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Private Business Awards

Two north east firms secure UK prizes

BenRiachScottish firms Glencraft and BenRiach  were among the winners in the 2015 Private Business Awards, presented at a ceremony in London.

Scooping the Social Enterprise of the Year category, Glencraft (Aberdeen), was lauded for its approach to both hiring and developing local people at its 170-year-old mattress and bedroom furniture business.

The enterprise recently notched up £1.35m in sales and achieved its five year ambition of relocating to a long-term site in the city. Glencraft has also secured a highly competitive contract to supply the new SERCO Caledonian Sleeper Trains.

BenRiach Distillery won the High Growth Business of the Year category. Established in 2004, the small, high growth whisky distiller has not only expanded its business – acquiring GlenDronach Distillery, Glenglassaugh Distillery and a bottling plant in Edinburgh – but doubled its revenues over the last four years.

The business now ships products to over forty countries, including key markets in Taiwan, Germany, UK, Africa and the USA, and continues to eye potential growth areas for its award-winning whisky brands such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and much of Africa and South America.

Sajid DavidBusiness secretary Sajid Javid (left) guest speaker at the ceremony, said: “Private businesses are a vital part of British society. They drive growth, create wealth and provide opportunity to millions of people.

“I want you to succeed and, by cutting corporation tax, removing burdensome red tape and helping smaller firms grow and create jobs, the government is getting behind you. It is great to celebrate these awards and see the best that UK private business has on offer.”

Martin Cowie, head of private business at PwC in Scotland, said: ““To have five Scottish companies make the final was a remarkable achievement, and for two to win their categories says much about the resilience of the economy in the North East of Scotland, even against a challenging low oil price backdrop.

“Coming from Aberdeenshire, I am particularly pleased to see Glencraft and BenRiach come out top against such tough competition.

“This is a great win for BenRiach and Glencraft, their management teams and employees and everyone in the Scottish private business community should be rightly proud of their awards.”

The other Scottish finalists were Brewdog, Ecosse Subsea Systems and Peak Scientific Holdings.

Charlie Hoffman, Managing Director, HSBC Private Bank and chairman of the judging panel, said: “Private business across the UK continues to drive growth in our economy with over three million family businesses providing total revenues of £1.1 trillion.”

UK private business of the year was won by Usborne Publishing.  Founded in 1973 by Peter Usborne, the London-based company has grown to become the UK’s largest independent publisher of children’s books. Peter is recognised as an exemplar of a private business owner – constantly innovating and taking calculated risks to grow the company at home and abroad, returning profits, motivating and caring for his staff and always considering the wider community and environment.

Other category winners at the awards run by PwC and sponsored by HSBC private bank and The Supper Club include:

Vision RT – Technology Innovation of the Year. A system that ensures the patient remains in the correct opposition during radio therapy treatment.

Emoderation – Rising Star of the Year. A global social media management agency that delivers multi-lingual community management and moderation, social listening, data, insight and social media consulting.

Tangle Teezer – International Business of the Year. Mould-breaking hair brush designed to detangle wet or dry hair. Now sold in over 70 countries.

Alice Blackie, Pink Boutique – Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. Entrepreneurial online fashion retailer to women aged 18-35. Small beginnings quickly leading to 30,000 ft warehouse space with 50 staff, shipping 2000 dresses a day.

Cheryl Williams, Yorkshire Wildlife Park – Private Business Woman of the Year. Leading a major wildlife conservation area and award-winning visitor attraction that engages with local schools and communities. Heroic helper of polar bears and other animals.

Phil Doyle, Kelway – CEO of the Year. Competitive and focussed leader of provider of IT services and solutions to SMEs and the public sector.

Kolak Snack Foods – Family Business of the Year.  30 years of unbroken growth; 28,000 packets of crisps and snacks a week.

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