For over 20 years, the Golden Bridge Trade & Export Awards have recognised the trade and export successes of UK companies doing business in Belgium, and Belgian & Luxembourg companies doing business in the UK.
The following finalists were chosen as winners at this year's Awards Ceremony which took place on 24 November in central London
BEL'EXPORT – Winner Golden Bridge Trade & Export Award 2016
Bel'Export is a Fruit Export Company whose main products are apples and pears, grown in the Haspengouw Region (Limburg). Founded in 1994, in during the last 10 years Britain has become a key market and despite recent challenges, such as the Russian Contra-ban, (the banning of fruit and vegetable imports from EU countries) the UK continues to be a strong market for the company. In 2015 Bel'Export exported over 9.5 million kilos of pears, due to their flexibility and commitment to delivering quality products even in challenging situations. Tradition and loyalty are two key values for this family owned business who are spreading Haspengouw region traditions.
The Jury has chosen this family owned company as the winner for its hard work in a very competitive and high risk environment, for its continuous quest for innovation for what many would consider a basic and simple product – apples and pears – and last but not least for its sheer determination in the face of geopolitical and climate challenges.
More information on www.belexport.com
LANCER EUROPE – Winner Best SME Category 2016
Lancer Europe, provides innovative beverage dispensing products and solutions, as well as being the main supplier to the bottling industry and quick serve market. Established in Belgium in 1997, the company moved across the channel into the UK market in 2003 in order to access the unique 'Pub Culture' and high capacity entertainment venues. The company's success in the UK has been underlined by securing key contracts in both these areas, introducing glycol chilling technology to the J.D Wetherspoon Pub Group as well as the beverage dispensing solutions for Wembley Stadium, the UK's largest entertainment stadium with a seated capacity of 90,000. The company also offers out-of-the-box development for caterers and bar owners, leading to significant increases in revenue for UK bars and pubs, including those which are smaller and independent. Lancer Europe has shown that it can attract customers from a variety of segments within the UK market and continues to develop existing technologies to improve performance, as well as developing new products which offer a competitive advantage to their customers.
The Jury considered the company to be a very successful example of cooperation between the Brussels based HQ and the UK subsidiary, resulting in a truly innovative approach of the market with a never ending stream of new and exciting products as a result.
For more information visit: www.lancereurope.com
NAMGRASS – Winner Best Newcomer Category 2016
Namgrass UK was launched in 2009 after The Grass Company spotted a gap in the UK market whilst attending the Chelsea Flower show. Originally an operation containing just one employee, the company now employs over 20 talented individuals within the UK branch. Such growth has been achieved via consistent reinvestment in the company, its products and its people, with regular product updates and development in the UK being rolled out throughout Europe. Providing high quality artificial grass solutions for companies and individuals, Namgrass works with local partners to reach out across the UK, touting commercial work with the likes of popular Sky Sports programme 'Soccer AM' as well as the amusement parks Alton Towers and Legoland.
The Jury were impressed with how 2 young entrepreneurial spirits, one from Belgium and one from the UK, created a niche market which was deemed too small for the big players and turned it into a profitable and sizeable market with further great growth potential.
For more information: www.namgrass.com
SHANKS GROUP PLC – Winner Golden Bridge Trade & Export Award 2016
Shanks Group plc is a leading international waste to product business, meeting the growing need to manage waste without damaging the environment. Their solutions reduce greenhouse gas emissions, recycle natural resources and limit fossil fuel dependency. Originally formed in 1880, Shanks first moved into Belgium in 1998 and continues to grow in the country after recently announcing a merger with Benelux waste firm Van Gansewinkel Groep B.V. Shanks operates in three divisions; Hazardous, Commercial and Municipal, and has operations in the Netherlands, Belgium, UK and Canada, employing around 3,500 people.
The Jury were impressed with Shanks' investment and commitment to the Belgian market. The Group has focused on their Belgian business in numerous ways, one of which being the issuing of their first ever 'green retail bond', worth €100 million. To be green all funds had to be proven to be dedicated to sustainable projects. They have also continually invested in their Belgian business and have put the correct structure in place to ensure their people are able to grow and develop in the company.
For more information: www.shanksplc.com
OREGA - Winner Best Newcomer Category 2016
Orega is a privately owned serviced office provider specialising in serviced offices, virtual offices, meeting rooms and co-working space. Founded by Zachary Douglas and Paul Finch in 2001, the company now maintains offices in 14 city centre locations in the UK and EU, opening their doors in Brussels in February 2015. Orega has established a reputation for integrity and professionalism, creating contemporary working environments with a focus on delivering excellent service to customers. By moving into the Belgian market, Orega has also presented its existing customer base with the exciting opportunity of testing the market for themselves, be it with a virtual presence at a prestigious address in the Sablon or EU districts of Brussels, or a fully serviced office for a business to expand into Belgium. Having overcome challenges in communications with customers speaking new languages and currency exchange, Orega is looking to continue developing their existing co-working space in Belgium, using it as a platform for engaging with universities and local businesses.
The Jury were impressed with Orega's persistence and long term commitment to internationalising their business. Orega have bridged the gap between Belgium and the UK, allowing companies that work in their UK business centres to expand their reach and dip their toes in international markets more easily.
For more information: www.orega.com