Queen’s Award for Enterprise

The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is the most prestigious award for outstanding achievement and national recognition for business excellence.

What is the Queen’s Award?

Instituted by Royal Warrant in 1965, the first awards were made in 1966 under the name of the ‘Queen’s Award to Industry’. The scheme was renamed the ‘Queen’s Award for Export and Technology’ in 1975. A further renaming occurred in 1999 to become the ‘Queen’s Award for Enterprise’ as we know it today. The scheme consisted of three award categories: International Trade, Innovation, and Sustainable Development. The fourth category, ‘Promoting Opportunity’, was introduced in 2017.

There have been over 7,000 companies that have won awards since the programme started.

The directors of an award-winning company are invited to a Royal reception, they are also then presented with the award at their company by one of the Queen’s representatives, a Lord-Lieutenant. Additionally, the company can fly the Queen’s Award flag at their main office and use the emblem on their marketing materials, including packaging, advertising, stationery, and website.

Furthermore, the company receives an official certificate, a commemorative crystal trophy and a grant of appointment, and the award is held for 5 years.

Each year, the number of awards given to businesses varies, giving every company the chance to win regardless of how many applications are submitted.

Awarded companies benefit from a range of advantages, including high staff morale, increased sales, global exposure, increased recognition, and excellent marketing opportunities.


73% of winners in the International Trade category
directly attributed increased sales to winning a Queen’s Award*.
*research of International Trade winners between 2012—2015 conducted by the University of Strathclyde

East of England

The East of England has consistently submitted excellent applications that resulted in fantastic outcomes.

122 awards have been won by East of England companies over the past five years. The region is the 3rd most successful region out of the 12 UK regions for awards won.

The East of England’s most awarded category is International Trade with 77 awards won in the past 5 years, followed by Innovation with 37 awards.

Hear what a few of the East of England double award winners have to say:

Ecotile Flooring, based in Luton, Bedfordshire, won both the International Trade Award and the Innovation Award in 2017.

Lucinda O’Reilly Exports & Marketing Director said:

It was a grand week and a brilliant way to enter the third decade of Ecotile. With our new conquests in the UAE and in the Americas, we are confident that with the Queen’s stamp of approval, we will become a much stronger brand overseas.” 

More recently Norfolk based company Cobalt Aerospace Ltd won the 2021 Innovation Award and the International Trade Award. Director & Co-founder Dan Rust commented:

We were bowled over to learn that we had won, not one, but two awards. I’m incredibly proud of the whole team – each of whom has contributed to our success with their hard work and dedication over the last eight years. To be recognised in this way is a huge cause for celebration, and excellent motivation to achieve even more over the next eight!”

Dura Composites is an outstanding example of a company that has grown and thrived through the years. They won the International Trade Award in 2017 and then went on to win the Innovation Award three years later. We got a little more information about their Queen’s Award journey.

Why did your business decide to apply for a Queen’s Award for Enterprise?

“We’ve had a reputation as leaders in innovation for almost a quarter of a century, from modest beginnings supplying anti-slip flooring for marinas & pontoons. If innovation is about developing more effective processes, products, and ideas, then it’s absolutely at the core of the Dura Composites ethos and has allowed us to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive market.

Our vision of making composites mainstream has kept us focused on showcasing how they can be used to solve real-world challenges for our clients and customers, often above more traditionally accepted materials such as steel, wood and concrete. It’s this passion for innovation and performance improvement that inspired us to apply for the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.”

What did winning the award mean for your business/ staff?

“Winning the Queen’s Award has brought an immense sense of pride both for our UK team and our overseas distribution partners, and our recent presentation by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex Jennifer Tolhurst was the high point of our year.

Having won previously in 2017 in the category of International Trade we have experienced how globally renowned the award is and have seen it open new doors for us, as well as serving as Royal recognition of our achievements at the forefront of composite material technology.

We’ve been delighted to fly the Queen’s Award emblem flag at each of our premises and have included it within our livery, marketing materials and product packaging wherever possible to help give us an edge over our competitors. It’s also been a great boost to staff morale and has undoubtedly instilled confidence and pride in employees at all levels of our organisation.”


The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is free to enter, and businesses can apply for more than one award per year.

  • The company must be based in the UK this includes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
  • Company tax returns must be filed with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • Be a self-contained enterprise that markets its own products or services and is under its own management
  • Have at least two full-time UK employees, or part-time equivalents
  • Straight strong corporate social responsibility
  • The organisation can be a business or a not-for-profit business
  • Each category then has further criteria.

Find out more

This has been a challenging year for many companies, which has not gone unrecognised by the Queen’s Award management team. They believe it is important that the Queen’s Award still takes the time to reflect and celebrate the success of outstanding British businesses.

Ensuring businesses can still apply for a Queen’s Award, despite factors that could have prevented them from doing as well as they had originally predicted for 2021/22 is imperative, therefore there may be some flexibility in the data you need to provide.

How to apply

The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is free to enter. Applications close Midday on the 22nd September 2021.The winners will be announced in April 2022.

You need to:

  1. Create an account and register your details
  2. Answer questions about your eligibility, this should take less than 15 minutes
  3. Submit your application by midday on the 8th of September 2021

Start your award entry today

Application guidance & tips

Top Tips

  1. Make sure your company is definitely eligible
  2. Why not plan your responses by downloading the PDF application form
  3. Make sure to use plain English
  4. Providing evidence is key
  5. Tell your story
  6. Why not include collaborators you have worked alongside
  7. Ensure you have given yourself sufficient time and don’t rush the application

All applications should provide both quantitative and qualitative evidence to support your claim

Innovation application

Make sure to use plain English when describing your innovation

Your story:

    • What was the situation before which led to your innovation?
    • The challenges you have overcome
    • Why is your innovation unique?
    • How your innovation benefits your business, customers and others

International Trade application

Make sure you use plain English when describing your product/ service/ exporting strategy

Your story:

    • Why is penetration of a particular market an achievement? e.g. are you the first, leading, fastest growing UK exporter in this market?
    • Why is your performance better than that of competitors?
    • What challenges have affected your trade and how have you overcome them?

Sustainable Development application

Make sure you use plain English when describing your sustainable development practices/ intervention/ policies

Your story:

    • What are you doing to be sustainable compared to your competitors?
    • How are you leading the way and influencing others to be more sustainable?
    • Restore, recycle, regenerate and the United Nations Sustainable Development goals

Promoting Opportunity application

Make sure you use plain English when describing how you have helped socially disadvantaged individuals to progress via an apprenticeship scheme/program/intervention

Your story:

    • What was the situation before your intervention?
    • How did you develop their support/program and how has it been embedded into your organisations culture?
    • What are the benefits to those on the program?

Start your award entry today