BUSINESSES from all across the country have been recognised at the Business Women Scotland (BWS) and Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) 2018 Business Awards.

Established and emerging female business owners and operators from Wishaw, Bothwell, Glasgow, Moray, Greenock, Fife, Crieff, Stirling, Aberdeen, Newtongrange, Dundee, Forfar and Dunbar were presented with their awards at a glittering ceremony which took place in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel on Friday 2 November 2018.

Amongst the 14 Awards on the night, there was recognition for entrepreneur Poonam Gupta OBE, young Rising Star Olivia Conlan and social enterprise Hey Girls.

Poonam Gupta OBE, founder of PG Paper in Greenock, was crowned Businesswoman of the Year. Poonam established PG Paper from her kitchen table in 2003 and has worked tirelessly and with great determination and vision, to develop and extend the reach of the company, now a recognised global leader in its sector. PG Paper is now an international trading company, conducting business in 55 countries around the world. It specialises on importing and exporting paper; partnering with mills from across the globe to source and supply an extensive range of paper and board products. In this category, the judges were unanimous in describing Poonam as “a clear winner”. They were impressed with not only Poonam's business acumen but the fact that she gives back so much while running a successful company.

Bothwell-based Olivia Conlan beat off stiff competition to be named Rising Star of the Year. Just 20 years old, Olivia founded her company The Property Stagers three years ago, initially solely furnishing properties for sale in Scotland, however has quickly expanded into furnishing serviced apartments to cope with the demands of the market. The company now “stages” 300 properties nationwide every year for Serviced Accommodation, HMO's, Student Accommodation & Properties for Sale, creating an individual look in each property by providing original artwork, imported soft furnishings & handpicked accessories & lamps.

The judges were extremely impressed with Olivia, describing her as “definitely one to watch”. In addition, they felt that hers was an extremely strong business idea with lots of potential and room for growth.

Double winners on the night included Jo-Anne Chidley of Wishaw's Beauty Kitchen, who won Growth Business of the Year and International Growth Business of the Year and Celia Hodson of Dunbar-based Hey Girls, who scooped both the Social Impact of the Year and Start Up Business of the Year Awards.

Now in their second year of collaboration, the BWS/WES Awards are hosted jointly by Scotland’s two leading female business organisations, each dedicated to helping women find support and networking opportunities to allow them to strengthen their business. With the awards, BWS and WES collaborate to celebrate the ongoing achievements of Scottish women in business.

This year’s awards, supported by ScotlandCanDo, and sponsored by Scottish Enterprise, HIE, Business Gateway, Dentons, FSB and Royal Bank of Scotland, received a 200% year on year increase in entries giving the Judging Panel the difficult task of choosing winners in each of the 14 hotly contested categories.

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