Awards Categories

We have 9 awards categories to choose from. Why wait enter now!

Rural Taste Award

Food & Drink Business of the Year


We are looking for a brand, business or Food & Drink related project that has demonstrated the very best of what the Highlands and Islands has to offer in the sector. From large-scale manufacturers to artisans and those who create products unique to the region, and from small, local operators to those taking their product to the rest of the world, this category is open to a wide range of businesses.

The winner will have demonstrated that they know their unique selling point and the market or markets in which they are operating. They will have a vision of where they want the business to be in the years ahead – whether that vision is global or to be a sustainable part of the local community. They will also, of course, have a fantastic product which highlights why the Highlands and Islands are the go-to place for Food & Drink.

Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this business is deserving of the award, such as a business plan or growth strategy, and understanding of the market opportunity which has been identified and evidence of how this has been successful such as: testimonials etc.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as job creation; financial performance; and benefit to the local economy.

Sponsored by

Jelf Clark Thomson

Rural Spirit Award

Charity or Community Enterprise of the Year


We are looking for a charity or community enterprise which is a shining example of the important social, and economic, role that is played by such organisations and projects. These types of enterprises combine passion and social purpose to make a difference across the Highlands and Islands, and in turn play a huge part in the success and sustainability of the wider rural economy. The winner will be something which has identified a need in a community or particular area and has provided a solution which has a positive impact – be that undertaking a particular project or delivering an essential service. From social enterprises to charities and other models, we know there are hundreds of projects out there and we want to celebrate them. From culture to business, from services to experiences, the winner can come in any shape or form.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this entry is deserving of the award, including evidence of how it has been successful such as: testimonials etc.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as inclusiveness, opportunity created and benefit to the local community.

Sponsored by

Rural Spark Award

Entrepreneur or Start-up Business of the Year


We are looking for the visionaries and entrepreneurs who are changing the game in the Highlands and Islands rural economy with their new and growing businesses. These are the businesses or enterprises that have taken inspiration from what has gone before, and are in turn inspiring the next generation of businesses. The winner, who may come from any sector of our rural economy, will have set up or established a business that has already shown success and has a clear strategy for sustainable growth, with the ability to scale-up the operation.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this business is deserving of the award, such as a business plan or growth strategy, and understanding of the market opportunity which has been identified and an entrepreneurial or innovative vision.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as job creation; financial performance; potential market size; and benefit to the local economy.

Sponsored by

Impact Hub Inverness

Rural Land Award

Diversification Project of the Year


The traditional rural economy – land and estates, agriculture, forestry and more – is still a bedrock of the Highlands and Islands economy. We are looking for a business or project which has built on its traditional roots and branched out to expand what it offers, diversifying to meet or create a demand it has identified to make the most of its resources, location, talent and expertise. The winner will show why their particular diversification project was chosen and the strategy for turning it into a sustainable enterprise. This award is open to a huge range of projects, from food and drink to tourism and hospitality and much more.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this business is deserving of the award, such as a business plan or growth strategy, and understanding of the market opportunity which has been identified and evidence of how this has been successful such as: testimonials etc.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as job creation; financial performance; potential market size; and benefit to the local economy.

Sponsored by

Savills

Rural Blue Award

'Blue Economy' Enterprise of the Year


The 'Blue Economy' is all activity related to our oceans, seas, waterways and coasts – of which the Highlands and Islands is blessed with far more than most with over two third of the UK coastline. Our Blue Economy plays a central role in terms of food, energy and health. From aquaculture to tourism, and from ports and harbours to energy – and the supply chain for all these and more – the blue economy is a major part of the Highlands and Islands' rural economy. We are looking for a business or enterprise which has grasped the opportunities presented by our location and is making waves in their chosen sector or industry – a champion of the modern Blue Economy and the potential it has for the Highlands and Islands.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this business is deserving of the award, such as a business plan or growth strategy, and understanding of the market opportunity which has been identified and evidence of how this has been successful, including environmental impact or benefit.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as job creation; financial performance; potential market size; and benefit to the local economy.

Sponsored by

Affric

Rural Inspiration Award

Arts, Crafts, Textiles or Creative Business of the Year


We are looking for a business or enterprise which has creativity at its heart. The Highlands and Islands are world renowned for our creative industries, and we are looking for a business, traditional or modern, which has its roots in our rural communities and has turned that into a success and sustainable concern. There is no limit to the inspiration, imagination and talent involved, however we want to find a winner which has allied this to creating a quality product or service which is thriving in the modern rural economy. From clothing to artwork and much more, this award is open to those who inspire through their work.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this business is deserving of the award, such as a business plan or growth strategy, and understanding of the market opportunity which has been identified and the unique selling point of the business or enterprise.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as job creation; financial performance; potential market size; and benefit to the local economy.

Sponsored by

Rural Byte Award

Digital Business or Project of the Year


We are looking for a business or project which is ahead of the game in an area where investment in the region's digital infrastructure is changing the way we can develop and deliver new products and services. Digital innovation plays a fundamental role in the modern rural economy and we are looking for the businesses which are either using the latest technology to facilitate markets, or are themselves delivering a digital product which makes a virtue of connectivity to open up whole new markets which in the past could not have been accessed from a rural location. The winner will be a business or project at the cutting edge, capitalising on new opportunities to the best effect.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why this business is deserving of the award, such as a business plan or growth strategy, and understanding of the market opportunity which has been identified and evidence of how this has been successful such as: testimonials etc.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as job creation; financial performance; potential market size; and benefit to the local economy.

Sponsored by

Openreach

Rural Experience Award

Tourism or Recreational Business of the Year


We are looking for a business or enterprise which has excelled in attracting people to the rural Highlands and Islands with an offering for visitors which stands out among a thriving industry. The winner will be something that encapsulates everything that is good about Highland hospitality – whether that it exceptional customer service or simply a wonderful experience which makes the most of the natural beauty and wonder that the Highlands and Islands offers. It is open to those encouraging people to enjoy the unique sport, leisure and recreation opportunities that the rural Highlands and Islands have to offer – those who have taken their own passion for their rural lifestyle and turned that into a sustainable enterprise which offers other people the chance to join in and even to find their own new passion.

From businesses providing tours to attractions and accommodation providers, and from extreme sports to more leisurely pursuits, this category is open to a wide range of businesses, of all sizes.


Guidelines:

  • Please provide evidence which shows why your business is deserving of the award, such as visitor testimonials, evidence of a long term strategy and commitment to the highest standards – including areas such as environmental impact and accessibility.
  • Please provide details of key stats and figures where they are available, including for areas such as job creation; financial performance; and benefit to the local economy.

Sponsored by

Rural Star Award

Judges Award for Outstanding Rural Economy Merit


No entries are required for this award, as it will be chosen by the judges from among the nominees in every category. As our categories are so diverse, and almost impossible to measure against one another, the judges will choose one to receive a special award. It is possible that they may not have won the category in which they entered, but there is a certain element in their submission which the judges believe merits special attention


Sponsored by

Harper Macleod

Entries are now OPEN!

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