The highest recognition achievable for the endeavours of some of Hull’s finest business leaders has been received.
For Entrepreneurs Only, the near 200-strong collective of inspiring individuals has been presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
And a man who has grown up with many said he was privileged to present it on behalf of Her Majesty.
Jim Dick OBE, Lord Lieutenant of East Yorkshire and former global president of Smith and Nephew’s city-based wound management division, said the nomination “ticked every box on the form and then some”.
He said: “You should be really proud. It is the highest voluntary sector award that an organisation can achieve, there is no higher honour because it comes from the Monarch.
“It is not surprising that when a body of entrepreneurs comes together that it is successful, a bit different and grows very fast. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“It is held locally in huge admiration for the rate at which you have developed and the work you have done. The vision, advice and sheer growth of what you are doing speaks for itself.”
Reading the citation to a celebration gathering at the MKM Stadium, he told how 2,500 young people had been inspired to start their own businesses in five years, with 400 start-ups supported and 350 businesses helped with development.
He acknowledged how through Covid support was given at a rapid rate. “It is no surprise you have been awarded this and I couldn’t be more pleased to present his award,” he said.
More than 100 members watched the presentation, with David Kilburn, Andrew Horncastle MBE and Thomas Martin joined by chief executive Jan Brumby on stage.
Mr Horncastle, back as chair after his year as High Sheriff, praised interim Mr Martin for stepping in during a period like no other.
Thomas Martin addresses the For Entrepreneurs Only annual meeting, at which the Queen’s Award presentation was made. (Image: Andrew Crozier, Insight Photography)
He said: “This award is a big moment in FEO’s history. I am very proud to be a member, very proud of the organisation, of all it does and it has achieved. It has achieved a lot in a relatively short period of time.
“It started off with a meal with 10 of us in 2001. There must be special mention to David Klburn - he paid for that meal, and is generous with his money, heart and head.
“He was worried about the region, the economy and the opportunities for young people in the area. He said he wanted a rising tide to help more boats float.
“We had David Hall, his toolbox, his books and his passion, and his energy for entrepreneurship was a really big thing in the way we started out. He brought us a step change for growth, many benefits that added wealth and jobs, and Paul Sewell who famously told us if you ‘always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got’. The origins were there.
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“Now we approach 200 members, men and women, people from the very young to the rather old, a real rich organisation that crosses many sectors and has a vast amount of experience within it. A real collective brain.”
Members who provide mentoring and inspiration as they strive to support the regional economy lead or sit in senior positions of companies turning over £3.5 billion, while collectively employing more than 23,000 people.
“A wow moment, just phenomenal” was how Mr Martin described the physical handover of the accolade following June’s announcement. The Arco chair and head of the region’s Business Engagement Board, reflected on his time at the held, and said he was “impressed with so many elements of the organisation”.