Scottish Export Awards 2017

2017 Scottish Exporter of the Year crown for John McGavigan

Also taking home the award for large exporter of the year, the Glasgow-headquartered firm became the overall winner at last night’s event, just one year after their first entry secured them a commendation from the judges.

More than 470 people filled the Hilton Hotel Glasgow for the fourth annual awards, supported by HSBC and delivered in association with Scottish Enterprise.

The judges felt John McGavigan’s story was an inspiring one. Its roots go back to the original family printing firm in 1861, which has continuously innovated to meet changing customer demands, and has internationalised in the process. 

Not only has the company carved out a niche for itself in the ultra-competitive automotive sector, but it is also operating in some of the most-exciting high-growth markets, including China.

Steve Mathers, director of John McGavigan, said of their double win: "We are extremely privileged, and very happy, to take home these awards. It's an honour to be amongst exporters who are doing so well. 

"Our company history has been to export, and over 80% of what we produce goes outside of the UK. To be recognised and rewarded for this is very important, not just for the company but for the team who work within the business. This has been achieved by them."

In a night which celebrated the diversity of exporting achievements in Scotland, retailer TRTL won with their unique travel pillow, organic chocolatiers Chocolate & Love took home the micro exporter of the year award, and photonics technology firm M Squared were also named amongst the winners.

BQ managing director Bryan Hoare said the judges had seen a significant increase in the numbers of quality applications this year. “There’s a real sense of pride amongst Scottish firms when they consider their achievements in export, and we’ve seen that in spades during this year’s competition.

“As we work to recognise those businesses who lead the way, and inspire more to follow in their footsteps, we couldn’t be more proud to work with these exceptional exporters, helping to showcase their stories”.

Alison McGregor, the CEO of HSBC Scotland, said: “The Export Awards are always a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the diverse range of exporting successes across Scotland. We are continually witnessing Scottish businesses of all sizes benefitting from international trade opportunities and the number of nominees seen tonight is testament to Scotland’s exporting strengths.

“All winners and nominees have demonstrated real ambition by expanding overseas and we hope to see more of this trend in the future.”

Managing director of Scottish Development International, Paul Lewis said: “Congratulations to all of the winners from last night’s awards ceremony. Scotland’s strong track record for exporting goods and services all over the world is testament to the strength of our innovative, ambitious and forward thinking companies and last night was a great opportunity to recognise these strengths and celebrate their achievements.   

“Helping to grow exporting from Scotland remains a priority for us and we will continue to work with as many companies as possible to help them open up new opportunities and new markets, in order to achieve their growth ambitions”.

The full list of winners included:


E-Commerce Exporter of the Year Award


Highly Commended Recognition to Alex Begg & Co


Most Entrepreneurial Exporter of the Year

Scotmas Group

Highly Commended Recognition to TRTL


Micro Exporter of the Year

Chocolate & Love

Highly Commended Recognition to Schoolhill Engineering


Small Exporter of the Year

M Squared

Highly Commended Recognition to Westeross Fisheries


Large Exporter of the Year

John McGavigan

Highly Commended Recognition to Balmoral Offshore Engineering


Scottish Export Team of the Year

Paragon Inks

Highly Commended Recognition to Ecosse Subsea Systems


High Growth Markets Exporter of the Year

Churchill Drilling Tools


HSBC Scottish Exporter of the Year in association with Scottish Enterprise

John McGavigan

Published: 22 March 2017

Article by Suzy Jackson
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