TWO Scots companies have secured awards at the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) annual ceremony in London.

Family firm Cruise Loch Ness was named the UK Small Business of 2019 at the event, while west of Scotland interiors specialist Liv Conlon received the title of Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Cruise Loch Ness, which provides scenic boat trips and Nessie-spotting adventures from its Fort Augustus base, sailed past over 2000 entrants and 120 region and nation award winners to land the accolade.

The company – established in 1968 – also won the Family Business of the Year award.

Debi MacKenzie, director of Cruise Loch Ness, said: “After more than 50 years in operation, we’re thrilled to see our family firm recognised by the FSB.

“Year after year, we’ve reinvested in the business, testing new ideas and making sure that our customers have absolutely the best experience possible. While we can’t guarantee they’ll spot the monster, we can ensure that they have a world class experience in one of Scotland’s most iconic locations. It is fantastic to see the service we offer recognised.”

The business, which has set sail with Ewan Macgregor and the Olympic torch aboard their boats, was singled out for sustained investment over its 50 years in operation.

After years of investment the business now runs five boats from the bank of the loch and employs 18 people, many of whom have been with them for more than 20 years. In 2018, the business launched a new custom designed catamaran – The Spirit of Loch Ness – allowing them to set sail with 354 passengers across all their vessels.

Meanwhile, Conlon fought off competition from across the UK to secure the Young Entrepreneur of the Year title for her interiors firm ThePropertyStagers.

The 20-year-old from Bothwell, South Lanarkshire, founded her company four years ago.

The Property Stagers now furnishes 300 properties per year across the UK, provides a range of services, and turns over £1 million annually – up from £30,000 a year when it was established.

ThePropertyStagers CEO Conlon said: “This accolade is the culmination of years of hard work. I’m thrilled that the FSB has chosen to highlight me as a rising star in the world of business.

“My business wouldn’t be the success it is today without the support of our team. We take great pride in the high quality service we offer our customers and it is fantastic to see this diligence pay off. I have huge plans for the future but it is great to be recognised for all that I’ve achieved so far.”

The awards ceremony took place at Battersea in London on Thursday, attracting 600 guests from across the UK, including Chancellor Philip Hammond. Eleven businesses scooped 12 UK-wide prizes at the event.