Jon Tibbs OBE, Chairman of two times Queen's Award winner JTA, explains the importance of the award to the international trade of his company.
From a small start-up to a global business – the JTA story
Just under two decades ago, I started my own business with the aim of combining three great passions of mine: sport, trade and travel. After initially operating on my own, I eventually set up JTA as a limited company in 2008 with two other full-time staff.
We have grown organically since then to become the world-leading independent communications and public affairs sports consultancy in the Olympic Movement, with a client-base that touches stakeholders at every level of the global sports industry.
We work with National Olympic Committees, International Federations, professional sports teams, sponsors, and bidding and organising committees. Our current clients include Manchester United FC, the Association of National Olympic Committees, the Lima 2019 Pan American and Parapan American Games Organising Committee, the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and the International Swimming Federation (FINA).
The JTA group of companies, which now includes a design office in Spain, an office in Los Angeles and soon-to-be offices in Lausanne and Beijing, boasts over 20 permanent members of staff in five different countries. We are a close-knit team and to be recognised today as a trusted global business winning its second Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade in four years has made everyone at JTA extremely proud.
The importance of international trade to JTA
For JTA, the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade is the most prestigious award we can win. As a company, we place significant emphasis on export growth. The majority of our clients are based overseas and we are constantly looking at new markets to export to.
I have been committed to supporting British companies increase their export growth for many years, and I was honoured to be awarded an OBE in the 2017 New Year Honours List for my services to international trade and the sports sector as Chair of the Department for International Trade Sports Economy Sector Advisory Group.
I have always tried to imbue my commitment to growing the UK’s export in the ethos of JTA, so to be recognised first in 2014 and again in 2018 is hugely encouraging and a testament to our core business values.
It is a privilege to be able to work with such an exciting and varied client base day in, day out and we would like to think this award is a reflection of our commitment to providing the very highest-quality service to them.
In saying that, our clients’ loyalty is not something we take for granted and we recognise that we would not be receiving this award if it were not for them! A Queen’s Award is a badge of honour not just for JTA but also for our clients and a testament to what we have achieved together. We are extremely proud that many of our clients who helped us win our first Queen’s Award in 2014 remain as JTA clients to this day and are able to enjoy the celebration with us once again.
Telling everyone the good news
All of JTA’s employees made a significant contribution to winning this prestigious award for a second time, so to be able to tell them at our monthly team meeting that their hard work and dedication had been rewarded was a hugely satisfying moment.
Winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2014 is one of JTA’s proudest moments, and is something everyone at JTA has always been eager to tell people about when explaining what we do. So to be able to now tell people we have won it twice is an incredible feeling.
I am certain that winning this award will serve as added motivation for everyone at JTA in the busy times ahead.
Advice for applying
My main piece of advice for applying for a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade is to demonstrate that your business has a genuine passion for exporting your goods or services.
The UK has an abundance of outstanding companies that offer unparalleled expertise in their field and it is vital to the future of our economy that we continue to share this expertise with the rest of the world!