Global Infusion Group (GIG), one of the UK’s leading catering, logistics and brand support specialist, has been presented with The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2017.
It is the second time that Buckinghamshire-based GIG has received the UK’s highest accolade for business success in recognition of its outstanding international trade results which have seen the company, formed 33 years ago, expand into a global operation.
The award was presented to Tony Laurenson, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of GIG, by Her Majesty’s representative Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire. Also attending the presentation was Peter Bhupatsingh Kara, The High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire.
Sir Henry said 6,876 awards had been given to businesses since the scheme was launched in 1966 and that this year GIG was one of 176 recipients across the UK from 476 entries.
Sir Henry said: “At their initiation, the idea was that awards would provide public recognition for exceptional business success in the field of exports and technology and at a later date awards for environmental achievement were added. They are now known as The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. They include three categories: for international trade, innovation and sustainable development.
“The Queen’s Awards differ from personal honours, OBE’s and MBEs for example, in that they are given to an industrial or business unit as a whole and recognise management and employees working as a team benefiting not only the enterprise but also their local community and country by their achievement.”
GIG won its first Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2014 for international performance. Since then, it has grown overseas sales from events catering, food & beverage project management and brand support by almost 50 per cent. As a result, GIG has now been awarded the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth Award.
Receiving the award at the company’s headquarters in Chesham Laurenson told guests: “As a local lad, I’m extremely proud of my Buckinghamshire roots. And it has been an exciting journey from when I launched ‘Eat to the Beat’, over 30 years ago from my Mum & Dads garage, to where we are now… a global enterprise.”
He said Global Infusion Group is the umbrella name of three main trading divisions: production catering Eat to the Beat, corporate hospitality as GIG, brand support and logistics as e2B and he added: “I had never considered that I might be standing before you as the founder of a company that is now the proud recipient of two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in International Trade. We really feel that it’s a great achievement and honour!
“GIG is a ‘People Business’. Our team and family are inspirational, immensely creative and incredibly hard-working — with a reputation for reliability, friendliness and for quality of service. As a team we always go that extra mile to ensure our clients are well looked after and help to create a great ‘home from home’, an ambience backstage or wherever we are working. Our team really are the recipe of our success. They are the reason why so much of our business, year after year, is repeat business — from happy clients who value what we do, and who understand the relationships developed with our people, to new clients being able to feel confident in what we provide through the experience and reputation of our company name and our teams.
“GIG employs around 130 full-time staff world-wide supported by over 3,000 freelance professional specialists to support the hundreds of global events and functions we work on each year. So, this award is first and foremost a tribute to the entire team here at GIG.”
Laurenson gave a special mention to the wonderful support of two of his co-directors, his wife Bonnie May and Mary Shelley-Smith, who have been with him through most of the company’s journey, along with John Ford who runs e2B and has worked for the business for nine years.
Laurenson added: “We’ve supported some of the biggest names in the entertainment world including Iron Maiden (almost every year), Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Barbara Streisand, Jay-Z, the late Frank Sinatra, Amy Winehouse, James Brown, David Bowie, and more recently Justin Bieber, Coldplay, UB40, Take That and Status Quo. In fact, a few years ago we realised that we have catered for 48 of the top 50 selling singles artists and many more besides!
“These days we have many family members, brothers, sisters and now as our 2nd and 3rd generation comes of age – my own sons Matt, Tom, Will and daughter Harriet! We are a genuine family firm made of local family members and friends.”
The company caters major music festivals such as Glastonbury and the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park, The Proms, The V Festivals both here in the UK and in America and high-profile TV shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, 60 Minute Makeover, The Chase plus amongst other film business, The First Emirati film in Dubai a few years ago called City of Life.
Away from the world of music and show business, as GIG since 1988, the company has supported high-end corporate clients including Porsche, Microsoft, Aston Martin & L’Oreal – and some of the world’s finest production and event companies on major events such as The Launch of The Scottish Parliament, The Launch of The Welsh Assembly, The Opening of the Gas Terminal in Milford Haven where GIG fed The Queen and the Emir of Qatar.
Laurenson said: “GIG has also catered and consulted at many globally recognised sporting events – highlights of which include The Asian Games in both Qatar and China, The Universiade Games in China and Russia. For us the pinnacle was our immense involvement in the Olympic Games here in London 2012, which led to the Winter Olympics is Sochi, Russia, and last year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics plus the European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan and this year’s Islamic Games also in Azerbaijan.
“The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade reflects the global growth of our business. Over the years the business that we started here in the UK has evolved world-wide. We have venues on the East coast of America for the US market; Partners in Qatar for the Middle East; and 60 employees in Shanghai, China – catering across Asia and the Far East. In fact last year that office worked in 52 cities in China and seven other countries in the region, including Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.
“But no matter how far we travel to do business, Buckinghamshire will always be our home! Therefore, my wife Bonnie now also owns a local enterprise, ‘Bonnie May Food and Events’, so that local people and local businesses can access Bonnie and GIG’s extensive knowledge and creative flair. Gathered from more than 29 years of her international experience, Bonnie and her team can organise fabulous bespoke corporate functions or unique, trendy and thoroughly memorable parties or weddings.”
GIG has also invested in Haresfoot Brewery, the first brewery to launch in Buckinghamshire for more than 70 years.
Added Laurenson: “So, while we are still expanding globally, BONNIE MAY FOOD & EVENTS and THE HARESFOOT BREWERY show we have not forgotten where our roots lie.”