Brian Horisk was lucky enough to go 'behind the scenes' at ambitious businesses across Fife as a judge in the 2019 Fife Business Awards. Here he describes the experience:
The sun was finally up, the mist was sinking into the Eden valley, the ice was starting to melt on the puddles and I was already driving to my second appointment, excited about the day ahead of me – and feeling privileged to get a day like this to drive around Fife.
I was on my first day of ‘Behind the Scenes’ visits as a judge in the 2019 Fife Business Awards. Towards the end of last year we’d spent 3 days meeting every finalist in a small room at Rothes Halls. I enjoyed all those meetings, but now we were getting to see all those bright ideas, ambitions and business plans in the flesh.
Over the next two weeks, Alan Mitchell, Chief Executive of Fife Chamber, some of the sponsoring judges and myself got to visit almost every type of business in Fife. Businesses employing one person to over five hundred. Businesses established for over 150 years to brand new start-ups. Businesses in every sector - industrial, food, engineering, technology, retail, wholesale, tourism, education and charities. High-tech, to extremely low-tech. Businesses serving the local market, and those spanning the globe. We covered the length and breadth of Fife from North Queensferry to St Andrews. We saw the best of Fife’s spectacular scenery - and to be fair, some less spectacular industrial estates.
There are too many highlights to mention, but a few which stood out for me were the beehives at the Fairmont Hotel; the spectacular views from Balmeadowside Country Lodges; the huge range of goods at Stuart’s Bakers (I love a good factory visit); and seeing the magic of the outdoors working on kids at The Ecology Centre. Our last visit was to perhaps the smallest premises, which also smelt the best – Willow & Plum Soap, hand-made in a garden shed in Kinglassie.
I’m now looking forward to meeting all the finalists again at the finalists reception in February, and seeing the winners be revealed at the Awards Ceremony on the 29th of March.