A rallying call has gone out to Shropshire’s "world-class businesses" to bid for national recognition by entering the UK’s most prestigious award scheme.
LEP Chairman Graham Wynn OBE welcomed businesses from across the county to the event, which heard from current holders of the award manufacturers Protolabs and Orchard Valley Foods. Awards last for a period of five years.
Mr Wynn said: "We have more and more companies coming forward for the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, which is great to see. We need to sell our region as the place to invest, as the place to start a business and we have a wealth of riches in our business community. We have world-class businesses which deserve national recognition.
"What is fantastic about the Queen’s Award is that it is open to any company – there is a perception that it is an award for big businesses but that’s not the case. There’s no criteria businesses need to meet regarding their turnover, they just need to employ at least two people in order to be considered. It is not just for exporters either, there are awards for innovation, sustainable business and promoting opportunity through social mobility as well as international trade," added Mr Wynn.
Peter Richards, Marketing Director at digital manufacturer Telford-based Protolabs which won the county’s only Queen’s Award this year, said applying and being successful in winning an award had huge benefits for companies.
"The application process gives you time to pause and reflect on where you’ve come from as a business, and examine your processes and the way you are growing as a company. It’s about taking pride in your people and there is a real benefit in the external recognition and raised profile which comes with winning an award."
Mike Forrester, Business Development Director of Orchard Valley, said the company won the Queen’s Award for Export in 2016, and would be looking to apply again once the five year award term was up.
"Winning a Queen’s Award has real, tangible benefits for your business. It opened doors for us in new markets and winners are part of an exclusive band of businesses, it sets you apart from the competition."
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are awarded to businesses for outstanding achievement in International Trade, Innovation, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity through Social Mobility.
Applications for the awards scheme are now open and businesses can check their eligibility and apply here