Business Excellence Awards Dinner



  • Michael Harkins, inventor of safe swim aid Turtle Pack wins the Entrepreneur & Business Start Up Award
  • Wastewater and energy management services company Veolia is named  DYW Regional Employer 2019
  • West Lothian praised as an ‘exceptional hub’ for business growth


The company behind one of Scotland’s global iconic drinks brands has been named Best Business of the Year 2019 at this year’s West Lothian Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards

Over 190 people attended the sparkling Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony at The MacDonald Houston House Hotel, Uphall to see The Glenmorangie Company pick up the prestigious Best Business of The Year Award, sponsored by West Lothian Council. Keynote speaker was Liz Cameron OBE, Chief Executive and Director of Scottish Chambers of Commerce who praised the region as an ‘exceptional hub for business growth’.

Glenmorangie, which employs over 100 staff at its state-of-the-art bottle production site in Alba Campus, Livingston, was recognised for its culture of  continual improvement in their processes, including its sustainable approach to recruitment and staff retention and the creation of the Glenmorangie Apprentice Academy which enables recruitment of the next team of production associates, delivering a comprehensive training package.

This helps to promote valuable transferable skills within the whisky industry and prepares the business for digitalisation and the impact of Industry 4.0 on the future workforce.

The Glenmorangie Company was one of eight award recipients across the evening. The Business Growth Award was won by  incovo an independent business specialising in telecommunications and print solutions. Young entrepreneur Chris Thomas has transformed the business, taking sales to an all-time high, ranging from medium-sized enterprises to global organisations, right up to Fortune 100 companies .

The Shona Sibbald Woman in Business Award, which recognises the outstanding contribution to the local economy made by a businesswoman, went to Angela Moohan, founder of The Larder which offers young people who are furthest from the workplace, vocational training opportunities to develop their confidence and real-life skills. Angela also recognised an emerging skill gap in the hospitality sector so to offer a solution to these issues, The Larder Cook School was launched.

Under Angela’s stewardship The Larder has grown to be one of the most successful social enterprises in West Lothian both in terms of trading income and social outcomes.

The Regional Employer Developing Young Workforce West Lothian Award recipient was waste, water and energy management services company, Veolia. The company’s pioneering primary school programme based around the Developing the Young Workforce Strategy is for local schools is to view waste as a resource. Schools are given teaching materials which support them to carry out various activities including organising classes into businesses, carry out market research, identify a product or service ensuring it is circular and design business plans.

The success of Veolia’s engagement with schools is measured through feedback from the young people and from the teachers, also communicating with DYW WL on ways to improve and structure programme more effectively.  It was this communication that led to the schools being asked to create businesses as opposed to just ideas.

The Entrepreneur & Business Start-up Award went to Turtle Pack, founded by Michael Harkins – a concept which took Michael’s passion for teaching children to swim and turned it into an innovative, fun and safe swim aid, teaching not just a sport but a life skill.

Recognising traditional ‘learn to swim’ products were restrictive and lacked imagination Michael designed and created Turtle Pack an innovative swim aid specifically for children aged 2 – 7 years and now targets not only parents, but swim schools, holiday companies, leisure centres and health clubs, with his fully patented and protected swimming aid.

The Glenmorangie Company picked up its second award of the evening as winner of the Environmental Champion Award. The company, which has a focus on ‘Zero to Landfill’, has also made a strong sustainability pledge, “Life 2020”. This ensures the environment is considered in every decision the company makes. Moreover, logistics focus on goods in and out and ensure all industrial cardboard and heavy-duty plastic packaging is collected and recycled.  Recycling is key within all processes, Ardberg whisky green glass is recycled into aggregate paint and Glenmorangie clear bottles are recycled back into glass. All other business waste, previously sent to landfill, is now processed to create Refuse Derived Fuel, offering a genuine zero to landfill opportunity.

The Enterprising School Award, presented to a school demonstrating and delivering commitment to innovation, creativity and enterprise, was won by Low Port Primary in Linlithgow, whilst the Innovation Award was picked up by engineering support services business, Elite Control Systems, the judges praising strong growth & development within this company, through investment in new technologies, making them a leader in their sector for complex IT systems ‘Thin Client’ architecture designed to operate in some of the world’s most demanding and inhospitable terrains.

Commenting on the 2019 awards, Charlene Wallace, Chief Executive, West Lothian Chamber, said;

“Congratulations to all the winners. This year saw a bumper crop of entries, reflecting the increasing popularity and continued credibility of these awards and the ongoing success of our local businesses and business people.

The awards celebrate these fantastic businesses and business people who make our region the place it is. We live in turbulent times, with the spectre of Brexit and the uncertainty it creates on the horizon, but what stands out now is the incredible resilience and can-do attitude of our local business community.”

A charitable draw helped to raise £1500 on the evening for The Chamber’s nominated charity for this year The School Bank, West Lothian, a volunteer-led group aiming to improve the lives of children in families in West Lothian experiencing financial hardship.  The School Bank provides them with a brand-new school uniform and other clothing and equipment required for the school day.


See the events highlights below:


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