Recognising the success of Staffordshire's businesses

Keele University has shown its continuing commitment to supporting the local business community through sponsorship of the annual Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce Business Awards.

Promoting Keele’s renowned green ethos, the University championed the new Environmental & Low Carbon Award, which aims to recognise those organisations that demonstrate a proactive approach to protecting the environment and reducing their carbon footprint.

There were four finalists for this award:  Smart Innovations Grid Ltd, Stone Computers Ltd, The Wool Packaging Company Ltd and Yarnfield Park Training and Conference Centre.

The judges ultimately chose Stone Computers as the category’s overall winner, having being impressed by the steps taken by the company to reduce both their carbon footprint and impact on the environment, as well as praising their innovation, resource management and energy efficiency.

Speaking about the finalists, Dr Mark Bacon, Director of Engagement and Partnerships at Keele University, said: “The quality of the finalists was very high and this was a very difficult category to judge.  All of the finalists had outstanding elements in their approach to minimising any negative impact on the environment, and that commitment should be recognised and applauded.

“Stone Computers are worthy winners of this inaugural award – they have a clear vision and a plan for further environmental improvements across all areas of their business, having already benchmarked their waste and carbon emissions and put in place new processes that have delivered significant improvements.”

This year’s Business Awards also recognised the success of two tenants on the University’s Science and Innovation Park – Cobra Biologics and Caja Ltd.

Cobra was named as the winner of the International Trade Award, having being previously shortlisted for 2016’s Manufacturer of the Year Award.  The International Trade Award, sponsored by the Department for International Trade, recognised those companies who have excelled in the exportation of a product or service to an international market.  The judging panel considered the full process – from identification of an international opportunity, through the development, partnership forming and sales stages, finishing with the overall benefits that this brings to Staffordshire – before naming Cobra as their winner.

Cobra is a leading international contract development and manufacturing organisation providing biologics and pharmaceuticals for pre-clinical, clinical and commercial supply.  They are currently based in The Stephenson Building and are the Science and Innovation Park’s longest-serving tenant.

Cobra’s success at the Staffordshire Business Awards follows their announcement in April 2017 that they will shortly be embarking on a £15m plan to expand its operations in the UK and Sweden in order to meet the increased demand of gene and immunotherapy companies to fast-track their portfolios through to in-market supply.

The work of Caja Ltd, who moved into Innovation Centre 1 in August 2016, was also acknowledged during the award ceremony.  The business transformation consultancy was named amongst the finalists in two award categories – Professional Services of the Year and Small Business of the Year.

Dr Mark Bacon added:  “I am delighted for both Cobra Biologics and Caja – this recognition is greatly deserved and I send my congratulations to everyone involved.”

For further information about the business opportunities available at Keele University, please visit