Winners of the highest accolade

NABU 1204241. GSPK. Managing director Steve Lloyd, operations director Martyn Gibson and production manager Ashley Harbert. 1204241AM

NABU 1204241. GSPK. Managing director Steve Lloyd, operations director Martyn Gibson and production manager Ashley Harbert. 1204241AM

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TWO companies in the Harrogate district are among 20 firms from across Yorkshire to receive a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Ardent Ltd, of Roecliffe near Boroughbridge, and GSPK Circuits Ltd, based in Knaresborough, have been celebrating receiving the UK’s highest accolade for business success, which was announced on Saturday.

Business minister Mark Prisk said: “The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the highest accolade a business can receive. The standard of this year’s winners highlights the great work taking place by businesses of all sizes to help boost the growth of the UK economy.”

Ardent and GSPK Circuits both won an award for international trade, and were among 16 recipients of this accolade in Yorkshire.

GSPK Circuits, which manufactures and supplies printed circuit boards to a wide array of industries worldwide, wins a Queen’s Award for the first time in its history for its outstanding achievement in export sales, and for showing good rates of growth with accompanying commercial success.

The company has achieved a 168 per cent overall growth in export earnings over the last three years after implementing a multi-faceted strategy that focuses on customer retention with pro-active new market development. In a bid to ever improve its efficiency, GSPK continues to pursue its investment in both equipment and international development.

Managing director Steve Lloyd said: “We are honoured and justifiably proud to be chosen for this award. The competition was fierce but the unerring dedication of our staff, many whom have been with us for over 20 years, and the support of our loyal customer base has propelled us forward to this outstanding achievement.”

Active in the local area for the past 50 years, GSPK’s growing contact with influential international companies has brought new business opportunities to the local area and further extends the company’s ability to support the local community in terms of job opportunities both in the UK and internationally.

Operations director Martyn Gibson added: “The team members, both in the UK and in GSPK’s international branches, are pivotal in ensuring the continued success of the company, securing its place as a market leader. Without their efforts, this award would not have been achieved.”

Ardent Ltd specialise in the design, installation and maintenance of bespoke vehicle and mobile plant fire suppression systems. It wins the award for the first time for its outstanding achievement in export performance, with 65 per cent of its turnover coming from overseas sales and its overall overseas earnings growth measured at 146 per cent.

This success is, in part, related to the company sales and support strategy based around customer service and reputation. It has a repeat business rate of 90 per cent.

The company, which has operated since 1993 and employs 30 people, has created several subsidiary companies in France, Ghana and Tanzania over the last five years to provide specialist support to its overseas customers.

Ardent’s founder and managing director, Neil Crowther, said: “We are delighted to receive this honour, especially in a Diamond Jubilee and Olympic year. Over the last three years we have worked hard to distinguish ourselves in the global market - it’s our depth of knowledge as a specialist team that gives us a clear commercial advantage, and sets us apart from our competitors.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in Ardent’s success, including our commercial director Daniel Brunt, all the team at our Boroughbridge head office, and our engineers who visit the world’s most challenging environments and deliver such high standards.”

The company is now aiming to create more local depots in the future, to provide an extended reach to emerging markets abroad.

A record number of firms have won Queen’s Awards for Enterprise this year, ranging from small companies with just three workers, to household names such as Nissan and Marks and Spencer.

A total of 209 awards were announced, covering a huge number of sectors such as motoring, electronics, law, tourism, recycling and pharmaceuticals.

Overall, 151 companies won awards for international trade, 50 for innovation and eight for sustainable development. The standard of entries has been the highest ever, with nearly 25 per cent of entrants gaining an award.

The awards are made annually by the Queen, and are only given for the highest levels of excellence demonstrated in each category.

They are judged to a demanding level and winners receive a number of benefits and worldwide recognition. Winners of the Queen’s Award can use its emblem in advertising, marketing and on packaging for five years.

Winners can also expect a company visit by a royal representative sometime this year to present a crystal bowl and an invitation to attend a special reception at Buckingham Palace.