All of the businesses connected to the printing industry received their accolades for International Trade. The other categories are Innovation, Promoting Opportunity and Sustainable Development.
Boxclever Press in Wincanton won its award after growing its overseas sales by more than 600% over three years. The firm was set up 15 years ago by Sarah Sadler who created a range of stationery to organise busy homes and families. The firm now sells to Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and the USA, and won its award for outstanding short-term growth.
“Learning how to sell our products in different languages and work with customers overseas has been amazing fun and overcoming the hurdles and difficulties that red tape and the rigours of import/export has been a real challenge for us,” Sadler said.
“When I started this business nearly 15 years ago, I didn’t understand all the long-term business planning that is so much a part of my role today. It’s probably a very good thing too as if I’d known what we would end up achieving and doing I think I would have been too stage struck and overawed to start!”
Easyskinz in Fareham was also lauded for outstanding short-term growth, having grown exports to more than £1m, or 87% of total sales. The family-owned firm produces printed ‘skins’ for smartphones and other electronic devices including games consoles and sells direct to consumers in more than 140 countries worldwide.
Hot stamping foil supplier Foilco of Warrington has grown overseas sales by 177% over the course of six years, reaching nearly £2.5m last year. The company received its award for outstanding continuous growth.
Managing director Paul Hornby said: “This award is a tribute to the hard work every member of the Foilco team put in to ensuring we give our customers the best possible products matched with an unrivalled level of service.”
Parts maker Panel Graphic combines specialist printing and coating techniques in the creation of high quality plastic parts that are used for a variety of applications, including control panels in luxury cars. The Norwich firm won for outstanding short-term growth after export sales grew to 63% of total sales.
Universal Smart Cards in Accrington provides smart card solutions for a range of applications including cashless payments, loyalty and membership, smart ticketing and print management. Overseas sales at the Accrington business have more than doubled, and it has opened a subsidiary office in the USA, which is now its biggest market.
Global Graphics subsidiary Meteor Inkjet in Cambridge said that its specialist know-how in designing electronics to drive inkjet printheads had allowed it to successfully compete with low-cost overseas competition. Almost all of its sales are to overseas markets.
Another inkjet-related winner was Diamond Dispersions of Sheffield, which makes water-based pigmented dispersions and dye dispersions for the digitally printed textile market. Exports at the business have increased to 82% of total sales, and the firm – which previously won an International Trade award in 2012 – was recognised this year for outstanding short-term growth in overseas sales.
Nottingham-based drying technology specialist Natgraph grew export sales by 134% over the three-year review period, and has added new business in New Zealand, Sweden and Italy to its main markets of Japan, Germany and the USA. The company supplies drying and curing technology to a number of industrial printing markets including electronics, security printing, and textile printing. Sales director Douglas Gray said the team was “absolutely delighted”.
“Our company boasts a talented team featuring expertise, deep experience, limitless energy and high commitment to the business – for the benefit of our customers. It is hugely rewarding that this has resulted in significant sales growth leading to this Award.”
Meech International, supplies its range of static control and surface cleaning products to a number of industries including printing and packaging. The Witney-headquartered company grew overseas sales by 64% to £13m and picks up its third Queen’s Award for International Trade this year. It has more than 7,000 customers around the world, with a network of distributors serving 60 countries.
A total of 201 businesses were recognised in the scheme this year.