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The Business Magazine July 2024
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South East winners of King’s Awards for Enterprise 2024 announced

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Image: GOV.UK
6 May 2024
Image: GOV.UK

Businesses across the South East have been recognised in the second annual King’s Awards for Enterprise.

Launched by the late Queen Elizabeth in 1965 and now carried forward by King Charles, the programme has celebrated the enterprising efforts of more than 7,000 companies around the UK in its sixty-year history.

The awards are presented across four categories – innovation, international trade, sustainable development, and promoting opportunity.

Winning businesses are then visited throughout the year by His Majesty’s lord-lieutenants to receive their awards, along with an official certificate and commemorative crystal trophy.

They’re also able to fly a King’s Awards flag at their main office and use the emblem on marketing materials.

Kevin Hollinrake, minister for enterprise, said: “I congratulate the recipients of this year’s King’s Awards for Enterprise, who exemplify the talent, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of British business.

“I wish them every success and commend the invaluable contributions they make to communities both at home and overseas, helping to grow the UK economy.”

Without further ado, here are the award winners from the South East...


Four Oxfordshire businesses were recognised this year – three for International Trade and one for Innovation.

Oxford Instruments – Innovation

A regular feature in The Business Magazine, Oxford Instruments has been recognised in the Innovation category for Symmetry – a fibre-optic-coupled complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) camera delivering fast, high resolution electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) for scientific research.

CMOS sensors are used in all manner of cameras to convert light into electrical signals which in turn produce images, while EBSD is used to visualise and analyse the crystallographic structure of materials.

A veteran spinout from the University of Oxford, the firm was established in 1959 and is headquartered in Abingdon. It won a Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2019.

CEO Richard Tyson said: “To receive a King's Award for Enterprise is fantastic recognition for our brilliant materials analysis team who have developed this remarkable step-change in technology.

“Symmetry is now allowing quicker, sharper analysis by even more researchers across the world, paving the way for our customers to discover and bring to market further exciting advances that drive human progress.”

Oxford Royale Academy – International Trade

Oxford Royale provides summer schools for young people at some of the world’s top universities – Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London in the UK, as well as Yale University and UC Berkeley in the US.

Launched in 2004 by Oxbridge alumni, the academy is still headquartered at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. This is its third award in the International Trade category, having won in 2016 and 2019.

Oxford Summer Courses – International Trade

Already the second summer school provider on this list, Oxford Summer Courses also runs educational programmes at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, as well as Eton College.

The Oxford company was founded in 2010 by a pair of Oxford graduates and last won a Queen’s Award in 2020.

Williams Jet Tenders – International Trade

The world’s leading manufacturer of jet tenders, a type of rigid inflatable boat, Williams Jet Tenders was set up in 2004 by Roy Parker and brothers Mathew and John Hornsby.

This is the first royal award for the Berinsfield business.

Mathew and John said: “We’re honoured to receive the King’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

“Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to our dedicated team whose expertise and diligence have propelled us to the forefront of the industry, showcasing the best of British ingenuity on a global stage.

“This recognition holds special significance as we celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2024.”

Thames Valley

With four winners in Berkshire and six in Buckinghamshire, the Thames Valley has plenty to celebrate this year – including a number of first-time entries.

Red Fox ID – International Trade and Innovation

The only company on this list to be recognised in two categories, Red Fox ID are the developers behind Quantum – a technology which automatically detects and classifies vehicles on behalf of road operators and toll authorities.

Boasting a detection accuracy of 99.96 per cent, Quantum has so far been deployed across 1,260 lanes around the world.

The Aylesbury firm was founded in 1996, but this is its first royal recognition – twice in one go.

CEO Steve Bird said: “The whole of the Red Fox team is thrilled at the news that we are to receive two prestigious King’s Awards for Enterprise, one for Innovation and the other for International Trade.

“This is a true testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity of our business.”

Uptake Strategies – International Trade

Uptake offers healthcare consultancy services to global pharma brands across four key areas – planning, strategy, capability, and launch.

Based in Ascot and with stateside offices in Houston, Texas, the firm picks up its first King’s Award this year.

A statement from the company read: “Thank you to our international clients and independent suppliers for your continued support and partnerships.

“We’re proud to share this achievement with you and look forward to our continued collaboration.”

Bexprt – International Trade

Bexprt helps businesses deploy cloud-based solutions, boost efficiency and improve customer experience across the EMEA region.

Now in its sixth year of business, the Wokingham company opened an international subsidiary in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2022 to better serve its Middle East clients. It’s another first-time award winner.

