A HOST of inspirational entrepreneurs from all walks of life picked up top awards at the prestigious Business Women Scotland Awards last night.

Eight winners were awarded at the glittering ceremony in the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow, the second year of the event which celebrates the success and entrepreneurial spirit of Scotland’s business women.

The awards, run by Business Women Scotland (BWS) magazine had the support of the Federation of Small Businesses. The awards reflected business success in different areas such as potential growth opportunities, innovative ideas and practices, staff and customer engagement and leadership.

Coming out on top were companies from Arbroath to Gourock, and Paisley to Perth, working in industries including facilities management, environmentally friendly glazing and software design.

Margaret Gibson, former-chief executive at Women’s Enterprise Scotland helped pick the shortlist, and Marie Macklin CBE, executive chairwoman of Macklin Enterprise Partnerships and Dr Lesley Sawers, Equalities and Human Rights Commissioner for Scotland chose the winners.

Macklin said: “It was a tough task picking winners as there were some great success stories, both from new and established companies. It was brilliant to see women leading companies in some not-so-glamorous industries, and being innovative, designing new products and taking them to market.”

Winner of of the New Business of the Year category was Tanya Ewing, of Glaze & Save, Perth, who has created polycarbonate and magnet secondary glazing which turns single glaze windows into double glazing without replacement or redecoration.

Victoria Hamilton, who launched Recoil Kneepads in Gourock, won the New Entrepreneur of the Year award for innovation.

Employer of the Year went to Theresa Wishart of Journeycall in Arbroath, a transport-focused contact centre which has a strong staff retention rate, while International Growth of the Year was awarded to Leah Hutcheon of Appointedd, Edinburgh, an online booking and business management software company.

Kate Davies, of Kate Davies Designs, Blanefield, Stirlingshire, won the Best Use of Social Media award for a campaign centred around the launch of her brand new hand-knitting yarn, Buachaille.

Mentor of the Year is Lesley Thomson of Spreng Thomson, Glasgow, and Inspirational Woman of the Year is Justine Mitchell, co-owner of Dundee United FC and Chamomile Sanctuary, Edinburgh.

Lynne Kennedy, BWS magazine’s managing editor said: “I love to see the different businesses that women start and to follow how they grow them into successful companies. Women are starting to believe that they can follow whatever dream they want in business, and we should continue to push them to do that. Our awards help them shout about their success, and reward them for their hard work.”

Sara Speirs, Spectrum Service Solutions, Paisley, was awarded SME of the Year for the continued growth of her contract cleaning and facilities management firm.

Janet Torley, chair of FSB East of Scotland, said: “FSB is a key champion for women’s entrepreneurship. The evening is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and recognise some of Scotland’s most inspiring and successful businesswomen, including a number of FSB members.”