The firm won Scottish Exporter of the Year at the Scottish Export Awards, sponsored by HSBC in association with Scottish Enterprise.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and entrepreneur Fraser Doherty both took to the stage to address the 500+ people who filled the Hilton Hotel Glasgow for the fifth annual awards, sponsored by HSBC and delivered in association with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “These Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the international success of some of our most ambitious businesses. They have all successfully identified and seized new export opportunities around the world.
“They represent a great example of what we want to see: globally successful Scottish companies producing cutting edge, high quality goods and services. In doing so, they are expanding their businesses, boosting Scotland’s economy and enhancing our international reputation.”
Winning the overall award after securing the Large Exporter of the Year category, and with more than seventy years of export experience to thirty countries, the Bridge of Weir Leather Company is export focussed, and has always been looking for the best potential markets for its products.
Karen Marshall, managing director of Bridge of Weir Leather, said: “For me it’s a privilege to be recognised, but it’s not about me, it’s about the more than 500 people who work for us. We are a manufacturing company and this success is in some part down to every single person who works for us day in day out from the people selling the leather to the people doing the manufacturing, so it’s a privilege to have this recognition for the hard work that they do.”
Now focussed on supplying leather to the automotive sector, they had previously been engaged in supplying the overseas furniture industry.
Historically Bridge of Weir's roots can be traced back to 1758, seven generations of family involvement in leather manufacture.
Bridge of Weir is the UK's only leather manufacturer of leather for the automotive industry and as part of the parent company Scottish Leather Group operates one of the largest tanning groups in Europe. Their customers include Volvo, Mercedes, and McLaren.
Last year’s winner, John McGavigan, was recognised for the third consecutive year, this time as Scale-Up Exporter of the Year, whilst last year’s Ecommerce Exporter of the Year, Trtl, walked away with the Small Exporter prize for 2018. Food and drink firm Pure Malt Products were also double award winners on the night.
BQ’s account director David Townsley opened the awards, commending the exporter of Scotland for their commitment to developing and deepening their international trade activity. He said: “To have had so many business enter the awards, and so many with amazing stories to tell, is really encouraging. Each year we hear brand new stories of businesses who are creating jobs as they increase their export markets.”
Alison McGregor, the CEO of HSBC Scotland, said: “The Scottish Export Awards 2018 are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our exporters in Scotland. Congratulations to Bridge of Weir Leather for being named Scottish Exporter of the Year and to all the companies who have won awards for their success in exporting their products and services around the world.”
The full list of winners included:
Ecommerce Exporter of the Year: Freeze Pro Shop
Most Entrepreneurial Exporter of the Year: SST Sensing
Commendation: Scottish Salmon Company
Micro Exporter of the Year: Cut Media
Small Exporter of the Year: Trtl
Commendation: Aqualife Services
Large Exporter of the Year: Bridge of Weir Leather
Export Team of the Year: Pure Malt Products Ltd
High Growth Markets Exporter of the Year: Teknek UK
Scale Up Exporter of the Year: John McGavigan
Commendation: ARX Maritime
Emerging Markets Exporter of the Year: Pure Malt Products Ltd
Winner of the Scottish Export of the Year sponsored by HSBC in association with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise: Bridge of Weir Leather
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