Some 150 businesses and individuals will today be named as winners of the Queen's Awards for Enterprise, which honour business-related achievements.
Divided into three categories – international trade, innovation and sustainable development – the awards go to companies large and small, ranging from three enterprises with just three employees each to a business with more than 100,000 staff.
The awards, handed out on the Queen's birthday, are for "individuals who have played an outstanding and significant role in promoting the growth of business enterprise and entrepreneurial skills and attitudes", as well as "outstanding UK companies".
In the individual category, John Eversley, director and vice-chair of the Tyne and Wear Enterprise Trust, is to be given a lifetime achievement award for "pioneering and supporting enterprise in the North-east following the decline of the coal and shipbuilding industries" over 30 years.
In the business section of the awards, international trade winners include Ivory & Ledoux Ltd, whose origins go back over 100 years. The company is an international food merchant that trades in 27 overseas markets. Since 2002, overseas sales at I&L have more than doubled to over £107m. I&L has developed more environmentally friendly packing mediums, including the introduction of food pouch packs to replace cans and glass jars.
Innovation winners include Audio Network, for its innovative approach to music licensing. The business has had a significant impact on the value of the UK media export market, which exceeded £1bn for the first time in 2007, and offers music fully cleared for all platforms in all territories. Other music libraries are now attempting to adopt Audio Network's approach.
In the area of sustainable development, Liftshare is to receive an award for a business that uses online journey matching software. The company, launched 10 years ago, believes it has helped to save UK motorists 50 million car miles, by matching travellers up and helping them to make their journeys more efficiently. Some 220,000 people have registered with its network and more than 1,000 local authorities, businesses, universities, hospitals, festivals and other community groups have worked with the company to establish their own car share schemes.