Last reviewed 30 July 2020

The highest official UK honour for British businesses, the Queen's Award for Enterprise has been running since 1999, with International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development as its categories.

Now the Government has decided to add “Promoting opportunity through social mobility” as a new category in the prestigious awards, recognising businesses that promote a sustainable and inclusive culture.

According to Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the new category recognises those who are playing a role in creating an inclusive and compassionate society by supporting socially disadvantaged individuals to develop their skills and chances of finding work.

It will enable those whose organisations’ core aim is to provide opportunities for others, and employers with a social mobility intervention or programme, to be recognised and celebrated.

”These are most likely to be the only business awards in motion this year due to the disruption caused by coronavirus,” BEIS said, “and winners tell us that the awards are now more important to their business than ever.”

Winning businesses are presented with the award by one of the Queen’s personal representatives, a Lord-Lieutenant. They then have the right to fly the Queen’s Award flag at their main office and use the emblem on marketing materials for five years.

They are also given a Grant of Appointment and a commemorative crystal trophy.

Details of how to apply can be found at There is no charge for making an entry and the deadline is midday on 9 September 2020.

Shortlisted organisations will be notified in October with the final results announced in March 2021. Representatives from the winning organisations will be invited to attend a Royal reception in summer 2021.

Comment by Paul Holcroft, Associate Director at Croner

The Government has been pushing towards ways that employers can help those from disadvantaged backgrounds get into employment, particularly younger people.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that employers will now not only benefit from the advantages that come with offering traineeships, or jobs under the new kickstart scheme for young people, but also from spreading their recruitment net wider.

Most employers will be glad to hear that their efforts to reduce unemployment across the country, beyond Government initiatives, may be rewarded with worldwide recognition and commercial value.