Mo Hamdy, founder and CEO of Bexprt, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that Bexprt has been selected for this prestigious award.

“We’re a specialised, dedicated team, focused on using our expertise to deliver cloud-based solutions to solve our clients’ problems and digitally transform their businesses.

“To receive this accolade is a huge honour for any company, and I’m truly astonished and humbled that we have achieved this together.”

G&L Healthcare Advisors (G&L Scientific) – International Trade

G&L supports healthcare businesses with regulatory affairs, quality assurance and clinical development, working with both startups and Fortune 100 pharma firms.

The company has its UK headquarters in Marlow, but also operates four offices in the US and others in Spain, Switzerland, Canada and India – as well as in London and Belfast. It’s been just two years since G&L earned its last Queen’s Award for International Trade.

Stephen Loughrey, CEO of G&L, said: “We’re delighted and privileged to receive this esteemed award.

“I sincerely thank everyone who helped earn this tremendous achievement and look forward to our continued growth and success as we expand our presence on the global stage together.”

ONIX Life Sciences (Canopy Life Sciences) – International Trade

A boutique consultancy specialising in regulatory operations services, ONIX has completed drug applications for more than 100 companies around the world, with clients in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, South America.

Launched in 2010 and now part of the Canopy group, its small team in Windsor celebrate their first award this year.

Jasbir Chohan, founder of ONIX, commented: “I’m thrilled and honored that our team has been recognised with the prestigious King’s Award.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude to my outstanding team, including team members based here in the UK, as well as our colleagues in India, Canada, and the Middle East.

“This award truly reflects everyone’s dedication and hard work.

“Breaking into new geographical markets has been an exciting challenge, and we're thrilled by the organic growth we've achieved through client referrals in international markets.”

Cableflow International – International Trade

Cableflow manufactures bedhead and medical trunking, as well as nurse call systems, for the healthcare sector. They’re credited as innovators in the space – in fact, they picked up a King’s Award for Innovation just last year.

Based in High Wycombe but with customers around the world, Cableflow has now been recognised in the International Trade category.

CEO Graeme Dell said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have been recognised again with a King’s Award for Enterprise this year.

“Having been granted the accolade on two previous occasions for innovation, this time we’re celebrating our efforts around huge international success.

“This King’s Award is further endorsement of our business, our people, our vision and continued determination to make a difference to patient safety and patient care on a global stage.”

M2M Pharmaceuticals – International Trade

The M2M pharma platform helps companies in the pharma, food and biotech sectors develop safer, more effective drugs in shorter timeframes.

Dr Mridul Majumder launched M2M eight years ago in a small, 150 sq ft office at Thames Valley Science Park. He’s since moved along with a small team to a 2,600 sq ft fitted lab in Winnersh, who today pick up their first enterprise award.

Dr Majumder said: “This is the proudest moment of my professional career.

“Thank you very much to all of you who have helped us, wished us, inspired us, taught us, and moreover, trusted us with their projects.”

Hansford Sensors – International Trade

Hansford is a global market leader in the design, manufacture and sale of high-quality vibration monitoring sensors. It serves all manner of industries, from metal and cement to marine and rail.

Founder Chris Hansford spent 20 years as managing director of a sensor manufacturing company before moving on to establish Wycombe-based Hansford Sensors in 2006. This is the company’s first royal award.

Niftylift – International Trade

Niftylift makes compact, low-weight mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), helping workers reach roofs, trees – anything high up. The company sells its cherry pickers, boom lifts and lift platforms to clients across Europe, Asia, Australasia and the Americas.

Launched in 1985 and based in Milton Keynes, Niftylift also has staff in the US. It last picked up a Queen’s Award for both Innovation and International Trade in 2019.

John Keely, managing director of Niftylift, said: “We’re immensely proud to receive this distinguished award.

“It reflects our collective hard work and dedication to excellence in international trade.

“It also underscores our commitment to advancing our technology and ensuring that our operations support sustainable practices worldwide.”

BRAND FACTORY – International Trade

With 1350-plus customers across 80 countries, BRAND FACTORY is a leading exporter of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) – whether they be biscuits, beverages or baby care products.

The business has been operating in Aylesbury since 2018, and this marks its first enterprise award.

Surrey, Kent & Sussex

Kent wins out here, with six award recipients – plus three in Surrey and one in West Sussex.

