Marie Macklin has been named business woman of the year at a ceremony to recognise the achievements of entrepreneurial females across Scotland.
The announcement was made last night at a dinner organised by Business Women Scotland (BWS) and Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES), where eight other awards were given out along with Macklin’s accolade.
Among others was a lifetime achievement award for Jackie Brierton of GrowBiz in Perthshire, while the business of the year went to Re-Tek headed by Evelyn Toma.
“It is fantastic to be recognised as business woman of the year by an organisation that I truly value and support,” Ayrshire-based Macklin said.
“I am passionate about supporting entrepreneurs but even more so about encouraging women to take on leading roles within business as that will truly help to grow Scotland’s economy. I hope that my achievements encourage other female entrepreneurs to be ambitious and dream big.”
Before establishing Macklin Enterprise Partnerships in 2015, she overhauled Kilmarnock-based Klin Group, a construction business founded by her father, into a property development company specialising in economic and social transformation. After acquiring Klin Group in 2003, she was the first developer to locate a Morrisons supermarket in Scotland as part of an £85m regeneration development.
Macklin is also founder and director of HALO Kilmarnock, the £65m redevelopment of the former Diageo bottling plant. The regeneration of the 23-acre site is expected to generate £53m in GDP for Kilmarnock and £65m for Scotland.
She is also founder and director of HALO Belfast, which aims to bring the HALO concept to Northern Ireland. She was named female business leader of the year at the 2016 Scottish Business Awards, and earlier this year was named non-executive director of the year by the Institute of Directors Scotland.
Brierton is an active mentor for a wide range of businesses and has been influential in women’s enterprise development, policy and advocacy for 20 years in the UK and internationally. She was an advisor to the UK Government’s small business service policy unit for women’s enterprise, and was appointed UK expert for the European Commission’s “Encouraging Female Entrepreneurship” initiative in 2014.
Based in East Kilbride, Toma’s Re-Tek was named business of the year in recognition of its growth from regional IT disposal company to one of the top 10 in its sector in the UK. During the past seven years, sales have grown by 200 per cent and profit is up by almost 2,000 per cent.
The awards were attended by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who took the opportunity to announce that a range of measures will share in £230,000 of funding to tackle the gender gap and help break down some of the barriers that prevent women from achieving equality in business.
“These inspiring women are showing what can be done, but we are under no illusion that it is still much more difficult for women than men to achieve their full potential in business,” she said. “The gender gap, although narrowing, is still an unfortunate reality.”
Other winners on the evening were: start-up business of the year – Sara Roberts, Healthy Nibbles; growth business of the year – Joanne Chidley, Beauty Kitchen; best use of social media – Kirsty Lunn, Molke; international growth business of the year – Dianne Teo, T30 fitness training; mentor of the year – Clair Smith, Enterprising Eastern Perthshire; highly commended in business woman of the year category – Jane Stewart, William Tracey Group; and employer of the year – Stephanie Stubbs, Hickory Foods.
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