Family businesses get royal approval

By Giulia Cambieri

For someone in the UK, nothing can beat being recognised by the country’s royal family. So it’s not hard to imagine the excitement for two family businesses in England and Scotland last week, when they received a top honour from Her Majesty the Queen.

JCB, the construction equipment manufacturer controlled by the founding Bamford family, and J&D Wilkie, a Scottish family-owned textiles firm, were given the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in international trade, often considered the highest accolade for UK businesses.

Famous for its yellow diggers, JCB was recognised for its growth outside its home market – the firm, currently chaired by second-generation Anthony Bamford, has expanded in Brazil and India in recent years.

Fellow family business J&D Wilkie, founded by James and David Wilkie as a jute weaver in 1868 but now specialising in synthetic filament and spun yarn weaving, also won the award for its expansion in the Asian market. It recently built a new manufacturing site in China and increased its market share in the country.

“Our sales have increased and we have taken a bigger share of the market and this award is a tremendous credit to the team behind that. Each and every one of our 90 employees in Kirriemuir should feel proud of the contribution they have made to achieve this,” Bob Low, the firm’s managing director, told local newspaper Forfar Dispatch

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