Many congratulations to the 139 winners of this year’s Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. It is an achievement of which these companies should be truly proud. Although there are now many awards for different aspects of business success, few carry such history and prestige.
Business has faced many challenges over the last few years, not least the reputational damage that was inflicted during the financial crisis. Public faith that companies would behave ethically was shaken, and even the smallest firms did not escape the taint of banking and corporate scandals.
These rewards are a reminder that quietly, often without recognition, companies across the country are striving to improve their products and services, develop new products, and launch them into new markets. They have to consider financial performance but, as these awards prove, they also focus on creating real benefits for customers and the community at large.
The Institute of Directors understands well the aims of these awards. We were granted a Royal Charter in 1906 which commands us to promote the highest standards among company directors ‘for the public benefit’. Skilled and knowledgeable directors mean well-run companies, and that means greater economic growth, job and wealth creation.
The IoD exists to support and champion business leaders like the ones who have been recognised by The Queen’s Awards. The winners display an impressive combination of technical innovation, novel and creative approaches to sustainability issues and a willingness to take on challenging export markets. They prove that even companies with a handful of employees can display the enterprising attitude, and refusal to accept the status quo, that marks the best of British business.
Every business venture is a risk, and success is far from guaranteed. In these cases, the risk-takers thoroughly deserve the respect and admiration that comes with these awards.