By Max Clarke

156 of the UK’s most prestigious awards for business and trade have been announced so far this year.

Since their introduction in 1966, the Queen's Award has recognised successful and innovative enterprise. Of the 156 announced, 102 have won it for international trade, 44 for innovation and 10 for sustainable development.

Winning firms cover a vast range of business sectors. These include: architecture and design, building and construction, motoring and transport, electronics and technology, manufacturing and engineering, law and finance, tourism and leisure, medical and pharmaceuticals, food and drink, oil and gas, media and marketing, metals, plastics and packaging, safety and surveillance, printing, recycling, logistics, utilities and more.

They range from enterprising small businesses with as few as two employees to household names such as Yeo Valley Farms (Production) Ltd, BBC Research and Development and The National Archive. There is one multiple Award winner this year, in the International Trade and Innovation categories: RealVNC Limited, for its remote access software for computers and mobile devices.

Winners of The Queen’s Awards can expect a company visit by a Royal representative during the year to present a crystal bowl and an invitation to attend a special reception at Buckingham Palace in July. They can also use The Queen’s Award Emblem in advertising, marketing and on packaging for a period of five years as a symbol of their quality and success.

The awards are made annually by HM The Queen, and are only given for the highest levels of excellence demonstrated in each category. They are judged to a demanding level and winners receive a number of benefits and worldwide recognition.