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Innovative water company transforms lives worldwide

Posted by: and , Posted on: - Categories: Innovation, Winners

Guest post by Kieran Whiteside, Marketing and Communications Manager at Belu.

The Belu team being presented with he award by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant.
The Belu team being awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise by Deputy Lord Lieutenant Ian Johnston.

Earlier this year, Belu were honoured to win our second Queen’s Award. This time, for Enterprise in Innovation for our pioneering Belu Filter Initiative.

As a social enterprise we believe in a better way of doing business, and that through business we can help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. We just happen to do it in water. We also want to prove that we can deliver an environmentally improved offer in the water market. That’s why we were particularly proud to win for a product that does just that.

About the Belu Filter Initiative

The Belu Filter Initiative is a unique model designed for restaurants and hotels to help them remove single-use water bottles while transforming lives worldwide with clean water.

How it works is simple. The outlets receive a water filtration system completely free of charge in return for raising voluntary £1 contributions from each table’s bill. As Belu gives 100% of our profits to our charity partner WaterAid, they’re helping us to bring clean water to some of poorest and most marginalised communities across the world.

Why did we apply for Queen’s Award for Enterprise? And how will it benefit us?

Having won in the category of Enterprise: Sustainable Development in 2017, we knew what was possible and had the ambition to make it two. We experienced the benefits of winning the award last time and wanted to test that the government and the Crown thought it was as innovative a concept as we believed. Luckily, they agreed!

Apart from the incredible responses we’ve received from our partners and customers, winning has, and will continue to have, many benefits for the future of our business.

Most notably, it gives prospective and current customers confidence in our credibility. Being able to say: “don’t just take our word for it, even the Queen thinks so”, is a powerful testimony. It means we can include the recognisable emblem on our products; arguably the highest accolade our brand has received to date.

Winning also gives us a network of like-minded fellows in other award categories and to be part of a community of enterprises who have created some incredible innovations.

And finally, the process itself has been unquestionably useful to our business in helping us evidence what we do. It’s enabled us to understand where we had great data that we weren’t using, or where we had data that isn’t easy to identify, but worth the effort collecting.

What winning has meant to our staff

It’s difficult to overstate what winning has meant to our team. The award has given Belu staff an amazing sense of achievement and internal confidence. It even makes those tougher days feel worth it. We knew that the process was rigorous, so when the Queen approved the Prime Minister’s recommendation to give the award, the business achievements finally felt tangible.

It also gave us a reason to take time-out to celebrate our success and reward ourselves for our hard work over the past year – and who doesn’t like an excuse to party!

Top tips for applying for a Queen’s Award

So, if you’re interested in applying but not sure where to begin, here’s our top 5 tips to get started.

  1. Remember those reading your application will not know your sector or business at all, so be sure to give enough background information.
  2. Explain your business, its achievements and any innovations but remember – evidence, evidence, evidence, making sure that you use credible data.
  3. Choose one category and be clear about whether the story is about your whole business, or one aspect of it. Get straight to the point.
  4. Gain advice from others. It’s worth going to a local Queen’s Award event or talking directly to past winners to hear how they approached it and be sure to ask them plenty of questions.
  5. Last, but not least – don’t hesitate, just do it. It will be one of the best decisions you will make as a business.
3 girls in Timor Leste playing with water from a tap.
Credit: Tom Greenwood/WaterAid

Find out more about Belu.

Apply for a Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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