Scottish Queen’s Awards winners unveiled - honoured for innovation and international trade

A string of Scottish companies have won Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, which have been announced today on the ­monarch’s birthday.

Ross (left) and Archie Hunter of Bonnyrigg-based Armadilla. Picture: contributed.
Ross (left) and Archie Hunter of Bonnyrigg-based Armadilla. Picture: contributed.

The awards are now in their 54th year, and in 2020, 220 UK firms have been honoured, 90 per cent of them small ­businesses.

Scottish firms on the list include family-owned business Armadilla, which makes eco-friendly, luxury outdoor living spaces for hotels and hospitality groups. It has received a Queen’s Award for innovation.

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Armadilla was founded in 2010 by MD Archie Hunter, and his design engineer son Ross, chief executive, and it now supplies clients across the UK and overseas.

Hiretech MD Keith Mackie (left) and CEO Andy Buchan with some of the team. Picture: contributed.

The company, based in ­Bonnyrigg on the outskirts of Edinburgh, includes the Hotelier Pod in its range of products – high-end accommodation that lets venues create and increase outdoor bedroom space. It doubled its turnover in the last year to £2 million, and has more than 40 staff.

Archie Hunter said the award “reinforces our ­commitment to ongoing innovation in all aspects of our work”. He added: “Thinking creatively is key to our growth, and there’s a lot more still to come.”

Armadilla’s commercial ­clients include Riverbeds ­Luxury Lodges in Glencoe, Juicy Oasis spa and resort in Portugal, and it is the accommodation provider for the multi-million Wave Garden development at Ratho.

Also receiving a Queen’s Award for innovation is online brand protection company SnapDragon Monitoring. The Edinburgh-based firm said the honour recognises its success in giving companies the “tools and confidence” needed to monitor and fight fakes on the world’s busiest online marketplaces and social media stores.

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Its Swoop platform searches for copies and counterfeits of products and brands, so they can be removed from sale. Clients span Australia, Canada, the US, Israel and Europe. In the UK, clients include Glencairn Crystal and Cheeky Chompers, as well as ITV, Harris Tweed, Johnstons of Elgin and Orchard Toys.

Head dragon Rachel Jones said the accolade “will undoubtedly strengthen our position as a leading player in the online brand protection market”.

A fellow recipient of the innovation award is Fraserburgh-based Gray & Adams, which specialises in temperature-controlled vehicle design and manufacture, and said it has been honoured for its double deck trailer design.

The firm turns over more than £150m, with 700-plus staff. The company supplies double deck trailers to most major supermarkets, including Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Iceland, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, as well as blue-chip household brands like DPD, John Lewis Waitrose, M&S and Warburtons. “Whatever you can buy in a supermarket, from fresh, chilled produce to frozen products and pharmaceuticals, the chances are it will have travelled in a Gray & Adams semi-trailer or rigid,” it says.

Joint MDs James and Peter Gray said: “In these challenging times, we very much hope the recognition this prestigious award brings will bring a small amount of cheer and encouragement to our employees in the North-east of Scotland, and across the UK.”

Global trade

Meanwhile, Dalgety Bay-based, venture capital-backed tech company Exterity has been honoured in the international trade category. The firm said this acknowledges its ability to execute on its global strategy to deliver professional internet protocol video and digital signage offerings to its clients worldwide, while boosting its operating and financial capability.

It has seen 85 per cent growth in exports over the last three years and is present on every continent, providing multilingual sales and support. Its customers include the BBC, BNP Paribas, Lord’s Cricket Ground, The Open golf championship, ParisLongchamp, Parliament of Victoria, Okada Manila Casino & Resorts.

Chief executive Colin Farquhar said the award “is a tremendous achievement and testament to our continued investment in [research and development] and in the best talent, alongside our strong ties to the advisors and investors who have helped us turn our vision into a market-leading, global company”.

Additionally, Aberdeenshire-based energy industry equipment rental firm Hiretech has also been honoured with an award for international trade.

The company, which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary, said it has been recognised for “significant” achievements in establishing business in export markets around the world.

Hiretech, which has 25 staff at its headquarters in Fintray, added that it has achieved major overseas trade specifically across Africa, the Caspian, Norway and South-east Asia.

The firm’s management team plans to continue to increase its foothold overseas, up to 40 per cent towards its annual turnover, as part of wider strategic growth plans.

Chief executive and founder Andy Buchan said: “This award reflects the hard work, enthusiasm and dedication the team employs to grow the business in international markets.”

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