Awarding excellence provides inspiration
IT'S a pleasure to be invited to contribute to this special supplement featuring the Top 100 Businesses in Gloucestershire.
One of my tasks as the Lord-Lieutenant of the county is to support and celebrate excellence in all shapes and forms.
The Queen's Birthday Honours List has just honoured many people for their outstanding personal contribution to the arts, industry, science and public services.
Another important aspect of celebrating excellence is presenting Queen's Awards for Enterprise to businesses and organisations.
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Each year, about 150 businesses in the UK receive such awards and Gloucestershire regularly receives six or seven.
For our size this can be considered more than our fair share and this year we received eight awards – a record for the county.
To qualify for a Queen's Award, businesses must be able to demonstrate excellence over a sustained period – excellent research and development, excellent staff teams and excellent products and services.
As I visit successful businesses across the county, I am impressed by the passion of their leaders and by the energy and vibrancy of the organisation.
The technological developments in which they are involved are awe-inspiring – and world beating.
Some, like Adey Professional Heating Solutions, use relatively simple technology in innovative ways, while the likes of L-3 TRL of Tewkesbury, GE Aviation and Renishaw are involved in leading medical, surveillance, counter terrorist and defence products.
I am aware, however, that not all businesses in the county have a design and manufacturing base.
Many are of a professional support nature, while others are micro-businesses in niche areas.
Increasingly, too, we have courageous individuals launching out and starting their own businesses in a difficult economic environment.
The vitality of all is essential if we are to flourish as a county.
It is good to see some of our highest performing companies led by individuals who set out on their careers as apprentices. They are now, in their turn, fostering apprenticeship schemes and one of the highlights of 2012 has been the Gloucestershire Media Apprenticeship Awards evening, held for the first time in the presence of The Princess Royal.
I have no doubt that these outstanding apprentices will be tomorrow's leaders.
I salute the excellence of all of those organisations which feature in this BusinessWeek supplement – for the health of Gloucestershire, may your example encourage others and may you go from strength to strength.