“I can’t recommend The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise highly enough”
Warwickshire-based founder of Little Soap Company, Emma Heathcote-James, applied last year for The Queen’s Award for Enterprise (QAE) in Innovation for her company’s environmentally friendly Eco Warrior soap brand – and was hugely successful.
Following her experience of the application process, Warwickshire County Council spoke with Emma to find out why she applied for a Queen’s Award for Enterprise and what benefits the award can bring to your business in Warwickshire.
Ahead of its time in 2008, Little Soap Company was created by Emma when she questioned why supermarkets didn’t offer any choice of natural or organic soaps.
Now, almost 15 years later, and with nationwide distribution in supermarkets, chemists, and online retailers, the company’s latest multi-award-winning range Eco Warrior is entirely plastic free, formulating traditionally bottled liquids into bar form. Soap is no longer soap, with job-specific bars for hands, face, body, shave, and shampoo
Emma decided to apply for a QAE as Little Soap Company is a proudly British business, supporting British manufacturing, jobs, and communities. After becoming a certified B Corp which recognised the company’s efforts in sustainability and driving a business with purpose, Emma reviewed how the business could better acknowledge its British roots; the innovative work they do for the industry; and become globally recognised as an outstanding British business. And what better way to represent this than an official award from Her Majesty The Queen?
The QAE is the highest accolade available to UK businesses and recognises outstanding achievement across four different categories: Innovation, International Trade, Sustainable Development, and Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility).
Becoming a recipient of this award often brings unparalleled prestige, exposure, and credibility to a company, as well as pride and inspiration to employees. Key benefits also include improving opportunities to break into new markets, attracting new investment, raising awareness of brand and products, and attracting new talent. Speaking about how the QAE has benefited Little Soap Company, Emma said:
“There has been additional publicity which is always brilliant for any business, but on top of that there’s been the kudos. I emailed all our current buyers at the supermarkets and chemists the morning the results were published in the London Gazette – good news touch points are always great to have and nudging one buyer with the news made him put us forward for their wholesale arm, while another retailer agreed to list us in 500 stores, after five years of prior attempts to achieve a listing.
“In total we’ve got the opportunity to sell into a further 8,500 stores and chemists, which is huge and was absolutely spurred on by that news. We’ve been featured in the June issue of Entrepreneur Magazine - even making the front cover - as well as articles in SoGlos, The Stratford Herald, the summer edition of Midlands Living Magazine plus countless council, trade, and business articles.
“What I didn’t expect so much was the platform it’s given us to raise awareness of what’s important to us as a business – of course the usual climate change, the impact consumers can have with their purchasing decisions, the importance of female business leaders but more recently, bringing visibility for LGBTQ+ leaders. Receiving this award is by no means the end, it’s just the beginning.”
The process to apply for any of the four QAE categories is free, although requires plenty of time and consideration to finalise the answers required before this year’s deadline of midday on Tuesday 6 September 2022. Emma added:
“It was a real team effort pulling together all of the information needed for our QAE application. However, the application process did act as a good benchmark, as it reminded us of just how far Little Soap Company has come in the last fifteen years.
“I can't recommend The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise highly enough, and more so a shout out to women leaders – we need more applying! At events to promote these awards, there are very few of us and that really needs to change fast!”
Representatives from Little Soap Company will attend a Royal reception at Buckingham Palace this month and be officially presented with their QAE by the Lord Lieutenant, The Queen’s representative in the county, in October 2022. All successful QAE companies are also able to fly the Queen’s Award flag at their main office and use the emblem on marketing materials for up to five years.
Cllr Martin Watson, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy, said: “The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the highest accolades available to UK businesses, offering unparalleled prestige, exposure and credibility to your company, opening the doors to new markets and new customers, whilst also raising employee morale.
“The county of Warwickshire has a very proud record of innovation and, increasingly, the development of sustainable technologies and so I encourage as many local businesses as possible to apply. These awards are a fantastic opportunity to showcase the incredible business talent and successful enterprises we have in this county.”
The Warwickshire Lieutenancy has prepared a locally focused brochure on the benefits of the QAE, and is available to support any Warwickshire-based businesses with their QAE applications. The Lieutenancy can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
To find out more about the QAE, visit www.gov.uk/queens-awards-for-enterprise