ADF Milking – Innovation

The only Sussex entry this year, ADF Milking has been recognised for its automated vacuum control technology for milking which improves animal welfare and boosts efficiency in the milking parlour.

ADF’s global headquarters are in Slindon, West Sussex, but it also runs offices in Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US, selling its products all around the world. The company last won a Queen’s Award for International Trade in 2020.

Company founder James Duke said: “With our InVent technology, we’re proud to have a product that will really add value to dairy farm operations, both in the UK and around the world.

“And we have managed to achieve that with a simple and cost effective solution that is applicable to any dairy farm.

“We believe we have a truly revolutionary product, and achieving the King’s Award has confirmed that for us.”

Limpsfield Combustion Engineering Company – International Trade

Limpsfield manufactures industrial burners, with a bespoke ‘LC Range’ which can be made to suit multiple makes and models of boilers. They can process both common fuels like natural gas and diesel, and more unusual ones like animal fats and fish oils.

Founded in Bromley, South London in 1995, the company soon moved to a factory and offices in Biggin Hill, Kent, where it’s stayed ever since. This is its first award for enterprise.

A statement on LinkedIn read: “Over the last 25 years, we’ve grown from a small, local business into an award-winning export champion with a global distribution network.

“We’d like to thank His Majesty the King for the honour, and all our colleagues, friends and partners who joined us on our journey.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without you!”

Logical Biological – International Trade

A supplier of biospecimens, Logical Biological provides its clients with human serum, plasma, swabs and tissues to facilitate therapeutic research and development.

The Maidstone company launched in 2019 and has since built up a strong international client base, earning it royal recognition for the first time this year.

Dr James Steggles, managing director of Logical Biological, said: “We’re delighted to receive the King’s Award for International Trade, which affirms our role as a leader in the global biospecimens market.

“This award is a testament to the tireless efforts of our team and the trust our customers place in us as their supplier of choice for high-quality biospecimens.

“Our commitment to excellence not only propels our growth but also significantly furthers our mission to contribute to a healthier world.”

Brigade Electronics – International Trade

Brigade develops and markets safety solutions for vehicles and mobile machinery to help prevent collisions and save lives. Its product range includes camera, detection, recording and warning systems.

Operating since 1976 and based in South Darenth, Kent, Brigade also received a Queen’s Award in the same category in 2019.

A statement from the company read: “This award reaffirms our commitment to road and workplace safety through the delivery of innovative and high-quality products.

“It reflects the effort of our team across the globe, from the UK to our various international offices, whose dedication is integral to our achievements.

“We extend our gratitude to all who support our mission.”

Gusbourne Wines – International Trade

Gusbourne is a boutique winery with vineyards in Kent and West Sussex. Driven by an ‘uncompromising attention to detail’, says founder Andrew Weeber, it produces both still and sparkling wines, many of which award-winning.

Now the Ashford winery has received an award of a different kind in recognition of its strong international sales, which sat at around £0.8 million for the first half of 2023.

Jonathan White, CEO of Gusbourne, said: “We’re incredibly honoured to receive this prestigious award in a category that’s becoming increasingly important to our business.

“As an English wine producer, we’re continuously looking at ways to expand our distribution and awareness overseas to enable us to share the finest English wine with enthusiasts worldwide.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be leading such a thriving, dynamic wine producer, and want to thank everyone at Gusbourne for their ongoing commitment to driving our business forwards.” 

Priority Freight – International Trade

Priority Freight provides its global customers with time-critical delivery solutions – ‘no matter the geography, weight, distance or mode of transport’.

Founded in 1996, the Dover business has offices all over Europe – Germany, Spain, Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia. It last received a Queen’s Award in 2020.

Neil Williams, managing director, said: “We’re exceptionally proud to have been recognised with this distinguished award and would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the whole team.

“The last few years have seen unforeseen adversities in our industry from factors such as Brexit, global conflicts, and the coronavirus pandemic.

“To attain this highly esteemed commendation despite the challenging backdrop is a tribute to our global teamwork, innovation and agility.”

A4PBio – International Trade

A scientific consultancy firm, A4P specialises in bioanalytical and biosample project management and logistics support, helping its clients accelerate their research and development.

The business is headquartered at Innovation House in Sandwich, Kent, and in recent weeks was acquired by Texas-based LabConnect. This marks A4P’s first award for enterprise.

Ian James, CEO of A4P, said: “We’re thrilled to receive the King’s Award for Enterprise.

“This is recognition for the work A4P colleagues have performed with our international customers in supporting the development of new medicines.

