North West firms honoured in Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2018

Emma and Stephen Trollope of The Temporary Kitchen Company

More than 20 North West companies have been successful in this year’s Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.

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 five years.

This year, a total of 230 businesses from across the UK were recognised for their contribution in four categories: international trade, innovation, sustainable development and 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.”

The region was well represented in the international trade sector, with 15 companies picking up awards.

Crewe-based Boyd Consultants, trading as Boyd’s started in 2005 specialising in cell and gene therapy and providing the expertise and skills necessary to the international development of pharmaceutical and biotechnology medicinal products.

The company works in a highly regulated global industry and in doing so has grown its overseas sales by two thirds in the past three years with profits more than doubling.

It wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over the past three years.

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Cocogreen (UK), from Manchester, is also honoured for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over the past three years.

Founded in 2010 the company is the inventor and sole producer of coir substrates, a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to farming with peat and rockwool.

The product enables farmers to produce more using fewer acres and less fertiliser, labour and water while improving plant health, yield and profitability.

The company controls the total production process from harvesting on its own coconut plantations in India and Sri Lanka through to product supply to end user.

Overseas sales have increased by more than 100%.

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Counterline, from Prescot in Merseyside, has been trading since 1983.

They design and manufacture standard and bespoke food and drink service counters and displays using advanced CNC machining and traditional handcrafting techniques.

Overseas sales have trebled and exports in relation to total turnover have grown to 25%.

They sell to Western Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Kazakhstan, India, the Far East, Jamaica and Australia through hotels, retail food outlets, architects and designers.

Not until 2006 did export appear in the business plan and now they actively identify new target markets. The firm wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Continuous Growth in overseas sales over the last six years.

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The Create Technologies team was founded in Cockermouth in 2005 as an R&D group within an established small business where the founder was developing radiation imaging tools for the nuclear industry.

In 2010 the team began work on radiation measurement fields outside that industry, becoming self-sufficient financially, at which point Create Technologies itself was established.

The company now operates within the international highly-regulated nuclear decommissioning industry using a mix of academics and entrepreneurs to develop and market its products and services.

Its work in Japan following the Fukushima incident benefited Createc’s reputation leading it to both enter new markets in Europe and America and the development of new products aimed at these markets and new sectors.

Overseas sales have consequently grown by more than 460% and represent half of total sales. It wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over the last three years.

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The Elucigene brand originated within ICI Diagnostics, and was acquired by Manchester-based Delta Diagnostics in 2013.

The company designs, manufactures and sells CE IVD marked molecular genetic assays, used by healthcare providers globally for the diagnosis of a broad range of genetic diseases.

Elucigene Diagnostics is the leading provider of cystic fibrosis diagnostics internationally, with 30% to 100% market share in its key markets.

It has distribution partners in more than 70 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, North America, South America and Australia.

Overseas sales have grown by 37% over the past three years and 80% of total sales is exported. The company wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over the last three years.

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Innovative Technology, from Oldham, has been in business since 1992.

They design and manufacture cash handling equipment to automate note, coin and ticketing payments for customers worldwide.

They sell to 75 different countries across Europe, South America, China, India and the United States and aim to become the number one supplier of cash handling equipment in the world.

Significant numbers of jobs have been created, overseas sales has grown strongly year-on-year and a high percentage of sales are exported, providing experience to diversify into new markets.

As a result, Innovative Technology Limited wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding ShortTerm Growth in overseas sales over the last three years.

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Lattimer, based in Southport, has been trading since 1941.

They design and manufacture more than 20,000 different parts, predominantly for the glass container manufacturing industry.

The majority of the 160 bottled glass manufacturing factories are located overseas, so they export to the United States, Europe and Australia, targeting glass factories and original equipment manufacturers.

They invest in research and development leading to potentially 500 new applications over a 15-year period.

With strong growth in overseas sales, 92% of their business overseas, a strong customer base, a commitment to research and development and total sales growing, Lattimer wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over the past three years.

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Salford-based Mason Advisory started life as Mason Communications in 1993 with the Mason Advisory brand being launched in 2014, to focus on serving clients who are consumers of IT services rather than providers or regulators.

Through their IT advisory work they solve complex business challenges through intelligent use of IT resources including: IT Strategy & Transformation, Sourcing, Architecture, Cybersecurity and IT Delivery.

In the past three years overseas sales have grown from £299,000 to £1.3m and they have worked all over the world including in Ireland, Jamaica, Qatar, Libya, Mauritius, Norway, Switzerland, and the USA.

The company has demonstrated an outstanding growth in international sales built on a sound strategy and wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over the past three years.

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Proseal UK is based in Adlington, and has been trading since 1998.

The business has grown strongly from 128 to 255 employees in the past six years. It designs and manufactures its equipment in the UK, producing automatic tray sealing machines, conveyor systems, and sealing tools for food manufacturing and other applications.

