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The best of the North West’s exporters gathered this week at Aintree Race Courses to celebrate their success with UK Trade & Investment, and to discuss how to motivate more local businesses to follow in their successful footsteps.

The event, to congratulate the companies on winning the Queen’s Award for International Trade or the Queen’s Award for Innovation, was attended by the twelve North West winners from across the region, three of which are from Merseyside.

The Queen’s Awards are highly prestigious awards for outstanding achievement by UK businesses, judged to a demanding level.  In order to win an International Trade Award, businesses must be able to demonstrate substantial growth in overseas earnings and commercial success as a result of exports at a level considered ‘outstanding’ for relative business size and business sector.

The Merseyside winners attending the event to meet their fellow Queen’s Award champions and to hear about how they can help encourage new companies onto the export ladder were Clarke Energy Ltd, based in Knowsley, Smylie Limited from Birkenhead, both Queen’s Award for International Trade Winners, and NGF Europe from St Helens who won the Innovation Award.

Also attending were Cheshire companies Cygnet Group Ltd from Northwich, Extronics Ltd from Middlewich, as well as Carradice of Nelson, T.I.S.S Limited and What More UK Limited, all from Lancashire.  Greater Manchester companies in attendance were Contra Vision Ltd and Park Cloud Ltd, both from Stockport, High Voltage Partial Discharge Ltd from Salford, Innovative Technology Limited from Oldham and Travel Counsellors Ltd from Bolton

Clive Drinkwater, Director of UKTI North West, said,

“As I have said on many occasions now, winning business overseas is vital for our future growth so, on behalf of UKTI North West, I would like to congratulate the companies here today.  The achievement of winning the Queen’s Award for International Trade is a tremendous example for other businesses to follow.

“This year there are 12 Queen’s Award for International Trade winners here in the North West – an improvement on last year’s total of 11.  As well as that some of our best exporting companies have also won the Queen’s Award for Innovation.  This is a fantastic result and one that I feel we should mark here in the region.  I am delighted to be able to bring so many of our winners together for this event to celebrate their success, share experiences and look ahead to future opportunities.

“All eyes are on the North West at the moment with the International Festival of Business (IFB).  I have moved my office to Liverpool for the duration of this fantastic festival, and so far UKTI has already seen over 400 businesses attend our events, meeting nearly 40 overseas buyers.

“I have seen plenty of enthusiastic delegates at IFB meeting experts from all over the world, and would strongly encourage companies to get involved and find out how they too can become exporters. Overseas trade is vital to the growth of the economy and the growth of individual businesses and the companies here are examples of what can be achieved.”

The 162 Queen’s Award winners in 2014 ranged from small, innovative private businesses to large FTSE companies, and all companies are encouraged to enter next year’s historic 50th Anniversary Queen’s Awards.

Entries are open now and close on 30 September 2014.  More details and an application form are available here.


Clarke Energy Ltd

Established in 1989, Clarke Energy Ltd supplies, engineers and maintains gas engine power plants, and employs 234 people worldwide, the majority in its base in Knowsley. Its services range from the supply of a gas engine, through to the complete turnkey installation of a gas-fuelled combined heat and power (CHP) plant.

It wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade having achieved overseas earnings growth of 129% over the last six years. In recent years it has penetrated seven new markets including Nigeria, Bangladesh and Tanzania and it is in the process of

investing in South Africa to strengthen its position in Africa. A well-established exporter, Clarke Energy Ltd utilises a diverse strategy of acquisition, wholly owned subsidiaries and the establishment of territorial management hubs to service less

developed markets to facilitate its international expansion.

Smylie Limited

Founded in 2003, Smylie Ltd from Birkenhead exports British food and drink products. A 100% exporter, Smylie wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade having seen growth in sales of 75% over the last three years. Its leading export markets are UAE, Qatar, Hong Kong and Bahrain. It has recently entered North America and New Zealand and is in the process of developing the Chinese market with support from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). Relocation to new, much larger premises has enabled the company to take on new business as it progresses a clear implementation strategy of ongoing market research, raising of its company profile and developing a close working relationship with UKTI and British High Commissions to further its international expansion.

NGF Europe Limited

NGF Europe wins an Innovation Award for designing and manufacturing glass cords used to reinforce timing belts that can run in oil for the automotive industry.  The world-leading and commercially successful products comprise hundreds of filaments of glass fibre, each coated with rubber latex.  The company employs 206 people and is based in St Helens.

For further information about UKTI services visit

Photo caption above: Best of the North West Exporters at Aintree Racecourse to celebrate their success with UK Trade and Investment. Clive Drinkwater, (2nd left) Director of UKTI North West with winners of the Queens Award for International Trade 2014 from Merseyside. From left. Alistair Poole, of NGF Europe Ltd, Alex Marshall, of Clarke Energy Ltd, and Chris Smylie, of Smylie Ltd.

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