Family businesses are the backbone of the Scottish economy and as the country seeks to recover from the pandemic, these businesses, with their local roots and outward-looking attitude have an important part to play in getting the country working again.

This year The Herald Scottish Family Business Awards in association with Business Gateway will recognise those family businesses that are doing an outstanding job and there is still time to enter before the deadline for entries closes on Monday, October 18.

There are 12 categories in total covering everything from Fastest Growing Family Business Award and Business Innovation Award to Recognition Award which will acknowledge the contribution made by one member of staff to the business for which they work.

One company hoping to make its mark when the winners are announced on Wednesday, December 8 is Brea, a Scottish restaurant set in the heart of Stirling.

Brea is a candidate for the Customer Service Excellence award and even after the challenges of the last 18 months, owners Gillian and Rob Morton are still putting customers at the centre of everything they do.

When they set up the restaurant in 2016 they decided to focus on serving Scottish food and using the best local produce they could find, including hand-dived scallops from the west coast, beers and ciders from Scottish producers and venison from the hills behind Stirling.

Chef Stuart McPherson, who has a background in Michelin-starred restaurants, is, says Gillian, a perfectionist and works only with the finest ingredients.

“We also make sure that all of our waiting staff are knowledgeable about the dishes that they are serving and the drinks on offers so they can give customers the story behind the food on their plate,” says Gillian.

The restaurant takes staff welfare seriously and chefs work just four days a week.

“If the staff are happy then customers can sense this and then they have a much better experience,” says Gillian

The restaurant attracts both local diners and an international clientele and the number of five star reviews on TripAdvisor speak for themselves.

A win in The Herald Scottish Family Business Awards would be another important accolade for this thriving business that has focused on making the customer experience the best it can be.

Supporting the awards are a number of organisations that recognise the importance of family businesses and seek to encourage their ambitions.

Hugh Lightbody, Chief Officer, Business Gateway National Unit, said, the event sponsor, says: “Scottish family businesses have been incredibly resilient throughout the pandemic. They have also demonstrated a willingness to take on innovative strategies as they have worked to pivot and adapt to the challenges brought on by lockdown and restrictions.

“Now, with a look to the future, these awards offer a welcome opportunity to take stock and celebrate these efforts across the Scottish business community.”

Specialist consultancy firm, Family Business Solutions, are sponsoring the Rural Family Business of the Year category and Billy Andrew of  Family Business Solutions said: “This is a great opportunity for family businesses to receive some well-deserved recognition, and to highlight the important role they play in Scotland’s economy.”

The Scottish Family Business of the Year (large) award is sponsored by accountancy and business advisers group, Azets UK and Graham Cunning, Corporate Finance Partner at Azets, says: “Family businesses, particularly over the last 18 months, have remained doggedly determined and shown their resilience as they navigated the twin challenges of a global pandemic and life after Brexit.

“Always innovative, they have found different ways to continue to achieve their strategic ambitions by changing and adapting the way they do business.

“The Herald Scottish Family Business Awards celebrates the continued achievements of family businesses, and those who lead them. There is no better year to look back, reflect and take time to celebrate the successes of family businesses and their vital contribution to the Scottish economy.”

Also supporting this year’s awards is University of Strathclyde Business School which is sponsoring the Outstanding Contribution category, which will recognise a team or individual that has made a significant contribution to a Scottish headquartered business.

The Herald Scottish Family Business Awards in association with Business Gateway will take place on Wednesday, 8 December.