Responsible roofer reaps rewards

Press Releases 1 Apr 2022

A Lanarkshire roofer that helped vulnerable customers during lockdown and set up an academy to train new roofing talent scooped two prizes at FSB in Scotland’s Celebrating Small Business Awards today, sponsored by Sky Connect.

DMG Services Group, located in Bellshill, won the Start-Up Business of the Year award (sponsored by Business Gateway) and the Community Award (sponsored by Skills Development Scotland) at a ceremony in Edinburgh.

The business fixed the roof free of charge for a family who were victims of a rogue trader and offered free repairs to of any pensioners in their local village facing problems during the pandemic. In addition, the academy has allowed several local unemployed people to start apprenticeships in roofing since it was opened in December 2021.

Darren McGhee, managing director of DMG Services Group, said: “The last two years has been very difficult for my business. But we rose to the challenge and found ways not only to do our job differently but to give back to the local community.

“I’m a third-generation roofer and care deeply about my trade. These awards are testament to the hard work of my team.”

Other winners include a Peterhead fish wholesaler that switched to e-commerce during the pandemic; a Caithness distillery that allows customers to refill their ceramic bottles; and a Melrose knitwear company that now sells to 23 countries.  

Amity Fish, led by Jimmy Buchan, star of the BBC’s Trawlermen TV series won the Digital Business of the Year award sponsored by Tyl by Natwest. Dunnet Bay Distillers, who produce Rock Rose Gin, were awarded the Environmental Award. Eribé Knitwear, founded in 1986 and now turns around a £1million a year, scooped the International Business of the Year Award.

Andy Aird, FSB’s Scotland Chair, said: “We’ve got many businesses here that found opportunities in the difficulties of the covid crisis. Others are using digital technologies to boost productivity and to find new customers. Lastly, these winners exemplify responsible business either through action to help the environment or activity to help their local community.

“Our award winners really demonstrate the strength and depth in Scotland’s small business community.”

The small business campaign group had almost 400 entries to their awards from up and down Scotland. Nominees and entrants were recognised at a special event at the Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh.

Winners from each category secure a spot at the prestigious UK final to be held in Glasgow in May have a chance to be crowned the UK Small Business of the Year. 

Notes

  • The FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards recognise and celebrate the huge contribution that smaller businesses and the self-employed make to the UK’s prosperity – the innovators, our economic drivers – the backbone of our communities.  
  • Photos from the event are available
  • As experts in business, FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in Government. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk

Full list of FSB Awards winners

The Business and Product Innovation Award, sponsored by DigitalBoost, went to F&A Younger of Old Leckie Farm in Stirlingshire. Fergus and Alison Younger pride themselves on revolutionising the family farm business model – leaving behind traditional sales models at the beginning of the pandemic in favour of a bespoke e-commerce site with a subscription service that has seen their sales skyrocket.

DMG Services Group of Bellshill have the honour this year of taking home not one but two top prizes. Firstly, the Business Gateway sponsored Start-Up Business of the Year award reflects the success of their brand new roofing academy, set up late last year to collaborate with local schools and provide opportunities for local young people. This commitment to fulfilling a need in the community, in addition to the free repairs DMG provided for vulnerable individuals during lockdown, led the roofing company scoop the Community Award, sponsored by Skills Development Scotland.


Like so many small businesses, Amity Fish Company Ltd in Peterhead had to pivot their sales model at the beginning of the pandemic, and their efforts have seen them reel in the Digital/E-Commerce Business of the Year award, sponsored by Tyl by Natwest. Before Covid, their business catered largely to restaurants, but when these sales dried up Amity were able to not only survive but thrive by turning to e-commerce. They built a custom service which allowed them to sell directly to customers, which has only grown from strength to strength since 2020.


Our Environmental Award was given to Dunnet Bay Distillers of Caithness. The makers of Rock Rose Gin and Holy Grass vodka have taken a number of innovative steps to reduce their carbon footprint and meet their ambitious target of becoming net zero by 2030. They were the first distillery to launch refill pouches so that customers are able to save money and carbon emissions by only purchasing one of their iconic ceramic bottles and top it up with recyclable pouches.

For the second year in a row, Outside In Garden Rooms are winners – this time in the Family Business of the Year award, sponsored by Aldermore. Following their success in the start up category last year, sisters Mel and Wendy have seen their business grow dramatically as more people spent time at home and in the garden over the past few years.

Winners of the High Growth Business of the Year award are Aberdeen-based Appetite for Business. They have seen significant growth in the last few years by recognising the need for digital transformation faced by so many companies of all kinds. This consultancy has succeeded by crafting a solution that allows small and medium sized businesses to adopt new digital technologies as smoothly as possible and stay connected in times of great change.

Eribé Knitwear, based in Melrose, take home this year’s International Business of the Year award. By anticipating many of the problems that would be associated with Brexit, Eribé Knitwear were able to set up a satellite distribution centre in the EU which allowed them to continue trading with customers across Europe.

Gairloch Canoe and Kayak Centre are the winners of the Micro Business of the Year award, sponsored by Sky Connect. In recent years, the centre has diversified to offer a wide range of outdoor and water-bound activities to meet customer demand, from stand-up paddle boarding to mountain foraging.

The winner of the Self Employed/Sole Trader of the Year award, sponsored by NatWest, is Inksters Solicitor. Founder Brian Inkster operates as a sole trader with a range of self-employed solicitors in a successful spoke-and-wheel model, which means that the collective can operate across Scotland.

The Wellbeing Award has been given to Riverside Chiropractic Group in Aberdeen. The practice was established more than 40 years and has been carrying out its mission to provide multi-disciplinary care to the local community ever since. By grounding their ethos in the community, the Riverside Chiropractic Group ensure that they provide the best and most appropriate care for everyone they treat.


Our champion in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award is Claudia Kirkwood, of Super Simple Websites. Claudia started her business as a side hustle during her days at university, and has since gone on to expand into a full time career making websites for SMEs. Claudia recognised that web design and development is a field that can be overrun with technical jargon, and small business owners are often left overwhelmed as they try to juggle starting up their own business. Claudia’s mission has been to ensure that she provides websites that are easy to use and understand to allow her clients to confidently get on with running their business.