UCLan graduate wins King’s Award for Enterprise
Local business GaraDry has won the highest official UK award for businesses
A business created by a successful University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) graduate has won the King’s Award for Enterprise.
GaraDry Ltd, created by alumnus Ashley Smith, has been awarded the special prize in the International Trade category after the King approved the Prime Minister’s recommendation.
Formed in 2009, GaraDry is an eCommerce business that designs, manufactures, and sells various types of threshold seals for residential and commercial garage doors.
The BA (Hons) Industrial Design student, who graduated in 2000, said: “I am delighted His Majesty the King has approved the Prime Minister’s recommendation for GaraDry to receive a King’s Award this year.
“It is a company award so it’s for everyone involved with GaraDry. The team is hardworking, loyal, and valued. The whole team is very proud to be receiving this award.”
"I am delighted His Majesty the King has approved the Prime Minister’s recommendation for GaraDry to receive a King’s Award this year"— UCLan alumnus Ashley Smith
The King’s Award for Enterprise is the most prestigious recognition for businesses across the UK. It is an awards programme for British businesses and other organisations who excel at international trade, innovation, sustainable development and promoting opportunity.
Winners of the award can fly the King’s Awards flag at the office and use the emblem on their marketing materials. They are also given a Grant of Appointment, which is valid for five years, and a commemorative crystal trophy.
GaraDry is a threshold seal that keeps garages clean and dry all year round, the kits provide a watertight seal between the garage door and floor blocking any water, leaves, dust, and debris from being blown under the garage door.
The company has achieved year-on-year growth, and it now sells to 40 countries worldwide including markets in North America and Australia. The company won the award for outstanding short-term growth in overseas sales over three years.
The Managing Director believes the King’s Award is just a step in the journey as the company is looking to keep on growing and improving.
"Drive and determination are often equally if not more important to be successful in what you’re trying to achieve"— GaraDry Managing Director Ashley Smith
Ashley said: “We are excited about the future; we will continue to work hard and increase orders in our current marketplaces. We want to explore other market territories over the coming years. We also have a new innovative product range which we are working hard on and hope to bring to market soon this year.”
The 43-year-old founded his first business in 2005 after he started an eCommerce business that sold spare parts for garage doors. Using £1,000 that he inherited from his uncle, he merged the business with GaraDry in 2015 and he now employs 11 people. The company, whose headquarters is in Ormskirk, also has distribution centres in both the United States of America and Germany.
It is quite the contrast to where the business began originally operated in his family home in Ainsdale. His office was his bedroom, and the garage and shed were his stock room.
“A large amount of funding is not always necessary to start a business,” said Ashley. “Drive and determination are often equally if not more important to be successful in what you’re trying to achieve.”
Ashley will receive the award at a special event held hosted by His Majesty the King and held at Buckingham Palace later this year.
BY ETHAN BANKS