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Jimmy Buchan lands top UK small business award

Jimmy Buchan of Amity Fish Co said after winning the top award: "never give up on your dreams. All things are possible."
Jimmy Buchan of Amity Fish Co said after winning the top award: "never give up on your dreams. All things are possible."

Jimmy Buchan of Peterhead’s Amity Fish Company netted the top prize at a national competition for small businesses.

The Trawlermen TV series star and chief executive of the Scottish Seafood Association (SSA) beat out more than 3,000 other entrants and dozens of regional and national winners to clinch the the overall prize at the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Celebrating Small Business Awards.

The FSB said the company’s ingenuity and resilience had impressed the judges as it made the switch from exclusively supplying restaurants and the hospitality trade to delivering seafood products directly to people in their homes during the pandemic.

Jimmy Buchan wins top trophy with FSB national chair Martin McTague at the UK-wide FSB Celebrating Small Business awrds 2022 Awards. Photo Erikka Askeland/DCT Media

This is the third year in the row that a business based in Scotland has been crowned overall UK champion at the FSB awards. Last year Woodlands Glencoe hoisted the national award.

More than 500 guests celebrated the annual ceremony held this year in Glasgow.

The event was hosted by TV personalities Clare Balding and JJ Chalmers, while Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon took to the stage to welcome the audience of small business owners from across the UK.

Amity had earlier in the day won the gong for digital/ ecommerce business of the year.

Although its move into online delivery was only intended to be a temporary until the hospitality sector reopened, it found demand for home delivery grew.

The Peterhead firm went on to invest in a new custom-built website and e-commerce platform that allows customers to easily land their catch which led to the business doubling turnover and increasing headcount.

Jimmy Buchan’s first trophy of the day. Photo Erikka Askeland/DCT Media

Collecting his first award of the day, Buchan joked: “It’s not often I’m speechless.”

As he took to the stage the second time for the main award, he paid tribute to the role his daughter, Jenna Urquhart, plays in the business.

He said: “I am stunned that our wee business has been crowned FSB’s UK small business of the year.

“I have worked in the fishing industry for more than four decades, and the last few years have been amongst the most challenging on record.

“But thanks to the dedication and ingenuity of my team, not only have we made it through but we’re landing new customers.

“The biggest learning curce I’ve had is you need to put together the right team. You can’t do this solo. To grow you need to be surrounded by good people. It happens that one of them is my daughter.”

All things are possible

Speaking to the Press and Journal, Buchan said: “I founded the company but I can’t emphasise enough that behind me is a young team that share my vision on a daily basis, and have gelled and worked together.

“Most of them are part-time mums working nights making the Amity dream work.

“There are no words but a special thank you to them.

“Can I just say to other people, never give up on your dreams. All things are possible. I am testament to that today.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon: Smaller businesses are critically important to our local economies and communities.”

Nicola Sturgeon said: “Smaller businesses are critically important to our local economies and communities.

“It is a ringing endorsement of our entrepreneurial spirit that, for the third year in a row, FSB’s small business of the year is based in Scotland.

“I congratulate Amity Fish Company – a business that rose to the many challenges the pandemic posed, seeking out new opportunities in exceptionally tough conditions.”

Martin McTague, national chair of FSB, said: “It’s been an almost impossible task to try and choose an overall winner.

“Congratulations to Amity Fish Company; a company that innovated to survive through the pandemic, adopting digital skills.

“It takes grit and talent to thrive in the face of constant challenges but, despite all the headwind, this is a brilliant example of ingenuity, innovation, creativity – a perfect illustration of how vital small businesses are to the economy and to our communities.”

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