Proseal sells to the USA, South America, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, South Africa and Asia Pacific.

The company wins business from global food manufacturers and retailers often by inviting them to see UK installations.

With substantial numbers of jobs created, strong growth in overseas markets, backed by a considered strategy, Proseal UK wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Continuous Growth in overseas sales over the last six years.

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Recycling Lives wins the Queens Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales across the last three years.

Founded in 1999 the Preston company has won the Queens Award for Sustainable development in 2010 and 2014. It is a waste management and recycling company specialising in recycled metals and plastics.

It processes scrap metal, end of life vehicles (ELVs) and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) to produce for sale high quality steel, copper, aluminium, brass and high grade plastic recycled materials.

It exports the high quality recycled products it produces worldwide. Overseas sales have grown steeply year-on-year over three years rising from £2.1m to £13.5m – a total rise of 520%.

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Lancaster-based Rinicom was established in 2002 and specialises in the provision of state-of-the-art solutions for law enforcement agencies, first responders and the protection of critical civilian infrastructure.

It is recognised as a leading-edge technology company providing bespoke telecommunications solutions.

Its products are sold to system integrators, choosing Rinicom for design, performance and manufacturing excellence.

Exports have grown substantially over the past three years and represent more than two thirds of total sales. The company wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short-Term Growth in overseas sales over the past three years.

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Simpsons Premium started trading in 2009, developing and manufacturing wet and dry dog and cat food and dog treats.

The Wigan company focuses on natural, organic and high meat products with the wellbeing of the health of the pets in mind.

The company has adopted an export strategy that focuses mainly through distribution networks in Europe, with Germany and Italy the key markets.

Overseas sales have grown by 386% and the proportion of sales exported has increased significantly to 51% of total sales.

The company wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over the past three years.

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Smylie wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over the last three years.

Founded in 2003 the company won the Queen’s Award for International Trade in 2014.

Based in Bromborough it manages and ships ambient, chilled and frozen fast moving food and drink products manufactured by leading UK brands.

Its overseas customers include major international supermarkets, distributors, foodservice companies and embassies and it specialises in the alteration of product packaging, promotion application, label translation and dating for its UK suppliers.

Last year it also introduced its first own branded product for international markets.

Overseas sales have grown from £13.6m to £18.9m – a total growth of 38.9% with international sales accounting for 99% of total sales.

It now exports more than 20,000 products to in excess of 40 locations worldwide and its top five markets currently are UAE, Hong Kong, Qatar, USA and Bahrain. In the past three years it entered 14 new markets.

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The Hut Group was founded in 2004 in Cheshire and now operates around the globe.

The group is now regarded as a European technology unicorn, growing rapidly worldwide and operating more than 100 websites, selling a wide range of beauty and wellbeing products, direct to consumers through its own, revolutionary operating platform, THG Ingenuity.

In addition to its flagship 1 million sq ft distribution centre outside Warrington, the group also operates a distribution facility in Kentucky in the USA and recently announced that it is developing a 61,800 sq m production and logistics centre in Poland, bringing next-day delivery to continental Europe.

It has seen exceptional growth in its overseas sales of £204m over the latest three year period 2014, 2015, 2016. The company wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over the past three years.

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First established in 1991, Runcorn-based TALL Security Print has grown by acquisition.

The TALL Group of Companies is the holding company for three wholly-owned subsidiaries, which act as the trading companies of the group and the invoicing units.

The TALL Group is the UK’s leading provider of special cheques, credits and secure encoded documents, producing millions of secure documents each month from its fully accredited, secure production facilities.

Accorded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation in 2005 for its cheque printing software applications, the group operates internationally and is recognised as a market leader, with quality and security as the cornerstones of its success.

Its export sales have grown by £3.18m in three years – a consolidated growth rate of just under 500%. The company wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over the past three years.

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Five companies have been recognised in the innovation category.

Winners of a 2017 International Trade Award, Euromixers, of Cheshire, demonstrated a level of innovation worthy of an Innovation Award in 2018.

Their design of a folding impeller mixer for use on intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), solved many problems associated with these efficient containers, and opened up new opportunities for users.

Products supplied in IBCs, like any container, can settle out over time. This necessitated transferring the contents into a mixing vessel for agitation prior to use.

The development of a collapsible impeller has enabled mixing of contents to be undertaken in the container. Through delivering efficiencies and cost savings to customers with this innovative product, the company has shown consistent growth over the measured period. Sales of these IBC mixers now accounts for more than 60% of total sales.

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Informed Solutions of Cheshire have developed a system that allows citizens to securely access complex government services online with a unique methodology that transforms how the services themselves work.

They have developed algorithms that seamlessly manage end-to-end complex workflows, increasing productivity and reducing technology costs.

