Martin Hurworth, managing director at Harvey Water Softeners, speaks about the importance of winning a Queen's Award for Innovation in the 40th year of the business.
Harvey Water Softeners is the UK’s largest manufacturer of compact water softeners. We sell thousands of softeners each year to households across the UK and Europe to help them enjoy the benefits of soft water around the home.
Our business was founded 40-years-old by Harvey Bowden. It was his innovation, the first compact, non-electric block softener, that earned us our place among this year’s winners.
The HV3 softener that he designed solves the problem of limescale build up for the large proportion of UK homes that are located in hard water areas. It was the first of its kind to fit under a kitchen sink and have two cylinders that allow for continuous softening.
The Innovation category was the right category for our business to enter right now, given our history, our recent growth figures and the multi-million-pound investment we’ve made in research and development.
We’ve invested heavily in our people, our products and our production lines, and were proud of the progress we’ve made as a business over the last four decades.
The judges agreed, recognising us for the significance of our invention to the water softening industry and on the back of impressive sales growth in recent years that has seen us build a 200-strong workforce at our Woking headquarters.
Hearing that we’d won felt amazing. As a family business, we never expected to be heading off to the Palace, but this feels like getting a knighthood for our business in our 40th year.
As our founder Harvey Bowden put it, “Our first goal was just to earn a living, then to make a better water softener and finally to make the best in the world. Thank you your Majesty!”
We announced the news to our team in style with an office ‘street party’ at our Woking factory. The news has made a real difference to the atmosphere here and made our company culture, our ‘Harvey Values’, stronger than ever.
I’ve no doubt it will lead to more sales for us too. Our business thrives on customer demonstrations and having the recognition of a Queens Award gives us the edge over our competition.
My advice to any eligible business thinking of applying would be to go for it, definitely, but don’t leave it until the last minute. We completed our application over months, not weeks, and that gave us the time and clarity of thought to make our finished application as strong as it could be.