By Marcus Leach

Wakefield-based company Harvard Engineering celebrated with the cream of British business last night at the prestigious and influential National Business Awards in partnership with Orange, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

The company, which manufactures innovative wireless street lighting, was awarded the Orange Innovation Award after scoring highly for its pioneering street lighting system which saved their customers £322m per annum and reduced their carbon emissions by 700m kgs per annum. Judges described the company as “a triumph of customer led entrepreneurship”.

“Congratulations to Harvard Engineering for winning such a prestigious award. Often, you don’t put innovation and engineering hand-in-hand but by challenging traditional methods and assumptions of what innovation, is it has demonstrated true innovation and ambition. Orange believes that having bold ideas and driving them forward is central to business growth. These companies are the backbone of the UK economy,” Martin Stiven, Vice President of Business at Orange said.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon George Osborne MP delivered the welcome address to 1,100 top UK business leaders and entrepreneurs in attendance including Dr Richard Ward, CEO, Lloyd’s; Jasmine Whitbread, International CEO, Save the Children; Martin McCourt, CEO, Dyson and Lord Wolfson, Chief Executive of Next who won the Daily Telegraph Award for a Decade of Excellence in Business.

“The National Business Awards are a celebration of the very best in British business. They are a unique opportunity to recognise the hard work you all do, as small businesses or multi-national companies, to achieve commercial success”, said Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon George Osborne MP.

“Day in and day out I meet the sorts of businesses that are up for an Award this year and they all have one thing in common: a relentless capacity to focus on results. It is from that effort and endeavour that great things emerge — new ideas, new products and new jobs."

Awards host BBC presenter John Humphrys ensured that the evening’s action packed programme ran smoothly with 17 award presentations and an outstanding performance by previous finalists, the 200-strong Rock Choir whose Director, Caroline Redman Lusher, was shortlisted for Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010.

“The National Business Awards are unique in that any organisation — from the smallest SME to the largest FTSE, and from charities and social enterprises to government agencies — can compete for recognition on the same playing field”, said Baroness Virginia Bottomley, Chair of Judges at the National Business Awards.

“It’s vitally important, as many seek to transform in the post-recession economy, that good ideas and approaches are shared between the public, commercial and third sectors”, Bottomley added.

Nearly 100 eminent judges across multi disciplines brought their insight and expertise to the judging which saw over 150 of the UK’s most exceptional organisations from the public, private and third sectors complete a three-stage judging process culminating in ‘Dragon’s Den’ style presentations.

“Now in their tenth year, and continually growing in relevance and status, the National Business Awards are the most prestigious accolades within the business community. Huge congratulations to all the winners and finalists — those who are recognised this year should consider themselves the very best of the best,” Baroness Bottomley concluded.

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