Article Date: 22 March 2011
Businesses and community leaders came together for the Scottish Borders Business Excellence Awards presentations at the Scottish Borders Campus in Galashiels on Friday, 18 March.
Introduced by Councillor Alasdair Hutton, Convenor of Scottish Borders Council, the Awards were open to Borders business of all sizes. Cllr. Hutton highlighted the strength and resilience of Borders businesses, and added “As we all know, the economic outlook remains challenging, but for some this represents an opportunity. Here in the Borders we have growing businesses, and dedicated, imaginative individuals whose dynamism has positioned the Borders well to get through these tough economic times.”
The high quality of applications from businesses meant the judges of the seven awards categories were faced with difficult decisions when selecting finalists and winners. Kevin Lamb of Purves Chartered Accountants, who assisted in judging the Growth Business of the Year Award, remarked “There were several strong applications in this section, and all three finalists have done extremely well in what has been a difficult year for many companies. The category winner, Qube GB Ltd, is expanding its business across the UK from its base in Selkirk. The company’s application demonstrated leadership and entrepreneurship, and the business’s growth over the last year clinched the win for them in this award category.”
The full list of winners and finalists is:
New Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Business Gateway
Category winner: Cocoa Black Ltd, Peebles, www.cocoablack.co.uk
Cocoa Black produce handmade gourmet chocolate products, which were awarded first prize at the 2010 UK Chocolate Masters. Their chocolate and pastry school in Peebles, opened in May 2009, attracted over 500 visitors in its first year and has an impressive 4 star rating from VisitScotland.
International Trader of the Year Award, sponsored by Scottish Chambers International
Category winner - Eribé Knitwear Design, Galashiels, www.eribe.co.uk
Eribé Knitwear Design produces authentic premium Scottish knitwear that is modern, fashionable and quirky. Their garments and accessories are sold in high end department stores and are exported to the US, Japan, Europe and Russia.
• W W M Rose & Sons Ltd, Lamancha, www.wmrose.co.uk
Employer of the Year Award, in association with the Federation of Small Businesses
Category winner - Stark Main & Co Ltd, Selkirk, www.starkmain.co.uk
Stark Main & Co was established in 2006 as a firm of chartered tax advisers and accountants. They invest heavily in internal training and external courses, as well as an electronic monitoring system which allows the analysis of each team member's happiness.
Independent Retailer of the Year Award, in association with the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce
Category winner - The Mainstreet Trading Co Ltd, St Boswells, www.mainstreetbooks.co.uk
The Mainstreet Trading Company is a bookshop and café in St Boswells. Customer experience and the shop environment are very important - they recently extended the café, have a dedicated wi-fi area, and are very child friendly. They also support local authors, source local food, and enhance the tourist offering in the Scottish Borders.
• Cocoa Black Ltd, Peebles, www.cocoablack.co.uk
• Eden, Hawick and Galashiels
Innovation of the Year Award, sponsored by ProStrakan
Category winner - EctoPharma Ltd, Selkirk, www.ectopharma.com
EctoPharma is a pharmaceutical research and development company, with its head office in Selkirk. Working with research partners it is developing novel gene therapies with the aim of developing new medicines and procedures for human and veterinary medicine, and licensing them for use by pharmacy companies.
Growth Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Purves Chartered Accountants
Category winner - Qube GB Ltd, Selkirk, www.qubegb.com
Qube provides outsourced engineering facilities to telecomms and broadband suppliers. From their base in Selkirk they provide thousands of on-site home installations across the UK every month, including contracts with Talk Talk and other providers.
Creative Marketing Award, sponsored the South of Scotland Creative Clusters Project
Category winner - Maplehurst Boutique Guest House, Galashiels, www.maplehurstguesthouse.co.uk
Maplehurst Boutique Guest House is a luxury bed and breakfast with a unique selling point in its period Arts and Crafts architecture and interiors. The owners wanted to improve their web presence and worked with the design and web development company Cohorts by Design to achieve this. Cohorts brought in additional expertise in collaboration with Texthouse to craft the words for the site, and Shout Photography to get the perfect images.
Scottish Borders Council took the lead role in co-ordinating the Awards, and would like to thank all partners, sponsors and judges who contributed to the success of this event, including ProStrakan Group, Purves Chartered Accountants, Scottish Chambers International, Business Gateway, New Ways Partnership, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce, the Scottish Borders Exporters Association, Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Business Solutions and the South of Scotland Creative Clusters Project. Special thanks also to the Borders Campus for hosting the event, SBC Hospitality for catering, and to the Southern Reporter as media sponsor.