Region shines in 2020 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise honours

The 2020 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise have been announced today (April 21).

They honour 220 UK businesses for their contribution to international trade, innovation, sustainable development and promoting opportunity, including 30 North West companies.

Ninety per cent of the overall winners are SMEs.

The awards were first established in 1965 and since then more than 7,000 companies have achieved a Queen’s Award.

They celebrate the success of exciting and innovative businesses which are leading the way with pioneering products or services, delivering impressive social mobility programmes or showing their commitment to excellent sustainable development practices.

One successful business in the international trade category is Rock Oil, from Warrington, famous for its involvement in motor sport, including the British Superbike Championship.

Group chairman Charles Hewitt said: “During the near 40 years I’ve been on the export trail, I have found it humbling to witness the absolute faith in British integrity and quality.

“The respect shown (globally) for the UK is fantastic… For Rock, it’s a privilege to showcase the UK and us personally. As a quality-driven business, it accords with our objectives, whilst at the same time it is a massive tonic for staff morale to be appreciated in so many far-flung places.”

Atmos International, a specialist pipeline leak detection and location technology company, has received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2020 for its Atmos Wave product. It is one of six companies in Greater Manchester to receive the award.

Dr Jun Zhang

Founded by Dr Jun Zhang in 1995, Atmos applies its leak detection technologies to more than 1,500 pipelines in around 60 countries.

Dr Zhang said: “I am delighted that we have received the award. It signifies a landmark in our 25th year.

“The Queen’s Award is also a recognition of our 180 colleagues who apply fresh thinking every day to provide excellent products and services to our customers.”

Another firm recognised for its innovation is Manchester-base packaging specialist, Duo UK.

Its DuoOptipac mailing bag features an integrated handle which lies snug against the body of the bag maintaining the original capacity but reducing the volumetric dimensions of the package, maximising space on conveyor belt systems and increasing throughput by 28%.

Commercial director Anthony Brimelow, said: “We invented the DuoOptipac mailing bag based on feedback from customers on the escalating ecommerce fulfilment costs, along with demands from ecommerce shoppers for increased delivery options when there was a clear need for a new parcel style to fulfil this demand.

“We pride ourselves on our ability to adapt and innovate, now more than ever, and the honour of receiving a Queen’s Award for Enterprise is testament to the transformation that the DuoOptipac mailing bag has delivered to fulfilment warehouses and ecommerce businesses.

“We’re all extremely proud to receive such a prestigious accolade – it’s given us a real morale boost in these truly challenging times.”

And in the international trade category, Manchester-based travel company Travel Counsellors has been awarded its third Queen’s Award honour, in total.

The company’s first win, for innovation, was in 2003, and it won an international trade award in 2014.

Steve Byrne

Chief executive Steve Byrne, said: “We’re so proud and delighted to win a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade for the second time.

“It is the ultimate business accolade, and testament to how far the company has come in building a global community of like-minded travel entrepreneurs who, alongside our support team based across four continents, share the same passion for customer care and providing a uniquely personal travel service in both leisure and corporate sectors.

“As a people-focused business first and foremost, this award is truly down to our people, and the hard work, passion and dedication colleagues and business owners have shown over the last 12 months, showing true care for their customers, and each other.”

Lancashire-based Leyland Trucks has also been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade.

Over the three-year judging period, international sales have grown by almost 50% and now account for more than a third of Leyland Trucks’ total turnover.

Managing director Brennan Gourdie said: “Winning a Queen’s Award is a tremendous honour and the ultimate testament to our international accomplishments.

“Our reputation as an outstanding truck manufacturer, not just in the UK but around the world, is led by the passion of our great employees and of the exceptional DAF distribution network.

“Without them, we couldn’t have achieved our exporting success and this award reflects their commitment, talent and hard work.”

He added: “Not one to rest on our laurels, we remain focused on building on this major milestone; we will deliver further innovation to expand our global footprint and continue supporting our growing domestic and international client base, which is clearly demonstrated in our driver manuals now being published in almost 40 different languages.

