News story

'Best of British' enterprise celebrated on Her Majesty the Queen's birthday

230 businesses from across the UK recognised for their contribution.

Queen's Award for Enterprise crystal bowl (credit: Geraint Lewis)
  • established in 1965, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is the most prestigious business award in the UK
  • record 152 businesses receive awards for international trade including Harrison Spinks, an innovative bed manufacturer in Leeds
  • entries for 2019 awards open on 8 May

A fifth generation family bed manufacturing business and a small software developer whose technology helps pilots fly safely around Europe are among a record 152 winners of a Queen’s Award for international trade it was confirmed today (21 April) as Her Majesty celebrates her 92nd birthday.

Now in its 52nd year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is the most prestigious business award in the country, with winners recognised as being among the best in the country and able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next 5 years.

This year, a total of 230 businesses from across the UK were recognised for their contribution in 4 categories:

  • international trade
  • innovation
  • sustainable development
  • promoting opportunity

Winners include businesses leading the way in a broad range of industries – from agricultural technology and sustainable goods production, to innovative software and healthcare.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

The UK has some of the most entrepreneurial and innovative minds in the world delivering jobs, growth and greater choice for consumers and I am proud to see a wealth of these businesses being recognised today.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy – 99% of UK firms are small and over 1,000 new businesses start every day. Through our Industrial Strategy we are building a Britain in which they will continue to thrive.

One such winner is Harrison Spinks, a bed manufacturer, which has received 2 awards for international trade and innovation. The British brand sells to 50 countries and exports now make up 25% of the company’s sales. The family business has developed a number of industry firsts including the creation of its own patented spring making machines and development of a unique grade of wire rod with British Steel, allowing fine wire to be drawn at high speeds.

Simon Spinks, Managing Director of Harrison Spinks, said:

To be granted 2 more Queen’s Awards is a huge honour. Since the company was established in 1840, we have always strived to innovate and go about our business in a different way, from creating new ways to manufacture springs to cultivating our farm to grow our own natural fillings.

We’re delighted to be recognised for our successes here and overseas by the most prestigious enterprise awards in the UK.

SkyDemon, a software developer, was awarded 2 Queen’s Awards – 1 for international trade and 1 for innovation. The small business in Somerset develops software used by pilots to plan and navigate their flights throughout Europe. It has seen overseas sales soar since its launch in 2009.

Tim Dawson, SkyDemon founder and Managing Director, said:

Using my software skills to make flying easier and safer was a challenge I set myself when I earned my pilot’s license 12 years ago. We are now the market leaders in this industry in Europe. Today’s announcement of our double Queen’s Award, for innovation and for international trade, is a huge boost for us as a company and goes to show that even the smallest businesses can have the biggest impact.

The breakdown of today’s 230 awards include:

  • 152 winners of the international trade award - a record number
  • 72 winners of the innovation award
  • 8 winners of the sustainable development award
  • 6 winners for the promoting opportunity award

Eight businesses have won 2 awards this year, receiving awards for both international trade and innovation:

  • DNAFit Ltd, a business in London using genetics to personalise exercise and eating plans
  • Harrison Spinks, a Leeds-based family business with a novel process for manufacturing luxury mattresses and pocket spring components for furniture, footwear and automotive industries
  • Lumishore, a manufacturer in Swansea of underwater LED lighting for leisure marine vessels
  • Omnitek, a manufacturer in Hampshire of equipment for all areas of audio and video broadcasting
  • Resilience Communications Limited, a Cornish electronics company that has created a solution to radio incompatibility
  • SkyDemon, a developer in Somerset of software used by pilots to plan and navigate flights throughout Europe
  • Solentim Ltd, a Dorset developer of a high-resolution imaging tool for use in the life sciences industry
  • Telensa, a Cambridge manufacturer of wireless streetlight controls that accurately meter and reduce electricity usage

According to research by the University of Strathclyde, 73% of international trade award winners between 2012 and 2015 directly attributed increased international sales to winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The winners will attend a royal reception at Buckingham Palace in the summer to celebrate the Awards. Entry to the 2019 Awards opens on 8 May 2018 and closes on 12 September 2018.

Published 21 April 2018