• George Oliver

‘Lockdown Two won’t impact our positive attributes'

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

The Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire paused for reflection while drafting a presentation one recent Saturday morning.

Mike Kapur OBE had penned an introduction to his event at Leicester Business Festival. It was built around optimism in the county’s business community.

But what should he do as newspapers that morning revealed the looming Lockdown 2?

Was it an appropriate time to talk to businesses about gaining a Royal Seal of Approval? After all, many firms were considering what they would do simply to get through the coming weeks.

“On Saturday morning I started to read the positive notes I had written and the PM’s announcement later that evening made me have to reflect quite hard as to whether I should be so positive this afternoon,” he told an LBF event promoting the Queen's Award for Enterprise (QAE).

“My view is that I should retain my message of optimism because the positive attributes of our economy are still in place despite the lockdown. What do I mean by that?

“Leicestershire people and businesses are innovative and resilient and so is our local economy so we have every reason to remain positive and ambitious for the future.

“We’ve done it before, and whilst I won’t pretend it will be easy, we’ll do it again.

“That’s why I didn’t want to change the positive message in my notes for today - and that’s why I’m convinced that there are many potential Queen's Award for Enterprise winners in our county.”

Return on investment

Several guests at the event went on to remark that the Queen’s Award for Enterprise is the pre-eminent award in British industry.

For little more than an investment of 30-40 hours of time spent pulling together application data, organisations can join the likes of the MIRA Technology Park, near Hinckley, and Ashby-based luxury and classic car supplier Tom Hartley Junior

Representatives of both spoke on Tuesday in support of the benefits of the award and the difference it had made to their organisations. Jack Bartlett, who works in global strategic development for Horiba Mira, recalled receiving the International Trade prize in 2018.

He reflected on the international importance of the recognition, describing how senior figures from the company’s Japanese leadership team flew in for a local presentation ceremony timed to coincide with the ground-breaking for a further phase of development.

Meanwhile, Tom Hartley Junior described meeting Prince Charles (and discussing the heir to the throne’s classic Aston Martin) during an invitation-only ceremony after also winning recognition two years ago for his organisation’s international trade. 

The categories

Other previous winners report the award's advantageousness in securing business in global markets. The process celebrates the success of exciting and innovative businesses which are leading the way with pioneering products or services. It therefore attracts publicity.

The QAE is divided between four categories:

  • innovation;

  • international trade;

  • sustainable development;

  • promoting opportunity through social mobility.

Nominees representing Leicestershire’s innovators are keenly sought.

The LBF event heard that consideration of the impact of both Brexit and lockdown will be factored in to the judging process for 2021.

There are typically 200 winners in a single year. Of these 90% are SMEs.

So, could you be the next Leicestershire-based organisation to have the Queen’s Award flag flying over your business and its emblem on your letterhead?

“We don’t seem to be very good at shouting how good we are from the rooftops,” said Mike.

“Whatever the reason for that is, it’s clear to me that it means some of our brilliant businesses are not getting the rewards or accolades they rightly deserve.”

You can do something about that by starting the ball rolling by contacting Mike’s office at lieutenancyoffice@leics.gov.uk

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