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Companies' excellence recognised with royal accolades; FIVE WELSH BUSINESSES GIVEN QUEEN'S ENTERPRISE AWARDS.

Byline: SION BARRY

FIVE businesses in Wales have been recognised in The Queen's Awards for Enterprise - the UK's highest accolade for business success.

A total of 209 Queen's Awards have been announced this year for business achievement across the UK. Overall, 151 companies have won Awards for International Trade, 50 for Innovation and eight for Sustainable Development. The standard of entries in this, the Queen's Jubilee year, has been the highest ever, with nearly 25% of entrants gaining an Award.

Three Welsh companies, Energy and Power, Isca UK and Super Rod, have had their efforts in driving export growth recognised with International Trade Awards, while Innovation Awards have been awarded to Abriox and Russell IPM.

Business and Enterprise 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. I hope that it will inspire more entrepreneurs to start or grow their business as we look to make 2012 the year of enterprise."

Port Talbot-based Energy and Power is a global consultancy in the oil, gas and powers sectors.

Managing director David Ryan said: "We're thrilled to have secured the Queen's Award for our exports record; it's great recognition for the expertise of our personnel and all their hard work. We plan to expand our workforce in Port Talbot, so the Award comes at a really opportune time."

The business, which also has an office in London, is recruiting senior process consultants, senior process engineers, senior electrical engineers, senior engineers and project technical assistants.

Formed in 2000, the group now has a turnover of more than pounds 6m and employs 71 staff. Exports account for 59% of revenues.

Blaenavon-based Super Rod's export award follows on from its innovation award in 2008. Formed in 2001, and employing 14, it has seen its export revenues increase by 165% over the past three years. Exports account for nearly half of its revenues.

The company's technology, which minimises the disruption caused by laying cables and increases safety due to a reduction in ladder work, is calculated to save the electrical industry nine million labour hours and pounds 400m each year.

Super Rod's Adoxim material is now making a significant impact in the US, French, German and Japanese markets. It already enjoys 80% share in the UK. The business employs 15.

Managing director Malcolm Duncan said: "Blaenavon led the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago and now in 2012 we're determined that the town doesn't become a museum.

"The UK and Wales used to be famous for inventing, developing and taking a product to a global market and that's what we want other local companies to join us in doing.

"Our first Queen's Award underpinned our export drive by giving us the creditability to speak with companies overseas. You can't get much more remote than Blaenavon, yet we're able to hold our own in export markets due to the innovative environment we've created here. If we can match our UK market share in the US, Super Rod would be a multi-million-pound company. That's the aim."

Cross Keys-based Isca UK, which employs nine, has also been recognised for rapid expansion overseas. Exports of its chemicals now account for more than 90% of turnover - having seen overseas growth earning of 210% in the past three years. Its range of preservative systems are used in the cosmetics sector.

Commercial director Chris Haeffner said: "Over the last few years we have made real progress in overseas markets due to the innovative design of our products. Winning this award for the first time is a fantastic achievement for our company and recognises the contribution of all our overseas partners in their respective territories.

"We are extremely proud of our employees and their commitment to the company and this award is the ultimate recognition of the strategies we implemented for the future growth of the business."

Newport-based Abriox, which employs 13, has developed a remote system that monitors the condition of fuel and gas pipelines. The wireless system transmits information from remote locations and triggers alarms if problems arise. Deeside-based Russell IPM wins its Innovation Award for developing a method of controlling Tuta absoluta - a pest that attacks crops, particularly tomatoes.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR ENTREPRENEURS' INSPIRATION A Welsh-speaking Irishwoman, described as an inspiration to entrepreneurs across South Wales for more than 30 years, has received the Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion.

Carmel Gahan, director of Swansea-based Ross Carbery, receives a Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding promotion of business enterprise skills and attitudes. She is the first Irish citizen to win the award.

During her career she has supported hundreds of businesses across South Wales to create and sustain thousands of jobs.

Ms Gahan, originally from Cork, moved to Wales in 1975 aged just 21.

She said: "I am really thrilled and honoured to have been recognised for this award, news of which came as a huge surprise to me. This award is thanks to all the wonderful people and businesses that I have worked with in Wales over the years.

"I love helping people to achieve their dreams and making a difference to their lives. My work is geared to helping people to start and sustain businesses and to become better business leaders to create and safeguard jobs.

"The work is a reward in itself, as it is satisfying to know that I have helped to create businesses and sustain hundreds of jobs over the years, which are vital to families and communities. " Among the many successful businesses she has worked with across South Wales are BAW Precision Engineering, Premier Group Construction and Support Options.

She is now an adviser for the Welsh Government's flagship Workforce Development Programme, helping businesses improve their performance and achieve growth through better management and training. As well as being an Investors in People adviser, she became a mentor on the High Potential Start Programme in Wales.

Her career in Wales began in 1980 when she was a volunteer board member at Antur Teifi, the first local enterprise agency in Wales, where she was instrumental in setting up the Women Into New Technology project, a pioneering technology programme for women.

She said: "I went around knocking on doors trying to get women to join the course and got 'shown the door' by some husbands who were concerned that there would be no-one at home to cook their meals.

"I have had some lovely comments from women over the years who took that course, about how it changed their lives for the better. To create jobs you must have skills and businesses, and in a rural area, especially at that time, the opportunities were limited. That's what got me into supporting other people to start ventures of their own."

She was nominated for the award by her former project manager at g2e, Jacqui Niven, who is now a director of Fix Training in Cardiff.

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* Left is Malcolm Duncan of Super Rod and right is David Ryan of Energy and Power
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 21, 2012
Words:1188
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