The core of the Queens Award winning innovation is its ability to put complex, paper-intensive government services online.

It achieves this through combining its proprietary algorithms and data structures with cloud technology, location technology, identity gateway management, automated workflows and long transaction management.

The combined system integrates with multiple back-office systems to deliver simple online access for individuals, changing the way that government interacts with the community.

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TISS, a Blackpool-based company and current holder of the Queens Award for international trade, has now been awarded the Queens Award for Innovation for their unique fuel security product for commercial vehicles.

The TankSafe ‘Impregnable’ helps fleet operators around the world prevent all types of fuel loss.

Fuel security and safety is one of the biggest operating challenges faced by trucking companies with fuel accounting for 30%-40% of its total operating costs.

TISS’ founders experienced these problems first-hand through running their own truck fleet, but were unable to source an effective solution.

Consequently, the founders set about creating a device which would solve three separate problems – theft, diesel spills and overfilling.

The result was the TankSafe ‘Impregnable’, a device which is essentially three products in one.

This mechanical device, which fits inside the filler neck of the fuel tank, houses a unique non-return valve which allows the fuel to fill at high speeds, but automates the fill level by forcing the filler nozzle to lock off when full.

Once closed, all of the fuel in the tank is isolated and cannot be accessed, nor can it escape.

Fleets typically report fuel savings of 10%-25%, with one major fleet customer in Mexico achieving an incredible 45% saving on their fuel bill.

The ‘Impregnable’ device is protected by 27 granted patents worldwide and has more than 10,000 hours of R&D behind it.

Since its introduction continued development has taken place. The TankSafe products are now included by manufacturers in new vehicles with major factory deals in place, thereby increasing global awareness of the brand.

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The Temporary Kitchen Company is a business created from personal experience that highlighted a market opportunity.

The Deeside company provides domestic, portable, temporary kitchens and bathrooms for use following insurance claims and building renovations.

During renovation, or following flood or fire damage, many residents wish to remain in their properties, but are unable to due to lack of facilities.

This situation was encountered by the founders of the company, and it prompted them to find a solution.

The company has developed a Kitchen Pod, Bathroom Pod and Pop-up Capsule Kitchen, which can be delivered and installed at properties needing these facilities.

A bathroom ParaPod has also been developed for disabled users.

Relocating families is expensive for insurance companies, and highly disruptive to the families themselves.

Delivered nationwide, these mobile solutions keep families in their homes, and one insurance company estimates £1m saving in the first year of introduction.

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Converting waste food into green energy through anaerobic digestion is a complex task with significant challenges to overcome.

Through the combination of several innovations, Edina UK of Stockport, overcame such issues as the management of highly variable, contaminated, and corrosive gases, to produce waste to energy plants that are highly efficient.

These innovative, sustainable, combined heat and power, green energy plants, cut greenhouse gas emissions more than other technologies per £1 investment or per Mega Watt, offering excellent financial returns and ongoing energy security for their clients.

Dynamic management of fuel, combustion, and exhaust, delivers resilience against variable feedstock, reduced operating costs, and Nitrous Oxide emissions far below industry standards.

In addition, artificial intelligence telematics and innovative oil management systems ensure the plants are able to operate continuously at full output for over 95% utilisation. The delivery of these innovation packed green energy plants secured the award recommendation.

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Sustainable development awards have been conferred on two North West firms.

Brother UK supplies and supports a complete range of technology products, solutions and services across business and consumer markets.

It has been based in Greater Manchester since 1968 and has 200 employees

Having worked towards sustainable development since 1994, it has widened its corporate social responsibility activities to include community engagement, employee development and building an amazing workplace.

Brother UK provides a recycling scheme in tandem with a sister company and its environmental initiatives include supporting biodiversity, reducing energy, travel emissions and waste.

Brother UK ensures staff wellbeing through numerous initiatives, provides colleague recognition schemes, and has invested new technology to support employee engagement activity. It also ensures the efficient management of resources and has demonstrated that this is embedded in leadership and management.

Having won a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development in 2011, this is the second time Brother UK has won in this category.

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Based in Penrith, The Lakes Free Range Egg Company produces and packages free range and organic free range eggs.

Its management focuses on improving chicken welfare and ensures that all of its operations contribute to sustainable development.

It has encouraged tree planting across its own farms, its suppliers and the industry.

More than 600 acres of its own land are planted with 157,000 native trees and shrubs, these woodland edge type habitats optimising biodiversity potential, including that of six endangered bird species.

In 2013 it achieved zero waste to landfill, 50% reduction in water consumption and 100% on-site energy generation.

Its packing station achieved carbon neutrality in 2016.

Job creation, contributions to charity and education across all ages are significant, and local suppliers are used whenever possible.

Due to their outstanding sector leadership and influence, the Lakes Free Range Egg Co receives a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development.

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