Entrepreneurs and business leaders from throughout the North-east are being invited to enter the biggest celebration of the region’s achievements with the launch of the 17th annual Elevator Awards.
Business excellence, employers of choice, community-driven initiatives and outstanding achievements from local entrepreneurs are recognised during the awards, which last year saw the highest number of applications with an increase of 25% on the previous year.
Gary McEwan, Elevator chief executive, said that despite the city’s recent change in fortune, it was in a strong position to embrace innovation and diversity.
He said: “The current downturn in the oil and gas sector has seen a big increase in the number of entrepreneurs seeking new opportunities and capitalising on the wealth of experience and skills in the area. Over the past year in particular, we have seen the emergence of a large range of businesses started in the wake of redundancies, with many new business owners stating that ‘being their own boss’ is the most rewarding element.
“This region, time after time, proves itself to be one of the most entrepreneurial, with new businesses starting and thriving and existing businesses looking at new ways to support their clients and staff. With the doom and gloom associated with the current state of the oil and gas industry, and its associated economic instability, what better time to celebrate the business successes taking place in the region.”
Winners at last year’s awards included up and coming businesses, innovative organisations and firms from a range of sectors including energy, technology, hospitality, beauty and property.
The Dennis Law Legacy Trust – Streetsport was presented with last year’s Alick Buchanan Smith Enterprising Communities Award. Mark Williams, chief operating officer, said: “It’s hard sometimes to find time to look back and see all you have achieved throughout the year, so to be formally recognised by Elevator for the fantastic work our team of coaches and volunteers do week in, week out in communities across Aberdeen has been a fantastic seal of approval.
“Winning the award has significantly raised our profile and we have found that a lot more people are approaching us about working together, rather than us having to approach them. The whole team has been buzzing about it since we won; it’s really given us a fantastic sense of what working together towards our goals and objectives can achieve. The Elevator Awards are greatly respected and appeal across various sectors in Aberdeen, and we found it a great journey and one in which you’re made to feel real contenders at each step. Everyone is exceptionally helpful – I can’t recommend the awards enough.”
Sponsors and partners of the Elevator Awards, including Scottish Enterprise and long-standing partner Royal Bank of Scotland, have once again joined Elevator to show their solidarity and support for the region’s small to medium businesses.
The Royal Bank of Scotland has been the principal partner and sponsor of the awards since it started 17 years ago. Russell Whyte, director, Corporate and Commercial Banking in Aberdeen, said: “The Royal Bank of Scotland is a keen supporter of the Elevator Awards – one of the North-east’s most inspirational business award events.
“It is important that we celebrate the talent, skill and diversity that exists here in the North-east. As a bank we celebrate our 290th anniversary and we are delighted that we mark it by continuing our long association with this event.”
Adrian Gillespie, managing director of Scottish Enterprise, said: “The North-east of Scotland has faced some considerable challenges over the last couple of years, driven mostly by the global oil and gas downturn.
“Together with our partners on the Energy Jobs Taskforce, we have worked hard to try and limit the impact on businesses and individuals. Despite these considerable challenges, the region remains a strong and important contributor to the Scottish economy which is undoubtedly down to the strong leadership, hard work and commitment demonstrated by everyone involved. The Elevator Awards are a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate this significant achievement and we are pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of it.
Entrants can apply for one or more of the following 10 categories:
• Most Promising New Business – sponsored by Business Gateway
• Business Success Under Three Years (trading for under three years at deadline for applications) – sponsored by Scottish Enterprise
• Business Success Over Three Years (businesses that have been trading for over three years at deadline for applications) – sponsored by RBS
• The Innovation Award – sponsored by Murgitroyd
• The ‘Spirit of Enterprise’ Award – sponsored by The Prince’s Trust
• The Alick Buchanan Smith Enterprising Communities Award – sponsored by Aberdeenshire Council
• Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by Aberdeen University
• Employer of the Year – sponsored by Avensure
• Entrepreneurial Supporter of the Year – sponsored by FSB
• Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by RBS
Applications are open now online at www.elevatorawards.com with a closing date of 5pm on Friday, March 10.