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16 July 2020
The Lloyds Bank Exporter of The Year Award celebrates UK companies that have demonstrated significant overseas growth, whether that means opening a new office abroad, new relationships with overseas companies, or a substantial growth in exports.
In the latest of our series of blogs looking at recent winners of the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards, we’re finding out about the fantastic firms that have proved themselves as truly great export-driven businesses over the last few years.
It’s an important and timely topic: with supply chains disrupted, it’s understandable that many UK exporters have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as category judge Allyson Stewart-Allen told us recently, the pandemic “will test which companies have sustained their international expansion despite it.” To hear more from Allyson, you can read our interview with her and find out more about what she expects from this category.
2019: Stiltz Ltd
Stiltz Homelifts began life in 2010. It set about trying to transform and disrupt the traditional and slow-moving mobility industry withinnovative new stairlifts designed to provide better ways for people with limited mobility to get around. Their objective has been to make attractive and well-designed products, not just in the UK, but around the world.
Stiltz was awarded the big prize in 2019 for expanding its innovative operation in 37 countries across the globe. Its distributors can be found everywhere from Sweden to New Zealand, and from Kenya to the United States. The firm’s rapid growth, strong leadership and international outlook made it a worthy winner last year.
2018: Vision Group
Textile company Vision Group supplies luxury fabrics and materials to the hospitality, laundry, retail and public sector markets. In the years prior to its victory at the 2018 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards, the firm had expanded into more than 65 companies, winning custom and plaudits from hospitality brands including Marriott, Hilton, Accor, Jumeirah, IHG and others.
They have also adopted a sustainable approach to this international expansion, purchasing products only from manufacturers that are actively working to improve the environment using sustainable and recyclable materials and significantly lowering the amount of waste, packaging and energy the businesses uses. This global outreach combined with an ethical, environmental approach led to their deserved victory in 2018.
To find out more, we spoke to Vision Group last year to learn about what they’d been up to since the awards, and just how much winning meant to them.
2017: J&C Joel
J&C Joel has established itself as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of flame-retardant fabrics, drapery and stage engineering solutions. Based in the Yorkshire town of Sowerby Bridge, the firm has created a global network of offices across Europe, the Middle East, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Macau. Its victory in 2017 represents the culmination of years of investment in its overseas operations, not just opening new offices, but significantly increasing the range of value-added services it offers it clients.
With the UK business community so often focusing its attention on London and the South East of England, the Yorkshire-based J&C Joel demonstrates the export potential of companies across the country.
Exports will be a key part of the UK’s economic recovery as the COVID-19 lockdown ends. That’s why the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards is keen to celebrate UK firms with an international outlook and a bold strategy to grow their business into new markets. Will your firm join these fantastic winners of previous years? There’s still time to enter and find out!