Posted 18 November 2005
Harper Adams University College has been awarded a top national honour for Higher and Further Education.
The Queen’s Anniversary Prize recognises the significant contribution that the University College’s Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) programme has made to developing and supporting women-owned rural businesses. The awards were announced at a special reception at St James’s Palace.
The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are awarded every two years to around twenty prizewinners on each occasion. The prizes recognise outstanding achievements by UK universities and colleges that are of a world class level in an existing area of activity. All entries are subject to a rigorous assessment process by independent lay assessors and by the Trust, its committees and officers. Comments may also be sought from departments of state, funding bodies and professional societies. The Prizes are unique in that they form part of the national honours system.
The WiRE programme has had an enormous impact on the development of small businesses in the rural economy. It was founded in the mid 1990s, as a result of research undertaken by Harper Adams University College. The programme has since grown into a national business club with membership stretching from the Orkneys to Alderney and all points between.
WiRE has worked closely with HSBC Bank, Business in the Community, Country Living Magazine, the Countryside Agency and most of the Regional Development Agencies across England in the delivery of its work. As a model of specialist small business support, backed by research, WiRE has featured in the Government strategy on women’s entrepreneurship and in other studies of methods to support enterprise in rural communities. The WiRE programme has grown from its base at the University College to regional offices in Yorkshire and the East Midlands. International links with China, South Africa, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia have also been pursued.
Commenting on the award, the Director of WiRE, Izzy Warren-Smith, said: “I am extremely pleased that the work of the WiRE team, its members and the University College has been recognised in this way. WiRE could not exist without the support of its member businesses and business partners and we are sure that they too will welcome this success.”
Principal of Harper Adams, Professor Wynne Jones, added: “The award is a further recognition of the significant role that the University College plays as a centre of excellence within the higher education system, and is the culmination of an extremely successful year for Harper Adams. The WiRE team has worked very hard to support this important part of the rural economy and the WiRE programme has proved how successful universities and colleges can be in working with the business sector. We are delighted, and greatly honoured, to have been given this award.”
The formal award ceremony will be held in February at Buckingham Palace.