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Business & Economy

North East firms are celebrating Queen’s Awards success

A number of North East businesses have been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Awards.

Sunderland-based lithium-ion battery pack manufacturer Hyperdrive Innovation has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its innovation and rapid growth.

South Shields quality assurance firm NESIT Services achieved the same award for its work throughout the UK and its expansion into Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Sedgefield telecoms design and manufacturing company Filtronic was recognised for its outstanding short-term growth in export sales, while family-run Acorn Dairy was presented with the sustainable development award for its commitment to producing organically.

Newcastle-based social enterprise The Skill Mill was also recognised in the sustainable development category for its work helping young people break the chain of re-offending.

Hyperdrive Innovation’s HY Energy Battery Pack – a zero emission alternative to the internal combustion engine that is already decarbonising vehicles across a wide range of industries – was cited in the company’s Queen’s Award success.

The business was founded in 2012, employs 70 people in Sunderland and is working with JCB, Hitachi and other recognisable brands on decarbonisation projects.

CEO Chris Pennison said: “Receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise is testament to the hard work and effort of the Hyperdrive team over recent years.

“We are at an inflection point in our growth as demand for innovative battery technology is increasing more than ever.”

NECIT Services was recognised for having recently built an extensive global network involving more than 2000 independent inspectors, auditors, and expeditors across mechanical, electrical and protective coating disciplines.

The company employs 17 directly employed staff and is aiming to become a £20 million turnover business by 2025.

Managing director Cherelle Lyons said: “We hope that winning a Queen’s Award will help showcase the business and allow us to further expand in both North America and here in the UK.

“To see all our hard work recognised in this way is fantastic. It’s a proud moment, not just for Peter and me, but for everyone associated with NECIT Services.”

Filtronic stood out in its field for the success of its microwave and mmWave solutions in the telecoms, critical communications and defence application markets, where it is considered an industry leader.

Chief commercial officer Walter Magiera said: “Filtronic’s award celebrates the global nature of our business.

“It specifically acknowledges the export success of our E-band mmWave transceiver products, of which we have shipped over 50,000 units to date with 99.9 per cent destined for customers outside the UK.”

Boasting its own wind turbine, green production processes and popular dairy products, Acorn Dairy was celebrated for having one of the most sustainable agricultural operations in the UK.

The company uses no pesticides or artificial fertilisers and avoids routine antibiotics for its 500-strong herd of Dairy Shorthorn cows.

Director Caroline Bell said: “We are delighted to have won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, especially in a field that is so close to our hearts.

“Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, from how we feed the herd to how we generate our power.”

The Skill Mill delivers intensive six-month work programmes for 16–18-year-olds and was one of only three companies to win two Queen’s Awards – one for sustainable development and another for promoting opportunity through social mobility.

Managing director David Parks said: “To be awarded one Queen’s Award is amazing, to get two is something none of us could ever have imagined.

“It’s fantastic recognition for our staff, partners and the young people we help – they’ve all shown such resilience and fortitude in the past year to grow our services and increase our geographic reach.”