Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) received this year’s SCDI President’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Scotland at the Highlands & Islands Business Excellence Awards 2015 Dinner in Inverness on Friday (11 September).
In a surprise award on the evening, SCDI chair, Brendan Dick, made the presentation – on behalf of SCDI president, Lady Susan Rice CBE – in recognition of the contribution that HIE, and its predecessor Highlands and Islands Development Board (HIDB), have made to Scotland over the past 50 years.
Presenting the President’s Award, SCDI chair, Brendan Dick, said: “Over these past 50 years, the Highlands and Islands Development Board, and subsequently Highlands and Islands Enterprise, have shown what can be achieved by an organisation focused on the economic and community needs of an area.
“We have seen over this time a region that capitalised on the energy sector, attracting investment and playing a vital role in fabricating the rigs which still stand proudly in the North Sea today.
“We have seen a region that benefited from investment which brought transport connections in the 20th century, and which is finally seeing the investment that will bring many of those vital connections up to 21st century requirements.
“We have seen a region with a proud heritage become the home to some of our country’s greatest exports, such as world-class seafood, whisky and textiles amongst others, and a place to stay for an increasing number of visitors from around the globe.
“Through continued recognition of the challenges faced across the Highlands and Islands region, through drive and determination, and through a listening ear and supportive action, HIE have been a tremendous asset for Scotland.”
Professor Lorne Crerar, HIE chairman, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award on behalf of everyone who has worked with and for HIE and HIDB over the past fifty years. Their hard work, along with the ambition of communities and businesses and collaboration from partner organisations, has helped to bring about a remarkable transformation in the region. Population has increased, unemployment is lower than average and several growth sectors such as life sciences, renewable energy and creative industries have emerged. While the future will always be our priority, it does no harm to occasionally remind ourselves just how far the region has come and its modern day attractiveness as a place to live, work, study and invest.”