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Scottish firms claim Queen’s Awards

DYNAMIC Scottish companies have bagged 12 of this year's Queen's Awards for Enterprise, in sectors ranging from software and optronics to meat processing, military aircraft and wind farms.

success: Edinburgh University graduate Aravinda Korala set up global software company KAL 22 years ago. The firm has now been recognised for its work. Picture: Steve Cox
success: Edinburgh University graduate Aravinda Korala set up global software company KAL 22 years ago. The firm has now been recognised for its work. Picture: Steve Cox

Eight of the winners are independent companies, the others having parents in Spain, France, Italy and Norway.

“The standard of applications has been extremely high this year with 20% of companies applying receiving awards, double last year’s amount,” say the organisers.

The winners can expect a company visit by a royal representative, a crystal bowl, and an invitation to Buckingham Palace in July.

They can also use The Queen’s Award emblem for a period of five years.

In a recent survey, 77% of winners reported the win had brought added commercial value to their business, and 57% of exporters said it had increased recognition overseas.

Eight Scottish companies were among 102 winners in the international trade category.

Fourth generation family business JW Galloway, the Scotbeef producer employing more than 650 staff in Bridge of Allan, is recognised for the “outstanding achievement” of trebling overseas sales in three years to nearly £42 million.

“Most of its exports go to Western Europe, but new markets have been gained in Poland and Hong Kong through successfully promoting the quality of the products and, among other things, investment in R&D and new facilities,” says the citation.

KAL, set up by Edinburgh University graduate Dr Aravinda Korala 22 years ago, has developed sophisticated software for banking ATMs and now supplies all of Citibank’s machines around the globe.

It employs professionals from 20 different nations with software certified in over 30 languages, and has almost doubled sales in three years to £10m.

Dr Korala said: “We have got our software running in 80 countries. Citibank is one of our proudest customers – we are in the process of rolling out our software for them in 28 countries.”

Graham Birse, managing director of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, commented: “The economic recovery depends on companies like this who are willing to be bold in export markets.”

Other winners include ClinTec International, which employs 34 in Glasgow in providing contract research to the global pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries in 40 countries; and Craneware, which employs 65 in Edinburgh and since 2005 has more than doubled its sales of revenue integrity software for the US hospital market to £63m.

Others winners are Peak Scientific Instruments (84 staff at Inchinnan), which makes generators for use in laboratories and hospitals and has doubled exports over six years; Glasgow-based Sciencesoft, which has developed 3D visualisation software for the oil and gas industry; Zenith Oilfield Technology (48 staff in Aberdeen), winning the award for the second time in its seven-year life; and French-owned Thales Optronics in Glasgow, employing almost 900, the only foreign-owned winner though originally registered in Scotland in 1912.

Three of the 44 Queen’s Awards for innovation go to Scottish companies: Norwegian-owned Read Well Services in Aberdeen (71 people in Aberdeen) for its hydraulic tube technology; Survival Craft Inspectorate (85 in Aberdeen) for its quick-release lifeboat launch system; and Italian-owned Selex Galileo (more than 1850 in Edinburgh) for its “continuous development of the design and production of targeting laser systems used by military aircraft”.

One of the 10 national awards for sustainability goes to Spanish-owned ScottishPower Renewables for the Whitelee wind farm at Eaglesham Moor near Glasgow.

“Whitelee is Europe’s largest generator of wind energy and sectoral best practice habitat management has been integral to its construction and operation,” says the citation.

“The company’s commitment to working with local communities reflects the strong emphasis it places on delivering tangible benefits to the areas within which it operates.”

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