Royal seal of approval for Telford education technology company

Telford education technology company Scanning Pens Ltd will receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise at a VIP presentation event next month.

The trailblazing company, based at the town’s university campus in Priorslee, is one of just a handful of UK companies recognised for its services to international trade.

It will receive the prestigious royal accolade at a reception on September 9 in front of the Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire, Anna Turner, and High Sheriff of Shropshire, Tony Morris-Eyton.

Representatives from the Department of International Trade, plus a host of Telford business leaders and officials from UK education trade bodies, will also be at the lunchtime presentation.

Scanning Pens Ltd was formed in 2003 by Oxford Brookes graduates Jack Churchill and Toby Sutton, and supplies text-to-speech reading tools to help people with dyslexia and literacy differences.

It also works hard to raise awareness of dyslexia worldwide with its #SucceedWithDyslexia campaign. The company runs training programmes and free webinars, and seeks to change the narrative surrounding literacy differences.

Jack Churchill, the company’s chief executive who is himself dyslexic, said: “To be recognised by the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is the highest honour in business.

“We’re thrilled that our dedication to literacy and reading accessibility has been acknowledged in such a way that celebrates the commitment of everybody here at Scanning Pens.”

The Scanning Pens team has dedicated the past year to exploring new opportunities the company can offer to people with dyslexia and literacy differences during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Exports now account for more than 50 of the company’s turnover, and it has made huge strides in the USA, India, Australia and Canada, as well as other emerging markets around the world.

Jack added: “Scanning Pens devices represent a huge quality-of-life change for neurodiverse people, and work by allowing users to scan through and listen to texts via an audio feedback system.

“Removing the need for in-person readers and modified texts makes reading an independent act, and helps people who struggle with reading to engage with texts in the same way that a neurotypical person might.

“From working through a history exam or reading the latest bestseller, to the day-to-day admin tasks of running a business, our devices make reading accessible and simple, so that users can focus on what matters.

“Our mission is to provide technology that increases productivity, promotes inclusivity, and offers affordability – so that people in the workplace, education or public sector can thrive and feel included among their peers.”

The Queen’s Award is the latest in a series of accolades which Scanning Pens Ltd has received.

In March this year the Department of International Trade recognised the company’s outstanding international sales and named it an Export Champion for the third year running.

According to Dyslexia International in 2017, around five to 10 per cent of the world’s population experience dyslexia related challenges in their day-to-day lives, which equates to around 700 million people worldwide.

Scanning Pens Ltd says the stigma surrounding reading challenges such as these still exist, and wants those who have or are yet to be diagnosed to feel like their voices are heard.

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