Weapons company among Queen’s award winners

MBDA obtains innovation award while 3D animation games designer and food group also among winners

A weapons company that has developed an air-launched missile suitable for firing in urban environments, a food group which has encouraged the consumption of beetroot and a 3D animation games designer are among the diverse range of businesses to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise on Monday.

More than 160 firms overall have received the prestigious prizes this year in three categories of international trade, sustainable development plus innovation, according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Hertfordshire-based MBDA obtained an innovation award for converting the Brimstone anti-armour missile into a dual purpose weapon to be used by crews flying RAF Tornado jets.

The extension gives the aircraft the capability to engage a “range of targets including snipers, mortar teams, improvised explosive devices and fast-moving manoeuvring vehicles. Pinpoint accuracy and low collateral damage make the weapons suitable for urban deployment,” said the citation.

G’s Fresh Beetroot based in March, Cambridgeshire has received an innovation prize for developing a way of steam cooking and storing vegetables using natural alternatives to artificial preservatives such as acetic acid as well as using robot technology in food production plus new product design. “The unique innovations have led the business into international markets of the US and Australia with development opportunities in Europe and Asia,” said the judges.

Axis Productions won a prize for “outstanding growth in overseas earnings over the last three years”.

The Glasgow-based company develops 3D animation which is used on films, commercials and on trailers and promotional material for the computer games industry. Axis has worked on some of the biggest selling games such as Halo and Need for Speed.

Other winners include Willmot Dixon, which obtained an award for becoming the first British construction company to achieve a carbon neutral certificate and Chinook Science which has developed thermal heat treatment plants for recovering recycled metal and generating renewable energy from waste.

David Cameron, the prime minister, said one of Britain’s strengths was its enterprise and it was important that we celebrate it. “In recognising their outstanding and innovative achievements, and their contribution to our economy, I hope other businesses and entrepreneurs will be inspired to follow their lead.”

Vince Cable, the business secretary, said: that companies that were growing, innovating and championing UK business overseas deserved the recognition that these awards bestowed.

“With more than 100 international trade winners this year, it is clear that Britain is emerging as a leader in selling its quality services and products throughout the world.”

Winners of prizes are visited by a royal representative and presented with a crystal bowl to mark their achievement. They also attend a celebratory reception at Buckingham Palace. They can use the Queen’s award emblem in advertising, marketing and on packaging for a period of five years, as a symbol of their quality and success.

In a survey of Queen’s award winners, 76% reported the win had brought added commercial value to their business while 79% of winners reported improved staff morale.

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