Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce honours business high-fliers

Gordon Drummond receives his lifetime achievement award from Adam Cameron. Picture: supplied
Gordon Drummond receives his lifetime achievement award from Adam Cameron. Picture: supplied
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A HOMELESSNESS charity, the retiring boss of Harvey Nicks, Edinburgh Airport and Lothian Buses have all been honoured for their work at the fifth annual Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce business awards.

More than 450 guests attended the event at the Sheraton Grand Hotel to celebrate business achievements and growth in the city.

Winners included the Cyrenians for Creative Marketing; the airport for Best Performing Business of its size; and the council-owned bus company for Sustainable Development.

Gordon Drummond, who stepped down last week as director of Harvey Nichols, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

He said: “I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with such a great brand and this award really reflects the efforts of the whole team.”

David Birrell, chief executive of the chamber, said the awards – in 12 categories – recognised huge effort and commitment made by members for their own business and the long-term economic development of the Capital.

He said: “We all play a role in contributing to Edinburgh’s reputation as a leading international and innovative business centre.

“Building on this position remains core to the chamber’s vision for the future and key to that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders.”

Former city council chief executive Dame Sue Bruce won the award for Developing the Young Workforce – in recognition of the Edinburgh Guarantee which she helped pioneer.

The scheme – aimed at ensuring every young person leaves school with the choice of a job, training or further education – has seen hundreds of youngsters get apprenticeships at top firms.

Dame Sue said: “I’m honoured and humbled by this award. It has been a privilege to work with many others in Edinburgh in supporting young people into the world of work.

“The levels of youth employment in Edinburgh have improved exponentially over recent years and this is a testament to employers in the city who have worked together and have seen the benefits of including young people in the workforce.”

The award for the Best Performing Business with between one and ten employees went to Can You Escape, a game venue in Holyrood Road where groups of two-16 people have an hour to escape from a locked room. It opened in December 2014 and within months had been named Scotland’s Best Family Day Out at the Entertainment and Hospitality Awards.

The Royal College of Surgeons won the Best Performing Business (11-50). Director Scott Mitchell said: “Everyone is buzzing in the team and enjoying the sense of achievement but we won’t be resting on our laurels. We have a number of new developments coming this year, not least that we’ll be welcoming even more Fringe visitors in August than in any previous year.”

Edinburgh Airport – which had its busiest year ever last year – was Best Performing Business (51+) while Lothian Buses won the Sustainable Development prize. It has invested £18.5m in hybrid buses since 2011.

The award for Outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility went to Sainsbury’s Bank for its work with Alzheimer Scotland, raising funds and awareness of dementia and its effects.

The Cyrenians’ Creative Marketing award was for its “We all have a past, a present and a future” campaign which aimed to challenge attitudes towards people excluded from family, home, work or community.

Queen Margaret University won the Innovation in Business prize for its work in food and drink development and supporting graduate start-ups in the creative industries.

Video production company Heehaw, set up in 2000, took the Award for International Trade. Its creative director Toby Trueman was named Young Businessperson of the Year. He couldn’t attend as 
he was on an international filming trip.