Queen crowns 11 brilliant South Yorkshire businesses with top award for enterprise

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Eleven ‘outstanding’ South Yorkshire companies have received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the UK’s highest business honour.

Handed out in three categories - Innovation, International Trade and Sustainable Development – it is almost double the number in 2021.

South Yorkshire is one of only two regions outside Greater London to achieve double figures, highlighting how ‘successful, innovative and talented’ it is.

Just 226 organisations nationally were recognised.

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Managing director, Bennett Beardshaw, Special Quality Alloys in SheffieldManaging director, Bennett Beardshaw, Special Quality Alloys in Sheffield
Managing director, Bennett Beardshaw, Special Quality Alloys in Sheffield

The increase in local winners is partly due to an initiative launched by the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire more than two years ago when there were only three winners.

Dame Hilary Chapman, Lord-Lieutenant for South Yorkshire, said: “I am delighted that once again, companies in South Yorkshire have been successful in winning this prestigious award.

“They are 11 outstanding examples of the extraordinary work being carried out by creative and innovative companies, both at home and abroad.

“I hope that other companies will be encouraged to apply as it brings good news and well-deserved recognition to the region.”

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Sport:80 chief executive Gary Hargraves said it was one of his proudest moments in 40 years in business.Sport:80 chief executive Gary Hargraves said it was one of his proudest moments in 40 years in business.
Sport:80 chief executive Gary Hargraves said it was one of his proudest moments in 40 years in business.

The Queen’s Awards scheme was instituted by Royal Warrant in 1965. Winners are normally announced to coincide with Her Majesty’s birthday on April 21.

The South Yorkshire winners are:

International Trade: Special Quality Alloys, Sheffield; ICD Europe, Sheffield; Loadhog, Sheffield; Watermill-CT Holdings Limited T/A Cooper Turner Beck, Sheffield; Sumo Group, Sheffield; Sport:80, Sheffield, Corrosion Resistant Materials, Rotherham and Waterman Corporate Enterprises, Rotherham.

Innovation: Tickhill Engineering in Doncaster and Cares Laboratory, Barnsley

The Loadhog team celebrate.The Loadhog team celebrate.
The Loadhog team celebrate.

Sustainable Development: AESSEAL, Rotherham.

Sheffield forging firm Special Quality Alloys won after massively growing exports - it boosted overseas sales by 87 per cent in three years.

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The company, based in Continental Steel Works, Bessemer Road in Attercliffe, exports to 29 countries - some 44 per cent of total sales - with the USA, Romania, and Singapore the main current markets.

Established in 1986, it makes forged products for the oil and gas, power, automotive and renewables markets.

Gail and Matt Waterman.Gail and Matt Waterman.
Gail and Matt Waterman.

A subsidiary, Special Quality Alloys INC, was established in Texas in 1999.

Managing director, Bennett Beardshaw said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the business and one that I am very proud to receive.

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“It is truly a recognition of the hard work of all of our employees and their commitment to quality and service.”

Sheffield ‘sports tech’ company Sport:80 clinched a Queen’s Award for ‘growth and commercial success in international trade’.

The Kelham Island-based company manages the memberships, qualifications, event registrations, conferences and courses for sporting bodies all over the world.

But in the last few years the US has grown to become its largest market, now accounting for more than half of total revenue.

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Dounia Bakira, AESSEAL applications engineer.Dounia Bakira, AESSEAL applications engineer.
Dounia Bakira, AESSEAL applications engineer.

Clients include USA Track & Field, USA Weightlifting, USA Archery, USA Water Polo, and Badminton Ireland.

Chief executive Gary Hargraves said it was one of his proudest moments in 40 years in business.

He added: “Our team worked incredibly hard during the pandemic to win new business and deliver projects at home and across the Atlantic.”

Sheffield video games company Sumo Group won for international trade.

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More than 60 games have been released globally since the company's formation. Overseas sales have grown by 134 per cent across the last three years.

Carl Cavers, CEO of Sumo Group, said: “To be recognised for this award this year is testament to the people of Sumo Group and their dedication to creating and developing exceptional games.”

Sheffield-based global metals supplier, ICD Europe Ltd won in the international trade category.

It exports to Europe, USA, Australia and Asia.

Managing director Wayne Hawkes, said: “We have worked so hard over the last six years, and the last couple of years have been particularly tough due to world events. But every member of our team has worked with absolute dedication, going above and beyond to ensure our success.”

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Sheffield packaging manufacturer Loadhog won for international trade, its second after 2020.

In the last three years, it has expanded across the globe, opening in sites in France and Chicago. Sales have grown 220 per cent from £13.4m to £29m in 2020.

Now it has its sights on being the world’s leading packaging manufacturer.

Shaun Khan, managing director, said winning for the second time was ‘a true testament to the hard work done by all our employees’.

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AESSEAL is the only South Yorkshire winner for sustainable development.

The Rotherham mechanical seal manufacturer won for its ‘clear leadership within the company, and to the wider sector through its Betterworld.Solutions philanthropic initiative, and has demonstrated a wide range of positive sustainable development impacts’.

The AES Engineering group achieved Net Zero on all scopes in its global operations in 2021. It is its 15th Queen’s Award.

Managing director and founder, Chris Rea, said: “This is a significant boost for morale and will help focus our attention even more on the importance of doing what we can, working with major industry globally, to tackle the climate crisis.”

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Rotherham e-commerce business Watermans has been honoured for international trade.

The company focuses on hair-growth products and was developed by Gail Waterman, a former hairdresser, who is mixed race and suffers with fragile hair and slow growth problems which include hormonal hair loss.

Its most popular product is Grow Me Shampoo which sells one bottle every 30 seconds, the firm says. It has customers from the USA to Hong Kong and recently signed two new territories: Jordan and Egypt.

Doncaster engineering business Tickhill Engineering, which trades as Haith, won in the innovation category.

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It designs and manufactures vegetable handling equipment and has been recognised for developing a market-leading machine for emptying vegetable storage boxes – the Rota-Tip box tipping system.

The Rota-Tip Up-Eject is the second Haith machine to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation. The company’s Root Veg Polisher was recognised in 2010. Haith was established in 1964 by the late George Geoffrey Haith.

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