Business Oscars nomination for Scottish community project set-up
By Alastair Reed
Loch Fyne Oysters, the Argyll-based seafood company, is in line for one of the UK’s leading business awards after setting up a successful community project.
The employee-owned business, which is situated at the head of Loch Fyne in Argyll, has been selected as one of five finalists for the Social Enterprise Award at the National Business Awards – otherwise known as the ‘Business Oscars’.
Loch Fyne, which was set up as a small oyster farm based on the Ardkinglas Estate in the late 1970s, has quickly grown into the largest producer of oysters in the UK and now sells to more than 22 countries worldwide.
But it is not the rate of business growth that has attracted the plaudits. Nor is it the famous Cairndow Oyster Bar, perhaps best known for the recent car-park chat between Gordon Brown and John Prescott in which it is alleged they carved up the future of the Labour Party leadership.
In 2000, Loch Fyne decided to return something to the community. It set up the Loch Fyne Trust with the aim of relieving poverty, advancing education and protecting the environment, ‘particularly within Scotland and the area around the head of Loch Fyne’. Recent projects have included local fundraising events for schools, arts organisations and communities, as well as fundraising for Macmillan Cancer and local hospices.
And during the next year it has lined up a number of projects, including a habitat improvement and monitoring system within Loch Fyne, as well as additional support for local community childcare facilities.
After giving a presentation before a judging panel in London on 11 October, the winner will be announced on 9 November at an awards dinner at The Grosvenor Hotel on Park Lane.
At the awards, Loch Fyne will be up against FRC Group, Greenwich Leisure, The Day Chocolate Company, and the Thames & Chiltern Trust.
Loch Fyne employs more than 100 permanent staff, many of whom have been at the company since it was established. Each employee owns shares in the business and is able to influence business decisions through an employee-elected directors’ scheme.