“Ongoing investment in research and development and developing the skills of tomorrow is central to our expansion plan, and will ensure we remain a leading truck assembly plant in the world.”

The region’s companies recognised in this year’s awards are:

International Trade

Flair Flooring, from Glossop, involved in the design, sourcing and supply of rugs to retailers, wholesalers and agents around the world.

Medicines Evaluation Unit, based in Wythenshawe, provides clinical research to aid the development of ground-breaking medicines for patients and future generations.

Phoenix Cellular, a Crewe-based wholesaler of used mobile phones and wearable devices.

Airpure International, based in Bury, the firm designs, manufactures and is an innovator of home and car fragrance products helping consumers ‘Decorate the Air’.

FPW Axles, which designs and manufactures axles for every application of special purpose vehicle at its Accrington base.

Alphin Pans, an Oldham firm specialising in the supply of both the fast food industry and overseas original equipment manufacturers as a subcontractor with metalwork.

Orthoplastics, from Bacup, which is recognised globally as the leading materials supplier to the world’s orthopaedic device manufacturers.

Premier Tooling Systems, of Burnley, focused on tooling design and manufacture for radio frequency welding, heat sealing, vacuum forming, jigs and fixtures.

Chelsom, from Blackpool, operates in the design and manufacture of decorative contract lighting for the international hospitality and marine markets.

Lash House, trading as London Lash Pro, a supplier of quality eyelash industry products and training courses to the global lash market, based in Bolton.

Leyland Trucks, the Lancashire company famous for the design and manufacture of commercial vehicles for a large range of transportation applications.

Evans Vanodine International, based in Preston, operating in the manufacture of cleaning and hygiene chemicals for professional industrial use and for animal health.

SEBL Group, trading as Instasmile Ltd, from Wigan, a company specialising in the design and manufacture of custom 3D clip-on veneers – an affordable alternative to traditional cosmetic dentistry.

Clark Door, a Carlisle firm that designs and makes acoustic fire doors for the performing arts, education, and sound studios.

Euromixers, from Cheadle, noted for its design and manufacture of industrial fluid mixers for a wide range of applications.

Trade Copiers, operating in Penrith, and a worldwide supplier of reconditioned photocopiers and printers.

Standfast and Barracks, a Lancaster designer and manufacturer of premium printed fabrics for the high-end residential home furnishings market.

Barrett Dixon Bell, Altrincham-based international B2B communications specialists, helping clients unlock sales opportunities on the global stage.

Slingco, operating from Rochdale, is involved in the design and manufacture of engineered products for industrial cable installation.

Rock Chemicals, based in Warrington, specialises in the blending, filling and distribution of high quality lubricants.

Kendal Nutricare, a British manufacturer of formulated nutritional milk based powders for the entire lifecycle, based in Kendal, Cumbria.

Travel Counsellors, the Manchester company which offers tailor-made corporate and leisure travel services that are highly personalised to each individual customer.

Travel Counsellors’ Trafford Park HQ


Combined Chemical Services, a Warrington-based company focusing on the innovative combination of products and services for effective operation of Biomass hot water boiler systems.

Duo Plastics, trading as Duo UK, a Manchester company which has developed an innovative mailing bag with easy release handle that remains in position throughout the postal system.

Simply Doughnuts, from Blackburn, making its delicious, fresh confectionery product (doughnut) with a unique 30-day shelf-life.

Contra Vision, makes high definition perforated window films for one-way vision and other see-through graphics at its Stockport base.

Atmos International, based in Didsbury, is an innovative leak and theft detection product and service for pipelines specialist.

Sustainable Development

The Quiet Site, Penrith, a glamping and camping holiday site near Ullswater in the Lake District.

David Luke, a Manchester school uniform and schoolwear supplier.

Promoting Opportunity

CELLS Project CIC, based in Kirkby, Merseyside, which enables disadvantaged people from the region to improve their social-mobility and turn their lives around.