Firms in Coventry and Warwickshire have been urged to ‘tell their story’ and apply for one of the most prestigious business awards in the world.
The Lord Lieutenants of Warwickshire and the West Midlands, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and past local winners of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise joined together at the Rhead Group head office in Coventry to stage a masterclass for companies in the region.
The event included a rousing sign-off speech from former Trade Minister Lord Digby Jones.
Adrian Cadman, of Jaguar Land Rover; Cameron Tonkin, of Rhead Group; and Rob Henson, previously of Alumet, all described how they had undertaken the process of applying for a Queen’s Award, how they had been successful and what it meant to their business.
David Burbidge, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, explained the importance of companies across the region applying for the awards, which cover international trade, innovation and sustainable development.
He said: “There are not enough winners from this region, it's as simple as that so it is incredibly important that we get more businesses putting in their applications.
“We are trying to do what we can to encourage more companies to nominate themselves for a Queen's Award.
“There are so many wonderful businesses in this area but we don't punch our weight when it comes to Queen's Award winners. So the question is: what can we do to get more companies to apply?
“So we are working together with the Chamber to give companies from this region the best possible chance to apply for and win an award.”
Peter Burns, President of the Chamber, added: “It’s so important in promoting businesses domestically and overseas so, as a Chamber, we will do anything we can to help.
“We are delighted to be working with the Lord Lieutenancies of Warwickshire and the West Midlands to get more companies applying and events such as this are a great way of getting the message out there.
“Coventry and Warwickshire has so much to shout about and it’s vitally important that we do tell the world what a wonderful, innovative place this is to do business. More Queen’s Award winners will help us to do that.”
Adrian Cadman and Cameron Tonkin expressed the importance of backing up facts and figures by telling the company’s story in an application.
Cameron said: “Why did we apply for a Queen’s Award in the first place? Because we believe in what we do.
“I’d say to companies apply for other awards first because that will give you confidence when putting in your application for a Queen’s Award.
“And make sure you use it to tell the story about your business. That has to be both quantitative and qualitative. Everything you say has to be backed up by facts and figures but they don’t just want to know what you achieved – they want to know how and why you achieved it.
“Being honoured with the award is great for the business and great for the staff – we would definitely urge others to go for it.”
Rob Henson offered a range of hints and tips in applying for a Queen’s Award and said it was ‘hands down’ the most prestigious honour a company could win.
Jonathan Browning, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, backed the push. He said: “We have companies – large and small –who have proven records in both innovation and export and we would urge them to look closely at applying for a Queen’s Awards.
“These two meetings have shown the importance and business benefits of earning the award. That can only be good for the companies involved but also for the overall business and commercial growth of Coventry and Warwickshire as a whole. We would urge companies to seriously consider applying.”
Pictured (left to right): Cameron Tonkin, Tim Cox, Nigel Curry, Lord Digby Jones, Paul Sabapathy, Peter Burns, David Burbidge.