Scottish Rural Awards 2017 – Categories & Criteria

Our 2017 categories encompassed all aspects of rural life, from agriculture to tourism, food and drink to education.

All categories, except the Scottish Rural Lifetime Achievement Award, were open to businesses, organisations and individuals to receive nominations from customers, employees or through self-nomination between 1 August and 14 October 2016. The Rural Hero category was open for nominations from anyone except the nominated person(s) themselves.

Rural Enterprise (sponsored by Subaru)

Designed to recognise enterprise and entrepreneurship wherever it may lay. Open to individuals, small businesses and/or larger businesses and organisations operating within a rural environment, nominees must have found success in developing an existing business or practice, successfully re-inventing, re-interpreting or adapting an existing business or practice, or finding success by applying unique methods to an existing business or practice.

Business Start Up (sponsored by Gillespie MacAndrew)

This category seeks to identify innovation, application and inspiration from new businesses trading for under 24 months prior to 14th October 2016

Rural Hero (sponsored by Chiene & Tait)

This category can be nominated by a friend, colleague, family member or anyone else, except the Rural Hero themselves. The Scottish Rural Awards will ask the following questions in their pursuit of Scotland’s Rural Hero:

a) What makes this individual remarkable?
b) What is the impact of this individual on others?
c) Being specific, detail why the term ‘Hero’ should be applied to this individual.

Please note that no shortlist will be announced for the Rural Hero category prior to the night of the Scottish Rural Awards.

Education (sponsored by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland – RHASS)

The Scottish Rural Awards recognises all aspects of education as being vital to a productive and progressive rural society, so bearing in mind the vocational environment involved in education – what marks this organisation or individual deserving of this award?

Rural Tourism and Hospitality (sponsored by HW Energy)

Bearing in mind Rural Tourism and Hospitality is as much about communication and attraction as well as visitor numbers, what marks this nominee different to others – i.e. success, innovation, development, interaction, education? How do nominees work within their community, how do they engage with their local resources and what value they bring to the area in terms of local suppliers, employment, integration and positive development?

Rural Employer (sponsored by the University of Stirling Management School)

This award will celebrate a business that seeks to attract, invest in, retain and reward talent – by developing strategy that promotes it as an employer of choice. We will look for evidence of how communication processes are developed with the aim to involve and engage employees in the businesses strategic development and in living the business brand. Winning the hearts and minds of its employees will have resulted in sustained commercial and competitive success and also very high levels of customer satisfaction. The winning business will be one that works hard and plays hard and reflects its rural values by fostering a true sense of belonging and community.

Business Diversification (sponsored by Clarendon Planning & Development)

Key to thriving in a rural business is the ability to focus, re-focus and even change tack in order to stay ahead of the competition or even the times. We have all seen the demise of core businesses who have failed to adapt to the many pressures in business, and often compounded in the countryside by poor communication, transport links or even skilled labour. The winning business here will be the one who has thought outside the box, not only to survive, but to succeed to the benefit of all.

Conservation and the Environment 

The Scottish Rural Awards take a realistic view of what conservation means and what can be and is being achieved right now. This award will be given to the organisation, business or Individual who goes beyond the requirements of the law – creating, developing, innovating and succeeding in enhancing the countryside by sustainability, protection, rescue, introduction or re-organisation.

Agriculture (sponsored by the Bank of Scotland)

Open to all agricultural businesses, this award is about enhancing, protecting, managing and developing the countryside’s rural resources. It will especially recognise those businesses whose ultimate goal is to manage effectively and considerately the man-made and wild environment

Artisan Food (sponsored by Aldi)

Primarily aimed at food producers and retailers, artisan food seems to encompass the type of food production which was normal prior to mass-production. So if artisan means small production, or specialisation, then so be it –  but it should also have elements which champion ‘local food’ and support other local producers. Asking the following questions:

a) Has the community been put on the map by the quality and diversity of local produce being sold, and breathed life into the community/local economy?

b) Is there a passionate commitment from the retailer?

c) Has this retailer saved or promoted a traditional local food that may otherwise have been lost?

d) Would winning this competition reward a really special enterprise and tell a positive story about rural life?

Artisan Drink

The other companion in nourishing the soul, artisan drink is again an indication of craftsmanship. This award is designed to recognise the hard work, innovation, experimentation and development of all beverages. Success in the marketplace is measured by the message and style of the product, company or individual, not necessarily on number of units sold.

The Scottish Rural Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by Scotland’s Rural College)

Specifically awarded to an individual whose impact over time has enhanced the lives or environment of others, without whose efforts a significant detriment or deficit would have been effected. Lifetime Achievement does not mean the individual has finished in their endeavours, but it does recognise that the individual has committed a significant proportion of their life to those endeavours. Please note that the Scottish Rural Lifetime Achievement Award is closed to public nominations.