The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious awards for UK business, designed to recognise and encourage outstanding achievements in the fields of Innovation, International Trade, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility). The Chamber is delighted to be working with our regional Deputy Lieutenants to help promote the awards.

About the Awards

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise recognise and encourage the outstanding achievements of UK businesses in the fields of:

  • Innovation;
  • International Trade;
  • Sustainable Development; and,
  • Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility).

The UK is full of exciting and innovative businesses and the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is a great way of celebrating their success. Whether a small business with a great innovative product or service or a larger company running an impressive social mobility programme, this award is a prestigious way to recognise your contribution to enterprise. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are open to applications from almost all businesses of all sizes throughout the UK in every sector.

Awards Categories:

Innovation | International Trade | Sustainable Development | Promoting Opportunity


To apply for the Innovation award, you must:

  • have an innovation that has not been sold before
  • have had your innovation available on the market for at least 2 years
  • have recovered all the investments made in your innovation or show that the innovation will recover its full costs in future
  • show outstanding commercial success as a result of innovation over 2 years - or continuous commercial success over 5 years

Your innovation should be in one of the following categories:

  • invention, design or production of goods
  • performance of services
  • marketing and distribution
  • after-sale support of goods or services

Your story:

  • What was the situation before which led to your innovation?
  • The challenges you have overcome
  • Why your innovation is unique
  • How your innovation benefits your business, customers and others

International Trade

To apply for the International Trade award, you must:

  • have made a minimum of £100,000 in overseas sales in the first year of your entry and show year-on-year growth
  • prove that your organisation has achieved outstanding growth in overseas earnings relative to your business size and sector
  • prove steep year-on-year growth (without dips) in overseas sales over 3 years - or substantial year-on-year growth (without dips) over 6 years

Your story:

  • Why is the penetration of a particular market an achievement? E.g. are you the first, leading, fastest-growing UK exporter in this market?
  • Why is your performance better than that of competitors?
  • What challenges have affected your trade and how you overcame them?

Sustainable Development

To apply for the Sustainable Development Award, you must:

  • Show how you have achieved outstanding sustainable development for more than 2 years
  • Provide evidence of the benefits or positive outcomes of your actions or interventions

In the Sustainable Development application, you may want to tell us about any specific successes, such as developing an innovative new product or process delivering environmental benefits, or seeing sustainable development outcomes embedded in your organisation, supply chain or community.

It is important to demonstrate that your company and/or senior decision-makers are leading the way in your sector or community and how they have overcome important challenges that are specific to your sector.

Your story:

  • What are you doing to be sustainable, in particular, compared to your competitors?
  • How are you leading the way and influencing others to be more sustainable?
  • Restore, recycle, regenerate and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Promoting Opportunity

To apply for this award, your organisation must also have supported people from disadvantaged backgrounds in improving their job skills and their chances of finding work.

This includes doing one or more of the following, for at least 2 years:

  • providing work experience or careers advice
  • mentoring
  • offering interview and job-related training
  • making sure your recruitment process is open to everyone

The application form branches out into two separate sections after the initial eligibility questions, allowing organisations whose core aim is social mobility to answer questions specifically for them and those who instead have a specific programme or initiative to answer questions tailored for them.

Do take a look at the eligibility criteria here and if you are an organisation that supports socially disadvantaged individuals from the list below, you may be eligible to apply.

Benefits of Winning

Winners are allowed to use a recognised Royal Emblem that will get their business noticed, above and beyond the competition

  • Your company will be globally recognised as an outstanding British brand
  • Your company is likely to increase its sales and growth. Winners have reported that Queen’s Award helped them win new business, e.g, in Japan and the Middle East
  • Your company will get the award presented by Lord Lieutenant at their premises. This is a great opportunity not only to boost their staff morale but also to gain press coverage and celebrate together with their local authorities, planners, supply chain and other stakeholders
  • Representatives from the company will attend a Royal reception

Regional Case Studies

KMB Shipping

KMB Shipping Group received the Queen’s Award in 2021 for excellence in international trade, with a 708% increase in international sales over the six-year qualifying period. Originally comprising of two companies, Daily Irish Services and KMB Intermodal, with less than 8 employees in total, the two were merged in 2009 to create the KMB Shipping Group. Now with almost twice as many employees, the company has expanded their services over the years from freight forwarding to providing total transport solutions, including worldwide road, sea and air freight options, export documentation and customs clearances, and comprehensive cargo insurance.

We are absolutely delighted to be recognised with such a prestigious award. It’s a huge honour, and testament to all the hard work our team puts in on a daily basis. It’s been an exceptionally tough year for us all, but this achievement makes it all the more rewarding, it’s just the motivation we need to go even further to help our customers trade internationally." KMB Director, Paul Hull.

Fortress Safety
Fortress designs and manufactures safety systems to protect people and equipment in the industrial workplace, including automotive production lines. The company is part of the FTSE-100 Halma group and employs 100 people at its Wolverhampton based – around 70 of them on the shop floor. In October 2019, Fortress won their third Queens Award, having received ones for Innovation in 2007 and International Trade in 2008. The company had enjoyed outstanding long term growth in overseas sales which accelerated over the previous three years due to the introduction of digital interlocks. Fortress’s export business now represents more than 80% of its entire sales.

"Fortress applied for the Queen's award because we are immensely proud of our UK heritage, the black country was once famous for lock-making and we are delighted to have a growing manufacturing business which remains in Wolverhampton. Being awarded a Queen's Award was a fantastic recognition of our success and something the whole team could feel proud to have contributed towards. It’s also reassuring for our customers to see that they are choosing a safety brand they can trust, whose success is being endorsed by the Queen's Award." Managing Director, Jo Smith.

Further Information and Contact Details

To find out the full eligibility criteria or to learn how your business can get involved, get in touch with the Black Country Chamber representative, Calum Nisbet via email prior to 8th September (application closing date).

During these challenging times, it is important that we still take the time to reflect and celebrate the success of outstanding British businesses. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious awards for UK businesses and is a globally recognised royal seal of approval for UK companies. We want to ensure that businesses can still apply for a Queen's Award, despite factors that could have prevented them from doing as well as they had originally predicted for 2021/22. 2022 round.