Shropshire companies get the Royal seal of approval with Awards for Enterprise

Four Shropshire companies have been named as receiving a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for 2022.

Derwen College is one of four Shropshire businesses given Queen's Awards this year
Derwen College is one of four Shropshire businesses given Queen's Awards this year

The four range from a college for students with learning difficulties to a living biobank that is capable of the storage of live cells from animal species that are at the greatest risk of extinction.

An environmentally-friendly packaging company and a business whose materials can be seen in structures across the world have also been honoured.

Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire Anna Turner said she was thrilled to congratulate companies Stallion AI, Jesmonite Ltd, I2r Packaging and Derwen College.

Mrs Turner said that the winners demonstrated yet again that Shropshire was home to so many innovative businesses and organisations.

"We celebrate with them their success in achieving this most prestigious business award," she said.

"Judges for these awards look into every detail of your nomination as they want to absolutely certain they make a good selection. It makes me so pleased that we have four businesses in this county that have reached the required standards.”

The competition was instituted by Royal Warrant in 1965 with the first awards being made in 1966 under the original title Queen’s Award to Industry. The awards have been known as the Queen’s Award for Enterprise since 1999.

Winners of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise receive an invitation to a Royal reception, a special crystal trophy presented by the Lord-Lieutenant, the right to fly the award flag at their headquarters and use the logo in their marketing for five years as well as worldwide recognition as a winner.

There are four categories in the competition: International Trade, Innovation, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity.

Derwen College and Derwen College Charity 's award is for promoting opportunity. The specialist college for young adults with special educational needs and disabilities has developed a range of opportunities for their students to learn real life skills offering a range of outlets including their shops and restaurants. All provide work experience and opportunities for their students. Derwen College has sites in Gobowen, Ludlow, Telford and Walford.

Principal Meryl Green will attend a reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by HRH the Prince of Wales in July.

She said: “Derwen College is having an exceptional year for awards; for our educational and care provision, and for our business ‘Marketplace’. To receive this very special award, endorsed by the Queen, during her Platinum Jubilee’ really is the icing on the cake.

"We are very proud to receive this distinguished award, and would like to thank all our staff, students, families, and the community who support our College, our Charity and our Marketplace.

Company, I2r Packaging, has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation, which follows on from success in 2020 in being awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade.

Based in Telford, the aluminium foil tray manufacturer was established in 2007 as an environmentally-responsible packaging company and has focussed on new product ranges, diversifying into new geographical regions and market sectors, championing engineering innovation.

Meanwhile Jesmonite Ltd has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade. Based in Bishop’s Castle and established in 1984, Jesmonite provides innovative solutions for architects, manufacturers and the creative arts sector. Jesmonite is a two-part system product that when mixed together can be used to create laminated structures or cast pieces.

Its products are used around the world and can be seen in the King Saud Mosque in Riyadh, at Westfield Whitford City in Australia, in art installations such as Fons Americanus, which was exhibited at the Tate Modern in 2019, and on cruise ships such as Saga Cruises’ The Spirit of Discovery.

Director Piran Littleton said: “We are extremely proud to be given this prestigious accolade.

“The Queen’s Award is a huge achievement for this company and all the hard work of all our staff.

“It is great to be recognised for the growth we’ve seen and we aim to further still develop our international distributor network as its next phase of growth, this is just the start.”

And Stallion AI at Whitchurch has taken its technology that it used in the equine world for almost two decades to new levels to help save endangered animals.

The company has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation.

Based in Whitchurch and having been in operation for over 18 years, Stallion AI use the latest technology in their laboratory to offer a wide range of services including semen freezing and storage, fertility testing, fresh and chilled semen distribution, mare insemination centre, training courses and AI equipment.

And Stallion AI is also behind creation of Nature’s SAFE, a Living Biobank.

Nature’s SAFE is one of Europe’s dedicated facilities capable of the long-term storage of live cells from animal species that are at the greatest risk of extinction.

Working with leading reproductive scientists and cryobiologists, it uses state-of-the-art methods to preserve cells in a way that maintains viability, allowing them to be thawed and used to establish pregnancies, restoring endangered animal species.

Nature’s SAFE, through its Living Biobank, says it is on a mission to safeguard the endangered animal populations for future generations and to realise our vision of a healthy planet.

The charity’s founder and chairman, Tullis Mason, said the idea came to him that if he could freeze sperm, eggs and DNA of horses, maybe it could be done to help threatened wildlife species.

Speaking last year he said: “I looked at whether anything was being done anywhere else and was told that what we could do, which is preserve cells for regeneration, was the missing link.

“We no longer have the luxury of time - it will soon be too late to change direction. Nature’s SAFE provides a path to a more hopeful future for us all by saving animals from extinction and halting biodiversity loss.”

Among those the company has worked with is Chester Zoo, Paignton Zoo and The Rhino Fertility Project at the Oxford University.

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