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Highland businesses named as nation's best as FSB Scotland Small Business Awards accolades revealed

By Calum MacLeod

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Gordon Pearson (centre), owner of WOW Scotland with two happy tour clients at the Quiraing on Skye. WOW Scotland won the Federation for Small Business' micro business of the year award 2020.
Gordon Pearson (centre), owner of WOW Scotland with two happy tour clients at the Quiraing on Skye. WOW Scotland won the Federation for Small Business' micro business of the year award 2020.

A challenging year has ended on a positive note for two Inverness area businesses when they were named winners in the 2020 FSB Scotland Small Business Awards.

The micro business of the year trophy in this year's Federation of Small Businesses Scottish awards was won by tour company WOW Scotland, while the Scottish self-employed/sole trader of the year award went to Inverness woman Karen Simpson of My Primary Tutor.

Founded, owned and run by husband and wife team Gordon and Kay Pearson from Tomatin, WOW Scotland gives visitors an insider's eye view of the Highlands and Islands with day tours from Inverness to Skye, Orkney and Speyside. WOW Scotland also runs shore excursions from Invergordon, taking guests off the beaten track to show them the real Highlands.

Managing director Gordon Pearson said he and Kay were absolutely delighted to have won the award, which celebrates businesses with fewer than 10 employees that have demonstrated strong revenue growth and a product or service of a quality that stands above competitors.

"Since our inception in 2010 we have strived to deliver world-class tour experiences to every one of our guests," he said.

"Consequently, it is fantastic to have our efforts recognised at such a high level.

"2020 has been a very challenging year for tourism, but we remain optimistic and have focused on adapting and innovating ahead of the 2021 summer season.

“We are really looking forward to welcome guests to Scotland once more, and to providing them with authentic tours of the Highlands, Skye, Orkney and Speyside.”

Karen Simpson of My Primary Tutor.
Karen Simpson of My Primary Tutor.

My Primary Tutor's self-employed/sole trader award follows success at the Highland Business Women Awards in September where the private tuition firm was named new business of the year.

Offering one-to-one or group support to pupils working at primary level plus the first two years of secondary from experienced, fully registered primary teachers, My Primary Tutor can offer both an online and, when circumstances allow, a face-to-face tuition service.

Welcoming the award, My Primary Tutor’s founder, owner and tutor in chief, Karen Simpson, said: "Winning FSB Scotland’s self-employed/sole trader of the year award is a great accolade for my business and a huge endorsement of what I’m trying to achieve.

"My Primary Tutor helps children to get off to a flying start and we have grown significantly over the past six months, reflecting in part the troubled world in which we live. I am very proud of all that my dedicated and hard-working team of 15 is achieving, and I want to say a huge thank you to them and our wonderful pupils and parents, from across the UK and overseas."

Congratulating the two winners, FSB Highlands and Islands area leader Hamish Fraser said: “The Highlands and Islands and Moray stand out from the crowd yet again this year, producing five of the 12 Scottish award winners and demonstrating just how important small businesses are to our fragile economy and communities.

“Here we have two very different businesses each making its own, very important, contribution. While our region’s reputation for excellence as a holiday destination is outstanding, in the face of ever-increasing competition from the rest of the UK and abroad this cannot be taken for granted. Providing world-class quality and outstanding value for money matters more than ever in these difficult times, and it is quite clear that Gordon and Kay Pearson do just that at WOW Scotland.

“Getting children off to a great start in life is immensely important and education really matters. It matters at the best of times, but in the extremely difficult times in which we are living now it matters even more. I am really impressed at the way Karen Simpson goes about things and it is really good to see that her business is steadily expanding.”

Andy Aird, FSB regional chairman for Scotland, commented: “Congratulations to the winners of the Scottish FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards. It’s been the most challenging year for small business owners so I hope this piece of good news towards the end of the year will provide them with something to cheer. It’s great to have the opportunity to recognise endeavour in difficult times and I wish all of our finalists and winners the very best for Christmas and the New Year.”

This year’s FSB Scotland Small Business Awards Ceremony was to have taken place in Edinburgh, but it had to be cancelled due to lockdown and the pandemic has prevented it from being rescheduled.

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