THE achievements of businesses and individuals in the North East have been recognised with the announcement of the winners of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in this, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.
The standard of this year’s entries for the business awards has been the highest ever, with nearly 25% gaining an award.
Twelve businesses in the North East are celebrating as winners in the fields of International Trade and Innovation.
Two inspiring individuals from the region have also been granted the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion. The award is based on nominations of individuals who give their time, knowledge and experience to promote the growth of business enterprise and/or entrepreneurial skills and attitudes in others.
As the new Queen’s Award secretary this year, I’ve been inspired by the great work taking place by businesses of all sizes, in spite of the gloomy economic conditions, and the stories of people’s dedication to encouraging UK entrepreneurship.
The awards demonstrate the exporting strength of businesses in the North East with 11 companies gaining a Queen’s Award for International Trade.
Two very small companies become first-time winners.
Integrated Display Systems Ltd, with eight employees, and Seaward Electronic Limited (Rigel Medical Division), with 18 members of staff, win for outstanding achievement in growth in overseas earnings.
Pearson-Harper Ltd wins for exports accounting for 75% of turnover, contributing to overseas earnings growth of just under 100%.
After more than 40 years of export activity, Peel Jones Copper Products Limited continue to expand their international operations with exports now representing 96% of turnover and five new markets entered in the last three years.
Immunodiagnostic Systems Ltd wins a Queen’s Award for the third time, on this occasion for its continuous improvement in export sales and overall company growth.
Rayovac Micropower, a division of Spectrum Brands (UK) Ltd, has won for the second successive year, this time for its continuous improvement in export sales.
Walker Filtration Limited, winner for the fourth time in its history, designs and manufactures a vast range of compressed air and vacuum pump filtration and drying products for industrial and medical applications.
Soil Machine Dynamics Limited is a first-time winner. The company, a niche market operator that designs and manufactures sub-sea equipment and remotely operated equipment for hazardous environments, uses its engineering and manufacturing capabilities to maintain and grow its market position.
At the larger end of the spectrum, Culpitt Limited, manufacturer of cake and food decorations, wins the International Trade Award for the first time for growth in overseas earnings and workforce, turnover and profit.
Union Electric Steel UK manufactures and supplies cast rolls for the ferrous and non-ferrous metal forming industries.
It exports over 80% of is product worldwide with its top five customers spanning three continents.
Last, but by no means least, Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK Ltd’s Sunderland Plant wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade – for the fifth time.
Pearson Engineering Limited is the sole North East winner of the Queen’s Awards for Innovation for its latest range of counter-mine and counter-Improvised Explosive Device (IED) equipment.
Used in Iraq and Afghanistan, the equipment has triggered hundreds of IEDs that would otherwise have detonated under vehicles, undoubtedly saving many soldiers’ lives.
Up to 10 individuals’ activities may be rewarded with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion each year, with an additional award for lifetime achievement.
Professor Brian Tanner is currently professor of physics and dean of knowledge transfer at Durham University.
His involvement in enterprise promotion spans over 30 years, having led the development of an enterprise culture at Durham and other universities across the region.
Mr Sandy Ogilvie retired as the chief executive of Project North East (PNE) in April 2011 after 11 years in the job.
During his stewardship of PNE Group, its loan funds made ‘micro finance’ loans to over 1,000 small businesses in the North East, built new premises in Gateshead and Newcastle and refurbished several old buildings to create more workspace for new and growing businesses.
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the highest accolade a UK business can receive.
I hope these stories will show that any company, irrespective of size or sector, has the potential to claim that prize and that more high-performing businesses in the North East will be inspired to have a go this year.
Full details on the categories, criteria and closing date for entries can be found at: www.queensawards.org.uk