Countdown to the 2019 Awards

PLEASE NOTE THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 23:59 ON MONDAY 18 FEBRUARY 2019


Over the next few weeks we will feature a series of blogs to highlight the benefits of applying for a Highland Business Women's Award.

6 February 2019 - There are 5 days to go to the 11 February deadline for applications.  Still time to work up an application.  This week we hear from Jackie Cuddy, one of our judges in 2019, and someone who has experience of business awards from both sides.

When I moved to the Highlands fifteen years ago to take over as Centre Manager of Eastgate Shopping Centre I was approached to go and talk to HBW about my career path and my plans and aspirations for the Centre.  As a new girl on the block I immediately became aware of the benefits of joining HBW and the networking that this would offer to me.  Just two years later I was encouraged to enter Highland Businesswoman of the Year (employed) which I was delighted to win.  It gave me confidence and made me feel accepted in the area I had chosen to make home.   It was also a boost for Eastgate and the owners and Managing Agents were delighted at the prestige it bought to the Centre.

I think the hardest part is actually putting yourself forward for an Award as the application itself is self-explanatory and easy to complete.  Most of us don’t like to blow our own trumpet but when you do start to fill the form in you realise just how much you have achieved.  Which in itself is a confidence boost and to be recognised for it makes you proud.

My association with HBW has continued and I was pleased to add to the original award with Best Business/Charity Partnership Award at the 2009 ASB Awards for all the fund raising and work Eastgate had carried out with Maggie’s Highlands .  Then in 2017 I was delighted to receive the Shining star Award in recognition of not just my work at Eastgate but all my charity work and local community engagement.

As a Past President and Awards Judge I would encourage all members to seriously consider entering an Award Category.  There are so many exciting businesses and individuals who are part of HBW with a range of skills and wealth of knowledge.  Personally I would look at which category best suits you and would benefit your business the most and concentrate on that one Award.  I am not a fan of multiple Award applications.  As a judge I would be looking for somebody whose application absolutely demonstrates they have achieved the Award criteria.  The point of difference in most applications is the appendices, examples of what you are talking about in the Award application, a good set of accounts.  Good does not necessarily mean profitability wise but a good accurate account of your business and where it is heading.

Good luck to everybody and I hope this gives you the final push to getting that entry in!!


29 January 2019Just under two weeks to go to the 11 February deadline for applications.  This week Anisha Macdermid, Director of Exclamation Marketing shares her thoughts.  Anisha was our Shining Star award winner in 2018 and Exclamation Marketing also won Team of the Year last year.  In addition, they were finalists for "Digital Agency of the Year" at the 2018 ScotlandIS Awards so Anisha knows a thing or two about making a successful application.


We were thrilled to receive awards in two categories at the Highland Business Women Awards last year.

Just over five years ago, I realised the importance of there being support for local businesses especially in rural areas - and how crucial it was for them to have a stronger voice. I formed Exclamation Marketing and we offer digital marketing services to the Highlands and Islands and surrounding areas. We help grow businesses by implementing effective marketing strategies and ensuring all our clients have an online presence that is visible and credible.

The last five years have been dedicated to continuous growth and development in an ever-changing and demanding industry; we see the awards as recognition for the hard work and devotion of the team and to all of those who have supported us in our journey so far. The awards not only helped us to celebrate the company’s achievements but also inspired us to focus on some very exciting future plans. 

Writing the award applications can often seem like a daunting task, especially when as a small business owner you have a million other things to do. However, I found the experience extremely positive as it actually forces you to take time to look at how far you have come, what’s been achieved and where you want the business to be in the future. The time spent entering awards was more an investment than a cost. Even if you don’t win, being part of the whole experience can be incredibly rewarding.

The awards brought some great publicity and are immeasurable in terms of importance for women in business in the Highlands.


22 January 2019  - With three weeks to go to the 11 February deadline for submitting applications we hear from Mairi Macdonald of Birchwood Highland about their experience.


Birchwood Highland - Best Third Sector Organisation 2018

Birchwood Highland has achieved so much over the last few years; raising our profile significantly across the Highlands and beyond; gaining the support of many local businesses, and really stepping up our fundraising efforts during a trying time - both financially and against a turbulent political backdrop.  All of this is amongst an extremely busy time for our vital day-to-day services, providing 24/7 support to people experiencing mental ill health across communities in the Highlands.

However, receiving the award for ‘Best Third Sector Organisation’ at the Highland Business Women Awards last year was amongst one of our greatest achievements, and the title is one we announce proudly, at any given opportunity.

The award in itself recognises effective engagement with service users as well as sound planning, future sustainability and effective leadership.  It’s little wonder then, in the year where we marked the 10th anniversary of Scotland’s only residential mental health recovery centre, and on the very same day that we launched a charity single produced by residents of the Recovery Centre, that we received this award not for the first time, but for the third year running.

Receiving the award for the third time really was in recognition of the incredible hard work and dedication of everyone working and volunteering with Birchwood Highland, and in turn, contributed to a huge morale boost amongst staff and service users alike.   Equally importantly, in terms of our mental health anti-stigma work - and as mental ill health affects 1 in 3 people in the Highlands - receiving the award for ‘Best Third Sector Organisation’ has provided us with a fantastic platform to work alongside Highland Business Women and their members to encourage further discussion and around mental health in the workplace. 

We are so grateful to all of the Directors and members of Highland Business Women who have helped us achieve so many wonderful outcomes over the last few years, and we would strongly encourage any other third sector organisations to apply for this award in the future - it can really put a smile on the faces of staff, volunteers and service users. 

Meetings & Events

Style tips for the working wardrobe

8th August 2018 @ 6:00pm

Our August meeting will be a week later than usual due to Belladrum and the Black Isle Show. We will meet at Eastgate Centre 2 to look at how we make the best use of our wardrobe and...

Joint Highland and Moray Business Women Meeting

6th September 2018 @ 6:00pm

We always look forward to our annual joint meeting with Moray Business Women’s Club to widen our networking and this year the venue is Nairn Community & Arts Centre. We will be joined by...