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Everything you need to know about The Queen's Awards for Enterprise

The UK's most prestigious business award!

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious awards for UK businesses and is a globally recognised royal seal of approval for UK companies.

The Queen's Award to Industry, the scheme's original title, was instituted by Royal Warrant in 1965, with the first Awards announced in 1966. It later became known as the Queen's Awards for Export and Technology in 1975, before becoming the Queen's Awards for Enterprise in 1999.

Since the Award’s inception in 1965 more than 7,000 companies have won a Queen’s Award.

Contact The Queen’s Awards Office


Telephone Helpline: 020 7215 6880



About the Awards

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise recognise outstanding achievements across four categories:

  • Innovation which recognises businesses who demonstrate strong commercially successful innovative products or services.
  • Sustainable Development, whose winners demonstrate sustainable products, services or interventions for more than two years and can provide evidence of the benefits or positive outcomes of their actions and practices.
  • International Trade which recognises businesses who have demonstrated substantial growth in overseas earnings and commercial success within their sector;
  • Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility) – which recognises and rewards employers for their work in providing high quality social mobility initiatives and programmes that specifically reach out to and support people from disadvantaged backgrounds, in order to inspire and guide the best talent into their organisation and beyond.

This year, we had the following winners across all four categories:

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is a self-nominating process and is open to almost all businesses across the UK, of all sizes and in every sector.

It is free to enter and applying for QA is a straightforward online process.  We are currently open for applications and the closing date is midday on the 22nd of September.

You can apply here:


The Awards Process

The application process is managed by the Queen’s Awards Office at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

 The 2022 round of applications opened on 1 May and closes at midday on 22 September this year. Once the application round closes, the application forms are then assessed by teams of independent assessors, with experience and expertise in each specific category.

In November those applicants that have been shortlisted by assessors are notified and asked to provide independent verification of the financial figures they provided in their application forms.

Applicants are also notified that due diligence checks are to be carried out on each of the shortlisted companies.

In January and February the assessors’ recommendations in each of the four categories are examined by the relevant judging panels. A list of recommendations is then sent to the Prime Minister for consideration before finally being submitted to Her Majesty the Queen for her personal approval.

Unsuccessful applicants also receive feedback on the strengths of their application and guidance about how to improve future entries. Many find the comprehensive feedback useful and regularly feedback to us saying that they found the whole process great for reflecting on their business.

The winners are announced to the national and regional press on Her Majesty The Queen’s birthday - 21 April and their awards are valid for 5 years. The application process then starts again.


The Awards Criteria

To apply for the Queen’s Award for Enterprise your organisation must:

  • be based in the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man)
  • file its Company Tax Returns with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • be a self-contained enterprise that markets its own products or services and is under its own management
  • have at least 2 full-time UK employees or part-time equivalents
  • demonstrate strong corporate social responsibility

Your organisation can be a business or non-profit.

Each of the award categories has additional entry criteria.



International Trade

To apply for the International Trade award, you must also

  • have made a minimum of £100,000 in overseas sales in the first year of your entry and show year-on-year growth
  • prove that your organisation has achieved outstanding growth in overseas earnings relative to your business size and sector
  • prove steep year-on-year growth (without dips) in overseas sales over 3 years - or substantial year-on-year growth (without dips) over 6 years


To apply for the Innovation award, you must also:

  • have an innovation that has not been sold before
  • have had your innovation available on the market for at least 2 years
  • have recovered all the investments made in your innovation or show that the innovation will recover its full costs in future
  • show outstanding commercial success as a result of innovation over 2 years - or continuous commercial success over 5 years

Your innovation should be in one of the following categories:

    • invention, design or production of goods
    • performance of services
    • marketing and distribution
    • after-sale support of goods or services


Sustainable Development

To apply for the Sustainable Development award, you must also:

  • show how you have achieved outstanding sustainable development for more than 2 years
  • provide evidence of the benefits or positive outcomes of your actions or interventions

Promoting Opportunity through social mobility

To apply for this award, your organisation must also have supported people from dis

advantaged backgrounds in improving their job skills and their chances of finding work.

This includes doing one or more of the following, for at least 2 years:

  • providing work experience or careers advice
  • mentoring
  • offering interview and job-related training
  • making sure your recruitment process is open to everyone

You’ll need to prove the benefits for:

  • the people you’ve supported
  • your organisation
  • your employees
  • the wider community


Award Benefits

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise Emblem is a trusted mark that provides immediate and long-term business benefits. The use of the prestigious Queen’s Awards Emblem is a recognised Royal endorsement that will get your business noticed, above and beyond the competition, both at home and overseas.

Winning businesses are permitted to fly The Queen’s Awards flag at their main office, and use the esteemed Queen’s Awards for Enterprise emblem on products and stationery for the next 5 years.

Feedback from previous winners suggests that winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise can benefit businesses with;

  • excellent marketing opportunities and press coverage;
  • worldwide recognition as an outstanding British company;
  • increased turnover and international trade
  • a boost to staff morale, and also to partners and stakeholders

Each winning company is formally presented with a Grant of Appointment scroll and a commemorative crystal bowl by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant, The Queen’s personal representative, at their premises or other selected location at a time suitable to both.  Representatives of the winning organisations are also invited to attend a Royal Reception.

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