“We’re excited to continue to build on this success in the future.”

Mark Roberts Motion Control – International Trade

Founded by the namesake engineer, inventor and part-time racing driver in 1966, Mark Roberts Motion Control designs and builds robotic camera rigs for TV and film.

Based in Blindley Heath, Surrey, the business received an Academy Award for contributions to the special effects industry in 1999, before picking up its first Queen’s Award in 2017.

ipTEST – International Trade

ipTEST is the company behind MOSTRAK – some of the fastest and most powerful semiconductor testers available, which help manufacturers bring more efficient power switching devices to market.

Founded in 1987 and based in Guildford, ipTEST last won a Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2023. Now it’s also been recognised in the International Trade category.

ZONE3 – International Trade

ZONE3 develops and designs wetsuits, triwear and swimwear specially for triathletes. Many of its products are made from a natural plant-based rubber, and its terrapene wetsuits are biodegradable.

The brand was founded by national level swimmer and runner James Lock, who set up ZONE3 at the age of 19 while embarking on a professional triathlon career. It’s just earned its second award for International Trade, having also won in 2018.

Solent & South Coast

Hampshire was home to an impressive 12 winners this year across three categories, with one Dorset firm also making the list.

Ahmad Tea – Sustainable Development

Ahmad Tea in Eastleigh started out a little over 35 years ago with one tea trader's goal to create exception tea which could be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere in the world.

Today, Ahmad Tea brings over 30 million cups of tea a day to tea lovers in more than 80 different countries. Last year, the business published a report detailing how it is achieving its sustainability goals.

This is the first time Ahmad Tea has been recognised in these awards.

Ebraham Afshar, managing director, said: “We try to make a difference in all of the markets where we source, pack and sell our tea, and we owe so much to so many people in our supply chain, for their support.

“For example, building Razavi Cancer Hospital in Sri Lanka was our way of thanking our supporters in the country over the years.

“I’d like to dedicate this award to our staff and partners who work tirelessly to support projects like these.

“The incredible impact would have not been possible without their determination to make a difference.”

Percussion Play – International Trade

Petersfield-based Percussion Play are the leading manufacturer of outdoor musical instruments, aiming to add harmony, soul, and energy to inclusive and accessible outdoor play environments across the world.

This is the second time the 20-year-old business has been recognised, having picked up the Queen's Award for International Trade in 2021.

Jody Ashfield, co-founder and managing director, said: “It’s an honor to have our commercial success and growth marked by the highest award available to a UK business.

“Our outdoor musical instruments can be played across the world in schools, parks, senior living homes, and many other locations to support music therapy and music education.

“It’s a testament to our amazing team and all their hard work over the last three years, with special thanks to our extended family of representatives around the world.”

Symetrica – International Trade

Symetrica is a leading manufacturer of radiation detection solutions and integrated security threat systems, with offices in Southampton and the United States.

This is the first time Symetrica has won an Award for Enterprise.

A statement from the company read: “Symetrica is very proud and delighted to have been awarded The King’s Award for Enterprise.

“Symetrica’s exceptional growth of over 200 per cent in international sales over the three-year application period was the primary driver for selection.

“Our senior management team are looking forward to receiving this recognition along with other recipients at Windsor Castle during the summer.”

Driven International – International Trade

Hook-based Driven International is a multidisciplinary practice offering architecture, engineering, visualisation and design of sports, leisure, driving and motorsport destinations.

A key component of their business is in race tracks and driving courses, along with supporting facilities such as pit buildings, clubhouses, condos, retail developments and private garages.

Driven is a returning winner, having picked up the Queen's Award for International Trade in 2020.

Ben Willshire, managing director, said: “We are thrilled to be recognised for this prestigious award for a second time. Our business has grown significantly since receiving the award in 2020, with our team now working on higher profile and larger scale projects around the world.

“Our services now expand to civil engineering, architecture and visualisation across the wider sports and leisure sectors.

“This award helps us to further demonstrate our excellence on an international scale, and is a great recognition for our entire team and all our clients and partners who have supported our growth.”

Medipharma Group – International Trade

Medipharma Group, based in Andover, has picked up this year's award for its Optibac Probiotics – the UK's most recommended brand of probiotic supplements.

A returning winner, having picked up the Innovation award in 2019, export now contributes to more than 50 per cent of the business' sales.

Haystack Dryers – International Trade

Haystack Dryers was founded in 2000 and has grown to become the world's leading manufacturer of body dryers, selling to the theme park and leisure industry.

