North East firms fly the flag in top awards.
TEN of the North East's best companies have been given The Queen's Award for Enterprise 2009 - Britain's highest accolade for business success.
Businesses ranging from a Northumberland manufacturer with 17 staff to giants including Arriva, Nissan and Northumbrian Water were among the 194 winners across the UK this year. It was the largest number of awards in its 44-year history and the North East tally was twice the size of last year.
The UK's special representative for international trade and investment, HRH The Duke of York, said: "I'm delighted to see so many companies applying for, and winning, The Queen's Award for Enterprise this year. Over the years, I've visited many Queen's Award winning firms, and have seen first hand just what a boost this award brings to their business and their employees." Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said: "These inspirational firms have proved they are amongst Britain's very best businesses.
They are flying the flag for British enterprise, innovation and corporate responsibility, both here and abroad." The winners of the Queen's Award for Enterprise, International Trade were Sunderland-based transport giant Arriva, Stockton manufacturer Cleveland Cascades, Jarrow electrical parts maker HVR International, Sunderland crane-maker Liebherr Sunderland Works, Ashington bolt equipment firm Torque Tension Systems and the Washington plant of carmaker Nissan.
Nissan senior vice president for manufacturing Nissan Europe, Trevor Mann said: "The high motivation and commitment of the workforce in Sunderland is the reason why we win these awards.
"Although 2008 has been an extremely tough year and we've had to take some difficult but necessary steps to protect the plant. Looking ahead to the future, we're confident as the global leaders in the crossover market that the production model of the Qazana concept will repeat this success." The Winners of the Queen's Awards for Enterprise: Innovation are Redcar plastics firm Greenstar WES, Billingham radiation monitoring equipment maker Tracerco and Northumberland offshore equipment maker IHC Engineering.
Northumbrian Water won the Queens Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development. The Durham business which employs around 3000 people supplying water in the North East and in East Anglia for its social and economic initiatives which the judges said made it a sector leader.
Northumbrian Water managing director John Cuthbert said: "The Queen's Award is the crowning recognition for many years of consistent, long-term and high performance work and we are extremely proud of our success." And Professor Allan Gibb OBE won the Lifetime Achievement Award. The founder of Durham University's small business centre was recognised for his his "profound contribution to enterprise education and enterprise support for more than 35 years" which include becoming a a leading figure in new nationwide policy initiatives.
And David Irwin, a partner in Northumberland's Irwin Grayson which launched Project North East as one of the first enterprise agencies in 1980, was given a Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion. He was recognised for work including becoming the first chief executive of the government's Small Business Services and chairman of the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies..
PRAISE Business Secretary Lord Mandelson during a tour of the Nissan car plant in Sunderland recently. WINNER David Irwin, of Small Business Services.