Bristol firms that treat waste, keep the railways safe and mark football pitches land coveted King’s Awards

May 10, 2024

Three very different Bristol firms are among the latest winners in the prestigious King’s Award for Enterprise scheme.

‘Intelligent video’ firm One Big Circle has received its award in the Innovation category while Pitchmark Group, which helps mark the lines on football pitches across the globe, is now the holder of a King’s Award for International Trade having won a Queen’s Award five years ago. 

Meanwhile carbon capture specialist O.C.O Technology has been honoured an award for Sustainable Development.

One Big Circle, which is based next to Temple Meads railway station, was founded in 2017 by Emily Kent, Barnaby Kent, Ian Packer and Sam Low, pictured, left, to specialise in tech support for the UK’s critical national infrastructure.

It has since developed an innovative AIVR (Automated Intelligent Video Review) system that is now used across the UK railway, including by Network Rail, Transport for Wales and multiple operators. 

The system captures imagery and other data to help increase remote inspection capability, ultimately helping the railway run more smoothly and increasing worker safety. 

The firm now has a team of more than 50.

Emily Kent said: “It is a momentous achievement to be awarded the accolade of King’s Award for Enterprise and is a fantastic reflection on our team, who have worked so hard on delivering innovation with and for the UK rail industry. 

“From our first idea and initial deployment, to now being trusted partners of the industry with thousands of people using the technology every day, it really is a real demonstration of how SMEs can thrive in the UK.”

Emersons Green-based The Pitchmark Group’s clients range from grassroots local clubs to iconic international arenas such as Wembley Stadium.

It has helped mark the lines of football pitches from the Premier League as well as prestigious tournaments including the FIFA World Cups in Brazil 2014 and Qatar 2022, and the UEFA European Championships 2016 in France.

Managing director Tim Rodman said: “We are incredibly proud to have received the King’s Award for International Trade, having previously received the Queen’s Award five years ago.

“The award is testament to the team and proves that the business continues to grow and prosper.”

O.C.O Technology’s Avonmouth facility, which began operation in 2015, is home to the company’s main research and development laboratories, while its manufacturing line has the capacity to process up to 60,000 tonnes of residues a year, producing around 150,000 tonnes of artificial aggregate annually for the local construction industry.

Some 40 people are employed at the plant, which treats waste from a number of major regional and UK EfW operators, including Viridor, Encyclis and enfinium.

O.C.O Technology chief executive officer Steve Greig said: “We are hugely proud to be awarded such a prestigious honour, cementing our reputation as the clear UK market leader in carbon mineralisation.

“Our patented technology offers real sustainable solutions in helping the energy from waste (EfW) industry manage the disposal of waste materials, turning them into carbon negative manufactured limestone aggregate which is in high demand from the construction sector.

“To have our hard work acknowledged at the highest level is incredibly rewarding and we look forward to flying the flag for British success and the circular economy as we continue to develop our partnerships on the world stage.”

The King’s Awards for Enterprise, 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 HM Queen Elizabeth II’s 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 awards emblem for the next five years.

A total of 257 awards were presented this year, with five companies being recognised with two awards.

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