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Wolverhampton firm among West Midlands winners of prestigious business awards

A Wolverhampton company that specialises in machinery safety and interlocking technology is among the winners of the King's Awards for Enterprise that are announced today.

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Fortress Safety at Inverclyde Drive, Parkfields, receives an award for international trade, recognising outstanding growth in overseas sales.

The company is among the 252 recipients of the King’s Awards with 161 in the international trade category.

Across the West Midlands there are 22 winners of awards.

Protective Sportswear, of Birch Lane, Aldridge, which makes mouthguards, is another international trade winner along with Slicker Recycling, of Lombard House, Anchor Drive, Stourport, for its achievements in recycling waste oils.

Stafford's Semantics 21, based at Beacon Business Park, Weston Road, is a winner in the innovation category. Aston Martin, based at Gaydon, Warwickshire, is also a winner in the same category.

Semantics 21 is recognised for developing AI tools to find child sex abuse victims.

Birmingham County FA, which covers the Black Country and parts of Staffordshire and Worcestershire, has won for sustainable development recognising its achievements in decarbonising football at the grassroots level.

Fortress Safety , which saves lives by providing the best safety solutions, was established in 1977 and employs 141 people in the UK and more than 250 in total worldwide.

Pete Browitt, managing director at Fortress Safety, said: "We are thrilled to be the recipients of the prestigious King’s Award for Enterprise. This recognition is a testament to the remarkable growth of our company and the significant increase in our overseas sales, all of which has been made possible by the relentless efforts of our dedicated team and our global network of partners.

"Receiving this award is a milestone that reaffirms our belief in the work we do and feeds our ambition to grow further and live our purpose of saving lives by providing the best safety solutions."

Birmingham-based Unity Trust Bank, founded by the trade union movement in 1984, also receives the award for sustainable development.

The bank supports organisations to deliver positive social impact. It is one of only 29 businesses to receive the award for excellence in this category.

Unity reported a record level of lending in its end of year results in 2023, exceeding £1 billion for the first time and growing 21 per cent from the previous year – with 45.3 per cent of financing going into areas of high deprivation.

Colin Fyfe, chief executive of the bank, said: “We’re honoured to receive the King’s Award for Enterprise in sustainable development which recognises how we support socially-minded organisations across the UK and improve the lives of local communities. It’s particularly special to receive this award in the same week that we marked Unity’s 40th anniversary.

“As an ethical bank committed to a ‘double bottom line’ of delivering positive impact and commercial success, we’re so proud that our work in sustainable development has been recognised in this way.

“We believe our approach to supporting our customers to achieve their commercial and sustainability goals can play a crucial role in addressing key social, economic and environmental needs, helping to deliver real change where it is needed most.”

Minister for Enterprise Kevin Hollinrake said: “I congratulate the inspiring West Midlands businesses who have received a King’s Awards for Enterprise this year."

“I wish them every success and commend the invaluable contributions they make to communities both at home and overseas, helping to grow the UK economy," he added.

The awards, previously known as The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, were renamed last year to reflect His Majesty The King’s desire to continue the legacy of his mother Queen Elizabeth II by recognising outstanding UK businesses. The Award programme, now in its 58th year, is the most prestigious business award in the country, with successful businesses able to use the King’s Awards emblem for the next five years.

Applications for King’s Awards for Enterprise 2025 open today. For more information visit

His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenants will be presenting the awards to businesses locally throughout the year.

Eligible businesses are free to apply for one or more categories. The recipients pass a robust assessment process, judged by experts from industry, academia, the voluntary sector and senior officials in Whitehall.