Entries are now open for the most prestigious awards available to UK businesses – and firms in Shropshire are being encouraged to apply for this year’s prize.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are awarded to businesses for outstanding achievement in four categories: International Trade, Innovation, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity.

Businesses across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin were urged to enter the awards at two launch ceremonies attended by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire, Mrs Anna Turner.

She said: “It was great to have so many of the county’s businesses with us for the launch events and I hope many of them will now go on to submit entries.

“The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise were first presented in 1966 and have since been seen as the ultimate seal of approval for businesses.

“Winners get so much more than a trophy and the right to use the logo and fly the flag – they get worldwide recognition that they are a leader in business and an example for others to follow.”

Mandy Thorn MBE DL, chair of the Marches LEP, added: “We have hundreds of fantastic businesses here in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin who are leading the way for others to follow. The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is the most prestigious award a business can win and can provide a massive boost to your business profile.

“It doesn’t matter if your business employs two people or 2,000. The awards are judged solely on merit and are a real showcase for the most successful enterprises.”

The two launch events were a breakfast meeting at Origins restaurant at Shrewsbury College followed by lunch at the offices of i2r Packaging Solutions in Telford, which has previously won Queen’s Awards for both innovation and international trade.

Peter Reay from i2r Packaging said: “I was delighted to be able to host the meeting at our new UK headquarters in Telford. Hopefully the event will help to inspire other local companies in the Shropshire region to participate in one of the country’s most sought after awards.”

At the launch events, representatives of interested businesses learned about the application process and had the chance to ask questions as well as hearing from previous award winners.

In Shrewsbury, Tullis Matson from Stallion AI Services Ltd, and Andrew Smith from Derwen College presented their experiences of winning the award with Councillor Lezley Picton, leader of Shropshire Council closing the event.

In Telford guests heard from Sara Williams from Proto Labs Ltd and Peter Reay from hosts i2r Packaging Solutions Ltd, triple and double award winners respectively with Councillor Shaun Davies, Telford & Wrekin Council leader closing the event.

Applications for the 2022 Queen’s Awards are open until midday on September 6. To be eligible, a company must be based in the UK, have at least two full time UK employees or part-time equivalents, file its company tax returns with HMRC, be a self-contained enterprise that markets its own products or services under its own management and demonstrate strong corporate social responsibility.

Winners receives an invitation to a Royal reception, a special crystal trophy presented by the Lord Lieutenant, the right to fly the award flag at its headquarters and use the logo in its marketing for five years as well as worldwide recognition as a winner.

Full details are available at https://www.qaeshropshire.co.uk/