Winning 'International Business of the Year' at the prestigious UK Private Business Awards 2016 is the latest milestone in the remarkable rise of Acorn Stairlifts.
About to celebrate its 25th year, the West Yorkshire-based company has grown from humble beginnings in Bradford to become the world's largest business devoted solely to the manufacture, sale, installation and aftercare of stairlifts.
Its incredible success story was recognised yesterday (September 15th) at a glittering London awards ceremony for the UK Private Business Awards, where Acorn overcame strong competition from six other eminent businesses to win the International Business of the Year title.
Now in their sixth year, the nationwide awards recognise success and achievement within the vast number of private businesses in the UK. Sponsored by the world's largest professional services firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), this year's awards attracted 1,268 entries.
Judges were impressed by Acorn's rapid and continued growth in international markets over the past decade. With an annual turnover approaching £150 million, two-thirds of its revenue now comes from export sales of its award-winning British-made stairlifts.
In particular Acorn has targeted the USA where it is now the clear market leader for stairlifts, an accolade which few British companies can lay claim to. In addition Acorn has wholly-owned subsidiaries operating in Ireland, Belgium, Italy, France, Germany, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, all selling direct to the public and organising rapid installation and aftercare.
Dave Belmont, Acorn Stairlifts' company secretary, was presented with the International Business of the Year Award by ITN newsreader and presenter Nina Hossain, who hosted the awards. Sporting his trademark Bradford City FC bow tie, he said: "Acorn Stairlifts has made tremendous efforts over the past 10 years to break into new international markets and expand our overseas operations. We can now proudly say that somewhere in the world an Acorn Stairlift is fitted every eight minutes, giving someone's life a lift.
"Our efforts to keep growing the business are ongoing and this award is testament to the hard work and commitment of all my colleagues at Acorn Stairlifts, both in the UK and abroad. We're thrilled to receive it!"
Acorn Stairlifts was one of just two UK private businesses to be shortlisted in two categories for the 2016 awards. It also reached the final seven contenders in the main Private Business of the Year category, won on the night by Portakabin. Of the 10 awards presented, four went to Yorkshire-based businesses.
Closer to home, Steeton-headquartered Acorn has also been shortlisted as a double finalist in the 2016 Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards. It is vying for the Exporter Award and the Community Award, with the winners due to be announced next month.
Our picture shows Acorn Stairlifts Company Secretary Dave Belmont (second from right) receiving the International Business of the Year Award from event host and ITN News presenter Nina Hossain. Also shown (from the left) are Brian Henderson, a Partner in the awards' main sponsor PwC, and Greg Thomas, a Partner in the PWS Group which sponsored the International Business Award.