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"If you can't see it, you can't be it": Female role models recognised; WOMEN'S ENTERPRISE SCOTLAND AWARDS.

THE Business Leader of the Year at the Women's Enterprise Scotland Awards 2019 was a woman who started in the living room of her house and built it over 25 years into one of the largest home care specialists.

Lynn Laughland, who set up HRM Homecare Services in 1994, collected the final award at the glittering awards evening.

The award marked the achievements of Laughland who also founded and runs HSC Futures, which provides much needed training for prospective carers.

After collecting her trophy she said: "It's been almost 25 years and I would like to say that the most important thing I've learned is build good relationships from a very early start in the business."

She said the earlier that was done the more successful the business would be.

Around 250 people attended the awards dinner, run by Women's Enterprise Scotland in partnership with Scottish Business Insider.

Presenting the Business of the Year Award Carolyn Currie, chief executive of Women's Enterprise Scotland, said: "There is no shortage of talent in the room tonight as has been shown by the quality of our finalists."

The Business of the Year award went to Little's Chauffeur Drive where managing director Heather Matthews took over and grew the businesses launched by her father five decades ago. Started with two taxi drivers, the business now boasts 30 chauffeurs and works for leading organisations and has covered major events including the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the G8 Summit.

Sara Roberts, the founder of vending and subscription snack services Healthy Nibbles won the Emerging Business Leader of the Year category. Her enterprise had also been a finalist in the Invested Business category.

The Growth Business of the Year Award went to Tag Digital, the fast growing online marketing business founded by Laura Davidson, which is headquartered in Glasgow but is growing a bigger and bigger international footprint.

Sarah Heward's popular Tyndrum-based eatery The Real Food Cafe won the Best Rural Based Business category.

Jacine Rutasikwa, who cofounded West Lothian-based Matugga Distillers, which distils East African flavoured rum, triumphed in the Start Up of the Year category.

Joy Lewis collected the Best Social Enterprise Award for Adopt an Intern where she has been chief executive for more than seven years. The high achieving organisation provides openings to help graduates get into the world of work.

Roz Cuschieri, a business executive with more than 30 years experience in fast moving consumer goods, won the Board Member of the Year category for her work with Worldwide Cancer Research among other boards.

The Innovator of the Year category went to Amanda Pickford who developed groundbreaking software ThermaFY that identifies heat patterns to get the most out of thermal images.

Talking Medicines, the app that helps patients to make the best use of prescription medicines won the Invested Business of the Year category.

The awards dinner was hosted by broadcast presenter and coach Clare English and was held in the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.

The keynote speaker at the event was Wendy Hallett MBE, the trailblazing retail entrepreneur who was the founder of Hallett Retail Services which works with more than 100 brands and many of the major High Street chains.

She gave gave her advice on setting up a business. She said: "I had no money when I set up, so I didn't have investors. I put in about PS1,000 in order to set up.

"So there are ways of starting on your entrepreneurial journey without huge sums of money and also there's ways of working part-time for somebody while you experiment and take some risks working for yourself as well.

"I would say if you've got the idea and you've got the passion, then try it because there's nothing better than working for yourself and being an entrepreneur."

Carolyn Currie, chief executive of Women's Enterprise Scotland, said: "Women-owned businesses represent 20 per cent of Scotland's business base and contribute a whopping PS8.8bn into the economy every year.

"That's more than many of the stated growth sectors, including food and drink and sustainable tourism. Yet the persistent gender gap in enterprise participation remains.

"Our awards showcase the array of talent represented by Scotland's women-owned business community and create the role models who will inspire us all and the next generation of women and girls coming through.

"At WES we have an ambition for women-owned businesses. Our goal is to create a diverse, innovative and prosperous business ecosystem, fully unlocking women's economic potential and consigning the gender gap in enterprise to history."

Speaking of the event one attendee, Clare Carswell, said: "Role models are vitally important, particularly if you're looking at women; if you can't see it, you can't be it. Many people say that and I think it is inspirational that if you see someone whether it is within your field or another - maybe it's the characteristics or the traits that they have that gives you that nudge and motivation to strive for more within your career." |

Little's Chauffeur Drive started with two taxi drivers; the business now boasts 30 chauffeurs and works for leading organisations, covering major events

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Above: The 2019 Women's Enterprise Scotland Awards winners
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Publication:Insider Monthly
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 5, 2019
Words:862
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