The Ferndown-based business works alongside hundreds of visitor attractions throughout the UK, Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East - across 38 countries and counting.

Haystack Dryers previously won the Internation Trade award in 2016.

Hi-Level Mezzanines – Innovation

Petersfield-based Hi-Level Mezzanines is an independent supplier of mezzanine flooring solutions with a value engineered design model that optimises steel utilisation and drives costs down.

The business is picking up its first ever royal award for an innovative solution for efficient designing, estimating and manufacturing of mezzanine floors.

Angus Whiteman, managing director, said: “Hi-Level Mezzanines is honoured to accept the King’s Award for Enterprise.

“This accolade is a distinguished acknowledgment of our steadfast commitment to continuous development, and we're extremely proud to have been selected among such esteemed competition.”

Levertonhelm – International Trade

Levertonhelm, based in Basingstoke, makes Lithium chemicals and develops new ones, working with global customers to find the best solutions for their applications.

These chemicals have applications in everything from batteries and construction, to laboratories and lubricants.

No stranger to the Queen's Awards, the now three-time winner picked up the International Trade Award in both 2014 and 2019.

Systems Interface – International Trade

Systems Interface is a leading project based aviation systems integrator with many years specialist experience delivering turnkey projects to civil and defence airports and Civil Aviation Authorities worldwide.

The Bordon-based business previously won the International Trade Award in 2019.

Captec – International Trade

Fareham-based Captec is an international supplier of specialised computing platforms and complex systems for critical, certified and/or challenging environments.

The business offers everything from specialised computers for industrial and defence computing to embedded software and IoT device design.

Captec previously won the International Trade award in 2016, and the Innovation award in 2019.

Max Toti, founder and CEO of Captec, said: “To achieve a third award from this prestigious program is a testament to our team’s unwavering commitment to quality and industry-leading excellence in everything we do.

“Our teams continue to innovate and push the boundaries of where computers can be deployed, catering to our diverse range of customers and their exacting standards.

“This award is a wonderful achievement for the entire Captec Group and the latest milestone in our ongoing development.”

Think Research – International Trade

Dorset's only winner, Bournemouth-based Think Research is an independent air traffic management and airports consultancy.

This is the first time the business, which has tripled its international revenue of the past three years, has been recognised with a royal award.

Conor Mullan, managing director, said: “Since our beginnings 20 years ago, we’ve always set out to be a global business.

“Aviation is a global industry, and in order to remain at the very forefront of the market and learn from experiences around the world, international trade is critical to our success.

“My thanks must go to our global clients for continually putting their faith in our work, and to the team here at Think for their hard work and commitment delivering successful consultancy projects all over the world.”

A.J Wells & Sons – International Trade

Isle of Wight-based A.J Wells & Sons Ltd is a privately owned, family run British engineering company that specialises in the manufacture and installation of signage, cladding and vitreous enamel products.

The company also designs and manufactures wood burning stoves and accessories.

This is the first time the business, which was founded in 1972, has been recognised in the royal awards.

A statement on LinkedIn read: “This award recognises the incredible efforts of everyone in the team here at AJ Wells & Sons and all those we deal with across the globe.

“We now operate extensively throughout Europe and trade with South Africa, North America, Japan, and Australia.

“We're committed to productivity, sustainability, and fostering a supportive workplace environment.

“These principles serve as the driving force behind our company's continued success and global reach.”

Stainless Games – International Trade

Last but by no means least, Isle of Wight-based Stainless Games is an independent games development studio, which has developed more than 60 games and 300 SKUs on Mobile, Console, PC Steam and VR.

The business, which is picking up its first royal award, works with international clients and sells to customers across the globe.

Patrick Buckland, founder and CEO of Stainless Games, said: “We created Stainless back in 1994 with the intention of bringing high-tech employment to the Isle of Wight by doing what we love – making video games.

“We started with eight staff, since growing to over 80, and have made games for most of the biggest companies in the world as well as selling our own products globally.

“In doing so, we bring tens of millions into the UK economy, while providing enjoyment to people the world over.

“This is our 30th year in business and we’re very proud to mark the occasion with this King’s Award.”


Born and raised in Berkshire, Dan fell into journalism after completing his bachelor’s degree in English at UCL.

Writing for The Business Magazine and local Biz News sites has given him the opportunity to chat with all manner of small business owners and share their success stories with a wider audience.

Outside of work, Dan enjoys live music, board games and quiz shows, and is making a slow but persistent effort to learn Spanish.

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