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Exporting entrepreneurs and staff from the Department for International Trade (DIT) have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List for 2021.

In an unprecedented year for UK international trade – marked by COVID-19 challenges and ending in a milestone trade agreement with the EU – exporters have been singled out in the New Year’s Honours list published today (31 December 2020).

Those honoured represent a diverse range of business types, from sourcing PPE for the pandemic to green energy, trade policy negotiations and services exports in the creative industry such as cross-cultural theatre productions.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss congratulated the recipients, who include DIT staff, “for their exceptional and outstanding service to international trade, investment and exporting”.

She said the list also recognises “the work and dedication undertaken by those who worked during the pandemic to keep the country safe”.

Who's who on the list

Exporters and business leaders in the New Year’s Honours List 2021 include:

  • Kirsty Hamilton; Associate Fellow, Chatham House (OBE)
  • Stuart Paul Gibbons; Managing Director, Le Mark Group (OBE)
  • Sharon Pursey; Co-Founder, SafeToNet (OBE)
  • Steve Crane; CEO, business Link Japan and Executive Director of Export to Japan (OBE)
  • Matthew Hurn; Chief Financial Officer, Mubadala Investment Company, Chairman, Association of Corporate Treasurers, Middle East (OBE)
  • Ella Spira, Co-founder, Sisters Grimm (MBE)
  • Piertra Mello-Pittman, Co-Founder, Sisters Grimm (MBE)
  • Laura Bounds, Managing Director, Kent Crisps (MBE)
  • Manoj Varsani, Founder and CEO, Hammock (MBE)
  • Paul Jonathan Morris, Founder and Chief Executive Addmaster UK Limited (MBE)
  • Zoe Taylor, CEO, Sparkol (MBE)
  • Daniel Leigh Brooks, CEO, Virtual Human Resources (MBE)

‘Go-getting exporters’

Increased trade and investment “are vital to delivering the jobs and economic growth we need to recover from the pandemic,” Truss said. “Our innovative and go-getting exporters are critical to that, and we will continue to support them as they look to sell more of their wares overseas this coming year and beyond.”

Exporters recognised in this list include Laura Claire Bounds, who manages three businesses: Kent Crisps, Kentish Oils and Kentish Condiments.

Her companies already export to 12 countries around the world, including in the Middle East.

Bounds started exporting in 2015, working with DIT to get the brand into overseas markets, particularly in Asia.

She said: “To have been awarded an MBE is an absolute privilege. Kent Crisps is made up of a small but extremely passionate team, without whom I would not have had this opportunity. I hope that this proves to others that we all can make a difference, and that with hard work & determination, anything is possible.”

Services recognised

Included in the honourees from UK service exports are Pietra Marie De Mello-Pittman and Ella Louvaine Spira, co-founders of Sisters Grimm, a production company which creates cross-cultural collaborations in art, music and dance.

The business is a creative partnership between former Royal Ballet ballerina Pietra Mello-Pittman and Grammy-nominated composer Ella Spira.

The pair worked with DIT to expand Sisters Grimm into new worldwide marketplaces such as Voices of the Amazon, working with Brazilian partners and Sakura in Japan. Their productions have been presented on the biggest stages across the globe.