Queen honours our magnificent seven

Ed Stubbs, managing director of five-time Queen's Award winner Gripple Ltd
Ed Stubbs, managing director of five-time Queen's Award winner Gripple Ltd

Seven magnificent South Yorkshire companies have received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest accolade for business success.

They are among just 254 winners nationally who have been honoured on the Queen’s 90th birthday. Widely regarded as the most prestigious business awards in the country, 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the scheme

Back row Trevor Parkin from East Midlands Trains, Kevin Bowen from East Midlands Trains and Steve Smith from South West Trains ' front row ' James Fox, Commercial Director of 3Squared and Tim Jones ' Managing Director of 3Squared.

Back row Trevor Parkin from East Midlands Trains, Kevin Bowen from East Midlands Trains and Steve Smith from South West Trains ' front row ' James Fox, Commercial Director of 3Squared and Tim Jones ' Managing Director of 3Squared.

Our super seven are: The Floow, 3Squared, AESSEAL won for innovation and Highfield International, Go Superfoods, Polypipe and Gripple won for international trade.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The Queen’s Awards are a great way of celebrating the best of British business. Whether you’re a disruptive start-up making life easier for your customers or a large company with a blockbuster product, these awards recognise your contribution to enterprise.”

Wire joining device maker Gripple, of Sheffield, has won its second Queen’s Award for international trade and its fifth in total.

Selling to more than 80 countries with a 15 per cent global market share and 85 per cent of turnover overseas, the business with 242 staff and based at The Old West Gun Works, Savile Street East, Sheffield wins after entering new markets including India, Japan and Poland.

Ed Stubbs, managing director, said: “Exporting is at the heart of our business and our success is testimony to the skills of our global teams and the support of our customers worldwide. We are delighted to support the Exporting is Great initiative and by being an exemplar, inspiring another 100,000 exporting businesses by 2020.”

Polypipe Limited of Broomhouse Lane, Edlington, Doncaster is a FTSE 250 company with 1,878 staff manufacturing plastic pipes. The largest British manufacturer in its field and in the top 10 in Europe with more than 20,000 products, Polypipe operates from 13 sites including four overseas with its main export markets being the Middle East and Europe. In the award period it expanded into Africa and the Indian subcontinent with exports increasing by in excess of 30 per cent.

Highfield International Ltd employs 197 staff at Highfield House, Heavens Walk, Doncaster as the UK’s leading supplier of compliance qualifications, training materials and e-learning solutions. It wins the wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for achieving 200 per cent growth in international sales over the past six years. Five years ago it established a base in the Middle East and is now looking for further growth into the Republic of Ireland, Far East and Australia via a joint venture with one of its large international clients. The company sells its products to over 100 countries and delivers its training programmes to 30 countries often needing to adapt to meet local policies and customs.

GO Superfoods Ltd t/a Green Origins and Rainforest Foods has 23 employees at Unit 5, Redwood Court, Campbell Way, Sheffield and wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for outstanding overseas sales growth. Some 50 per cent of turnover is generated overseas with turnover almost quadrupling in the three-year award period.

Driver tracking firm The Floow has brought telematics into the mainstream and has signed a string of insurance companies. The award for innovation comes just months after the firm received a coveted Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in recognition of the impact of its technology in influencing driver behaviour.

The firm has a 65-strong team of scientists, engineers and designers, serving insurers including Direct Line Group, American International Group, Royal Sun Alliance and the American Automobile Association (AAA). The business is also working with the University of Sheffield and the European Space Agency, to provide insights into air pollution in South Yorkshire.

In 2016 the company was revealed as one of the driving forces behind Move UK, a £5.5m project to establish the UK as the world leader in driverless car technology, working alongside Bosch, Jaguar-Land Rover, Transport Research Laboratory, Direct Line and the London Borough of Greenwich.

Aldo Monteforte, founder and CEO of The Floow, said: “The Queen’s Award for Enterprise provides invaluable recognition and an opportunity to highlight the benefits of telematics to our growing client base.”

3Squared Ltd has 34 staff and from its base at Fountain Precinct, Balm Green, Sheffield develops software for sectors including transport, rail, construction, electronics, retail, manufacturing, health services and the public sector.

It wins an innovation award for the development of RailSmart to allow rail companies to create via a web and mobile-based platform individual employee profiles to assess and record training needs, certification, key performance indicators and incidences whilst reducing the administration burden of compliance.

The software enables the continuous management and improvement of employees’ competencies in the rail sector. The innovation contributed directly to significant growth in new product sales and turnover.

James Fox, commercial director, said: “These are the awards that every company wants to secure. We are absolutely thrilled to win the Queen’s award for Innovation, which is testament to the creativity and expertise of our team in designing and developing software that has had a tremendous impact in the rail sector. This is an exciting time for our business as we accelerate our future growth plans.

“Our business has grown significantly as a direct result of RailSmart and we have increased our staff levels by 40 per cent in the past 12 months to meet demand. This has also enabled us to re-structure the business by appointing a new management team to give us the platform we need to be able to service even larger, national contracts in the future.”

AESSEAL plc (complex systems division) of Rotherham, developed a novel modular approach with standardised components for seal support systems.

Founder and group managing director, Chris Rea, OBE, DL, said “AES Engineering and its subsidiary AESSEAL have previously won 12 Queens Awards since 1988 which means we have had the honour and privilege of being able to fly the flag and use the Queen’s Award emblem in our marketing”.

This latest award is very timely as it gives AESSEAL another five years to be associated with the most prestigious establishment to business award that is available in the United Kingdom.

The award for Innovation is in recognition of the development of a novel modular approach with standardised components, to deliver a step change in the supply chain for seal support systems.

Mechanical seal support systems traditionally have been individually designed to meet the required specification, resulting in long delivery times inconsistent with the delivery times for the seals themselves.

The AESSEAL modular approach allows complex systems to be quickly and easily assembled ensuring delivery times are much more in line with those of mechanical seals.

AESSEAL is the world’s fourth-largest designer and manufacturer of mechanical seals and seal support systems for a wide range of industries, including oil and gas, food, water, mining and pharmaceuticals. The company employs more than 1,650 people worldwide, of whom approximately 680 are in the UK and Ireland and more than 350 in Rotherham, home to its Global Technology Centre HQ.