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TRUDY MORRIS: Get the recognition you deserve for blossoming business

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Young businesses and entrepreneurs are urged to enter the Caithness Chamber of Commerce's awards. Chief executive Trudy Morris explains the benefits

Trudy Morris
Trudy Morris

Entrepreneurship is vital to the ongoing growth of our local economy, and beyond too. Caithness Chamber of Commerce, naturally, encourages and supports not just established businesses but all new enterprises as well.

As part of those efforts, we make two awards each year. At our annual dinner in September, we will be recognising the young business of the year and the young entrepreneur of the year.

The awards celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit across the north Highlands. And I encourage eligible local businesses to take the time to tell their story and, hopefully, receive the recognition they deserve. The awards are an opportunity for young people and young businesses to increase their profile and have their achievements celebrated.

Entries are open until 5pm on August 12. Application forms and entry criteria can be found at our website, caithnesschamber.com. Just visit the news page.

The young business award is open to those enterprises that have been operating in Caithness or north Sutherland for no more than five years, whereas the young entrepreneur award is for those aged between 18 and 30 who live in Caithness or north Sutherland.

Young business winners in 2019, Michael Ronaldson and Kerry Speirs of Norse Stone.
Young business winners in 2019, Michael Ronaldson and Kerry Speirs of Norse Stone.

The entry forms are not at all arduous, although the process is comprehensive and may include an interview. It’s always worth entering. The process itself is a good way for businesses and entrepreneurs to take stock of their progress, to assess their efforts and to think strategically.

The prestige that comes with winning can make a real difference and the prizes are meaningful. The young business winners enjoy two free places at the annual dinner worth £150; free membership of the chamber; media and social media coverage; an enhanced profile on the chamber website; and a trophy too. The young entrepreneur winner enjoys the same, plus a £500 cash prize, generously made available by Saffery Champness.

The global pandemic has prevented us from holding these awards in recent times. Our last winners date from back in 2019. Norse Stone was the winner in the young business category and North Coast Watersports in the young entrepreneur category.

Both businesses, in spite of the difficulties associated with Covid, have continued to thrive, with the Caithness flagstone business introducing further products and growing into new markets, and the surfing school looking after beginner and experienced watersports enthusiasts from across the world, not least through its popular retreats in the cold-water surfing mecca of the world.

North Coast Watersports were recognised in the young entrepreneur category in 2019.
North Coast Watersports were recognised in the young entrepreneur category in 2019.

It's not easy establishing and running a business, but the Caithness Chamber of Commerce is here to support all those who make the leap. Our resources are considerable. We offer much expert advice and access to funding, and we love to celebrate the achievements of local enterprises.

If your young business is eligible, please do enter our awards!

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