are looking for a business, traditional or modern, which has its roots in our rural communities and has turned that into a success and sustainable concern. There is no limit to the inspiration, imagination and talent involved, however we want to find a winner which has allied this to creating a quality product or service which is thriving in the modern rural economy. From clothing to artwork and much more, this award is open to those who inspire through their work.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this business is deserving of the award, such as a business plan or growth strategy, and understanding of the market opportunity which has been identified and the unique selling point of the business or enterprise.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as job creation; financial performance; potential market size; and benefit to the local economy.

Sponsored by

ScotRail

Rural Digitisation Award

Digital Business or Project of the Year


We are looking for a business or project which is ahead of the game in an area where investment in the region's digital infrastructure is changing the way we can develop and deliver new products and services.

Digital innovation has played an even more important role in the modern rural economy during the pandemic when movement has been restricted. We are looking for the businesses which are either using the latest technology to facilitate markets, or are themselves delivering a digital product which makes a virtue of connectivity to open up whole new markets which in the past could not have been accessed from a rural location. The winner will be a business or project at the cutting edge, capitalising on new opportunities to the best effect.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this business is deserving of the award, such as a business plan or growth strategy, and understanding of the market opportunity which has been identified and evidence of how this has been successful such as: testimonials etc.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as job creation; financial performance; potential market size; and benefit to the local economy.

Sponsored by

OpenReach

Rural Charity Award

Charity of the Year


We are looking for a charity or community enterprise which embodies the important social and economic role that is played by such organisations and projects. These types of enterprises combine passion and social purpose to make a difference across the Highlands and Islands, particularly when times are tough, and in turn play a huge part in the success and sustainability of the wider rural economy.

The winner will have identified a need in a community or particular area and has provided a solution which has a positive impact – be that undertaking a particular project or delivering an essential service. From social enterprises to charities and other models, we know there are hundreds of projects out there and we want to celebrate them. From culture to business, from services to experiences, the winner can come in any shape or form.


  • Please provide evidence which shows why this entry is deserving of the award, including evidence of how it has been successful such as: testimonials etc.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as inclusiveness, opportunity created and benefit to local communities.

Sponsored by

Tulloch Homes

Rural Community Award

Community Development & Empowerment Project of the Year


We are looking for a community development project that has had an empowering effect, playing a crucial role in helping to energise and grow its community. Successful community group projects (be it landownership, a business, energy development or any other project) can make a significant contribution to local employment and the wider local economy, spreading wealth and confidence through the community and its supply chain.

The winner will be a project which does all of the above, and which has generated excitement, enthusiasm and positive outcomes, empowering its community to take control of its own future in some regard.


  • Please provide evidence which shows why this entry is deserving of the award, including details of the project and evidence of how it has been successful such as: testimonials etc.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as opportunity created and benefit to the local community.

Sponsored by

Cairngorms National Park

Rural Star Award

The judges selection


No criteria, no entries. As our categories are so diverse, and almost impossible to measure against one another, the judges will choose one to receive a special award.

It is possible that they may not have won the category in which they entered, but there is a certain element in their submission which the judges believe merits special attention..

Sponsored by

Harper Macleod

Entries are OPEN!

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