ENTRIES have been flooding in to The Herald's Scottish Family Business Awards from a wide range of sectors.

Organisers said they have been delighted with the response so far and are hopeful of further applications from across the country prior the nomination process closing on October 25. Companies from the rural and agricultural sectors through to family run businesses in the service industries are among those to already have submitted entries.

Hugh Lightbody, chief officer at the Business Gateway National Unit, said: "We know the important role that family businesses play in the Scottish economy and that is reflected in our support, as title sponsor, of The Herald Family Business Awards.

"Business Gateway supports thousands of existing businesses and start-ups across Scotland every year through our local offices, website, business advisers and extensive business workshop programme. Business Gateway isn't a service solely for start-ups. Our function is to support every Scottish SME whatever stage they are at in the business cycle and, in particular, those with growth potential and that is why in addition to our support for the awards, we are also sponsor of the Fastest Growing Business category.

"For example, Scotlight, a family business based in Peeblesshire, has been working closely with our business advisers to help it grow and develop its marketing strategy. The business now exports to Europe, has 21 staff and has seen a 30% increase in turnover in the last year. They also now generate 70% of their sales from e-commerce alone.

"I look forward to the awards being announced and I would encourage all Scottish family businesses to enter."

A gala ceremony to announce the winners takes place on December 4 at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.

Alastair Christmas, regional director for west of Scotland at Clydesdale Bank, said: "We at Clydesdale Bank are pleased to be working with the Scottish Family Business Awards. Scotland has many examples of successful family businesses across a variety of business sectors that have grown enormously but retain not just their family ownership but their family outlook. It is right and proper that we celebrate these successes and the families behind them, as they provide an example to all of us of how 'small' can be 'strong' and how 'growth' need not mean changing who you fundamentally are.

"By talking, working and celebrating together, we can all learn how to improve and how best we can support each other for a brighter, more prosperous Scotland - something we all want."

Previous winners include hotel and leisure complex Auchrannie on Arran, engineering firm Booth Welsh, Apex Hotels and country clothing retailer A Hume.

Peter Lawson, corporate finance partner at Burness Paull, said: "Family businesses form the bedrock of the Scottish economy, accounting for [around] 70% of Scottish businesses and employing more than 50% of the Scottish private sector workforce. Many of these family businesses are looking at exciting international opportunities for growth and Burness Paull is extremely proud to be the sponsor of the International Growth category at the forthcoming Family Business Awards."

The awards feature categories for small/medium and large family business of the year, innovation, community commitment, fastest growing, international growth, professional advisor to family businesses, customer service excellence, large and small rural family business and a chairman's award for someone who has made a major contribution to the family business sector.

Fraser Campbell, partner at Campbell Dallas said: "Family businesses make up 73% of Scottish businesses. Their success is vital to the wider business community's health. At Campbell Dallas, we are proud to work in partnership with our family business clients, ensuring they meet their own business objectives and continue to thrive and grow. The Scottish Family Business Awards help champion the abilities and achievements of the family businesses at the heart of the Scottish economy and we are honoured to support such a worthy cause".

Other supporters of the awards include Craig Corporate, the Grand Central Hotel and TL Dallas.

Further details are available at www.herald-events.com/ familybusiness or by calling Lyndsay Wilson on 0141 302 7407.