Brompton Bicycle Ltd, maker of the famous small-wheeled and folding bicycles has won two prestigious business awards for 2010.
The company from West London has been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in both the Innovation and International Trade categories.
The award in the Innovation category was made in recognition of the continued improvements to the design and manufacture of the Brompton folding bike over many years, "enabling consumers to make environmentally-friendly combinations of transport modes."
Will Butler-Adams, Managing Director of Brompton Bicycle Ltd, said, "In 1995, as a fledgling company led by the inventor Andrew Ritchie, Brompton was honoured by the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement. That award gave the staff and distributors great pride and enthusiasm as it recognised the success of this London-made folding bike. That team, augmented by a further 90 staff, has worked hard over the intervening 15 years to turn that early triumph into a long-lasting British manufacturing success story.
"All of us at Brompton are immensely proud and honoured by the recognition of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in both the International Trade and Innovation categories. Our aims today remain the same as they ever were: to make great folding bikes that do everything and more that is asked of them, made here in London and enjoyed the world over."
The company was founded in 1976 in Andrew Ritchie's flat at South Kensington opposite Brompton Oratory. It is not hard to imagine the difficulty in trying to establish a bicycle-making company as the history here details during an era when British manufacturing in general and bikes in particular have struggled. Indeed, along with Pashley in the West Midlands, Brompton is now Britain's bicycle industry in its entirety.
Apart from the latest five consecutive years showing 25% annual revenue growth, according to the Financial Times, the really good news is that the company has seen its sales reach a broader demographic as a new generation of cycling enthusiasts help transform Brompton into a byword for urban chic.
Thirty-five to 40 per cent of its customers are now women and the age of the average rider has dropped below 40, having been over 50 just five years ago.