Techbuyer, Harrogate
Techbuyer, Harrogate

Five North Yorkshire businesses recognised with the Queen’s Award

21 April 2020

Five pioneering businesses from the North Yorkshire Lieutenancy area have scooped this year’s Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Of the winning companies, two have been recognised for Innovation, which includes invention, design, production of goods, performance, marketing and distribution.

The other three have claimed the accolade for International Trade, proving that they have achieved substantial growth in overseas earning and in commercial success.

The businesses being honoured are:

John King Chains Ltd, Sherburn in Elmet (International Trade): The principal activity of this family enterprise is the manufacture of heavy series and bespoke conveyor chains used in the mechanical handling of bulk materials. The business has grown to approximately 100 employees with subsidiary but standalone businesses in Africa, South America, North America and Central Europe, with plans to open in Australia in 2020. A new overseas market established recently was Iraq. Today their satellite businesses trade regionally, for example John King based in Poland covers the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Baltics. Otherwise, the UK headquarters manages markets direct. Over the last three years, overseas sales have grown by 77 per cent.

Tech buyer Ltd, Harrogate (International Trade): Founded in 2005, it specialises in buying new and redundant IT equipment from companies, restoring it to factory specifications, where necessary securely erasing data, and then shipping to new customers with a manufacturer comparable three-year warranty. Overseas sales have increased over six years from £4.2m to £19.2m, total growth of 355 per cent and now account for 63.4 per cent of total sales. The company has acquired a subsidiary in the USA, has built technical facilities in France and Australia and has opened sales offices in Germany, the USA and New Zealand. It now sells in 80 markets worldwide.

Kevin Towers, Techbuyer CEO, said:

I am really proud of the way that so many people, in so many teams, departments and countries work cleverly and creatively to achieve extremely strong results for the business.

It is thanks to their collective hard work over the years that we have won this award: it takes a lot of collaboration from ambitious individuals and teams to successfully buy and sell internationally.

We currently trade with over 100 countries and will continue to invest and expand our teams in order to provide quality refurbished equipment around the globe.

GBUK Banana, Selby (Innovation): The company has developed a safer way of re-positioning or transferring patients. Every year in the UK, thousands of people working in healthcare injure themselves moving patients. Versal replaces the need for multiple flat or tubular slide sheets. Its unique design can be used in every clinical situation, facilitating a full range of patient movement, with the functionality and versatility of both flat and tubular slide sheets. This minimises inventory, simplifies training requirements and helps to ensure universal compliance.

CPOMS House, Skipton (Innovation): A common challenge in safeguarding practice within schools has been that information or communication about an incident is “lost in the gaps”. The company developed a unique online system where all staff in a school can log concerns relating to safeguarding, child protection and virtually anything pastorally that can impact the wellbeing of a child. The flexible system has the choice to monitor special educational needs, behaviour, medical and mental health issues, or even reward systems alongside safeguarding, enabling the school to see how all of the above and more can affect each other.

Absolute Antibody Ltd, Redcar (International Trade): Established in 2012, the company offers antibody sequencing, engineering and recombinant production as a service and a catalogue of recombinant antibodies, engineered into new formats. The USA was identified as the biggest market and the company acquired Kerafast Inc in 2018 to focus on this market. It has built a network of 30 distributors worldwide to serve customers in 62 countries. These include 14 of the top 15 pharmaceutical companies by revenue as well as academic researchers. Overseas sales have grown by 100 per cent over the three-year application period and the proportion of sales exported has increased to 81 per cent of total sales.

The Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Mrs Johanna Ropner, said:

I would like to congratulate the five winners who have been recognised for international trade and innovation. We work in partnership with the Local Enterprise Partnership to both promote the awards and ensure some of our most successful businesses are recognised at the highest level.


David A Kerfoot MBE DL, Chair of the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the UK and I am delighted to see we have five worthy winners from the region. They have all proved significant commercial success, and it is important to recognise such achievements of those businesses so close to home.

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