Debbie and Ronald Mackenzie of Cruise Loch Ness were UK FSB winners in 2019.
The north has been confirmed as Scotland’s entrepreneurial hotspot after a survey revealed the Highlands and the North East dominate a list of Scottish Parliamentary constituencies with the highest number of businesses.
As part of its campaign to find Scotlandâs best smaller firms, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed which MSPs have the largest local business communities.
While Edinburgh Central and Glasgow Kelvin topped the FSB list, seven of the top 10 constituencies in terms of number of local firms are in the Highlands or the North East.
Three of these constituencies are in the Highland Council area: Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, which came fifth on the list with 4910 businesses, followed by Caithness, Sutherland and Ross with 4715, while Inverness and Nairn was in eighth place with 4255 firms.
Maree Todd MSP.
Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Maree Todd welcomed the findings.
âThe SNP Government have been determined to create a successful and supportive business environment where the whole of Scotland â” rural or urban â” is a place for small, independent businesses. Iâm delighted to see this reflected in the list of Scottish business hotspots, where Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, along with many Highland constituencies, rank high,” she said.
âAs a constituency, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross faces a unique and diverse set of challenges, but our local business economy is resilient and innovative, creating the perfect environment for small businesses to grow and flourish.â
Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: âRaised in the Highlands and now with a Highland constituency â” the largest and in some ways most fragmented in Scotland â” I am well aware of the vital roles that small, independent businesses play both in their local economies and communities and within Scotland as a whole.
âAnyone who thinks that thereâs no point â” that winners always come from the south â” should perhaps consider why it is that the FSBâs last two UK Small Businesses of the Year have both come from the Highlands; in fact from my constituency!
“We need more Highlands and Islands winners and thereâs all to play for, so please give it some thought.â
The last two UK-wide winners have been Fort Augustus-based Cruise Loch Ness, who won UK Small Business of the Year 2019, and Woodlands Glencoe who beat more than 3100 entrants to scoop the accolade in 2020.
The figures have been collated ahead of FSBâs Celebrating Small Business Awards 2022, which have seen the UKâs overall winners come from Scotland for the last two years. The awards are free to enter and open to members and non-members alike.
There are 12 categories for the Scotland-leg of the awards: international, sustainability, micro business, start-up business, high growth business, family, young entrepreneur (aged 30 and under), wellbeing, community award, business product and innovation, self-employed or sole trader, and digital and e-commerce.
Winners will go on to compete at the UK final in May 2022 in Glasgow.
The Federation of Small Businessesâ Highlands and Islands development manager, David Richardson, said: âWe know both from our own research and from that of others that people in the Highlands and Islands are more entrepreneurial than in any other Scottish region and that the Highlands is home to Scotlandâs two most entrepreneurial towns: Ullapool and Newtonmore. In these uncertain times we should be brightening our lives by celebrating success, and there is no better way for businesses to do so than by entering our FSB Awards.
“This region has always punched way above its weight, and we hope to do so again at the 2022 FSB Awards final.â
Andrew McRae, FSBâs Scottish policy convenor, said: âAfter such a tough year for all, weâre excited to celebrate the achievements of Scotlandâs small business community.
âAcross the length and breadth of Scotland, local and independent businesses play a key role. Weâre on the hunt for firms who demonstrate the best of this vital sector.
âThe North of Scotland really has a formidable record when it comes to these awards. Could another UK-wide winner come from this patch?â
Kevin OâToole, managing director of headline sponsor Sky Connect, said: âThe resilience, innovation and creativity that small business owners have shown over the last 12 months is awe-inspiring.
âAt Sky Connect our mission is to help small businesses succeed, stay connected to their customers and bounce back even stronger post-pandemic. Weâre thrilled to become headline sponsor of FSBâs Celebrating Small Business Awards and help recognise and celebrate their vast achievements.â
Scottish businesses have until February 13 2022 to lodge their awards application at fsbawards.co.uk
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