Innovative family businesses given chance to shine | Wilson Organisation


June 11, 2014

Innovative family businesses given chance to shine

Innovative family businesses given chance to shine

Midlands’ family businesses with an innovative flair when it comes to developing a new product or service are being urged to showcase their achievements in the regions only independent Awards for family firms.

The Business Innovation Award is one of ten in the 2014 Midlands Family Business Awards, the regions only not-for-profit independent Awards for family businesses and their owners.

Sponsored by PwC, the award sets-out to find and recognise family businesses that have a commitment to innovation, whether in developing new products and services, enhancing service delivery, working practices or production.

Chris Romans is a partner and private business leader at PwC in the Midlands, and he was awarded leading adviser at last year’s Family Business Awards. Commenting on how the Business Innovation Award category judges will be looking for information and proof of the family business’ innovation when reviewing entries, he said:

“We are particularly interested in how innovation has helped the family business to operate or expand, whether it be via product, process, market or people based innovation and development. Evidence is invaluable, so reports on research undertaken prior to the development of these innovations should be incorporated into submissions, together with information of the business’ family values and plans for future generations.”

The current holder of the Business Innovation Award is Derbyshire-based John Bowler Group, which picked up the 2013 title (pictured) in recognition of the way it has made forward-planning a central theme of operations.

Founded in 1980, the Group is one of the UK’s largest producers of free range eggs. It also specialises in renewable energy projects for commercial customers with complete packages for profitable wind turbines and solar PV panels.

Its innovative approach in creating a bespoke client database relating to egg production by its franchise-style production system impressed the Awards’ independent panel of judges.

Speaking after collecting the Group’s Award, Lucie Bowler (pictured centre) said: “Winning the Business Innovation Award gives us extra credibility and helps to demonstrate our position as leaders in the field. The award process has highlighted our work to other family businesses in the region, which can only be a good thing. To win has given the staff – and the family – a morale boost and it’s always nice to have your work recognised by others.”

Highly Commended in the category were A1 Flue Systems and Koolmill Systems.

Family businesses can enter free of charge and submissions can be made via the website:

Over 100 years of innovation

  • 1914

    A successful launch! The Wilson Organisation was founded in Nottingham by Harold Wilson and became the first company in the East Midlands to offer a comprehensive insurance policy to the region’s fast-growing band of automobile drivers. Innovation from day one.

  • 1920s

    During the 1920’s, Wilsons developed its commercial insurance offering under the stewardship of Harold Wilson. Hopping forwards 80 years, Wilsons has developed a number of industry specialisms including a particular expertise in the food and drink sector. We created a unique insurance offering called “FoodProtect” and, through this service, have been able to deliver intelligence and cost-effective insurance programmes to a broad spread of leading food producers. The best thing since sliced bread? Maybe not, but we’re working on it.

  • 1949

    John Prow joined Harold Wilson in the business, marking the first generation of the Prow family’s involvement in The Wilson Organisation. Wilsons’ clients included leading Nottingham firm Boots The Chemist plus a number of operators in the burgeoning railway sector. With post-war regeneration beginning apace, the firm’s fledgling construction expertise quickly developed into one of our leading offerings and this continues through to the present day, with clients including national and regional builders, developers, contractors, sub-contractors and architects.

  • 1960s

    The 1960s were the start of a new era for The Wilson Organisation. Harold Wilson and John Prow died on the same day in 1963, Harold of illness and John in a car crash. This left John’s son, John J Prow, to run the growing business at the age of 27. Under his youthful direction, Wilsons benefited from a new energy and direction. John J Prow, who had joined in 1960 in a new business role, led the move into our current premises at Wilson House in 1964 and then launched the financial services division in the following year.

  • 1990s

    The late 1990s heralded the start of the third generation of the Prow family’s involvement in the business. Managing Director Charlotte Prow joined in 1998, to be followed by the firm’s Chief Executive, Annabel Prow, in 2002. Product and service innovation continued apace with the launch of a corporate finance specialism in 1997, which continues to deliver valuable cost-savings and insights to the region’s dealmakers.

  • 2000s

    Now century on from the launch of The Wilson Organisation in 1914, the company continues to encourage innovation and reward good ideas. Within the financial services team, 2008 marked the launch of “Flex”, a powerful employee benefit programme and the development of “WRAP”, an investment tool with a unique level of investor control and transparency. Meanwhile, our insurance advisers worked quickly to bring to market a specialist insurance policy for insolvency practitioners.

  • 2010s

    2010 saw the launch of the Midlands Family Business Awards by Wilsons, the UK’s only independent not-for-profit Awards for family businesses. Now in their fifth year, the Awards have raised almost £20,000 for charities supporting families and young people. In 2014 we are celebrating Wilsons’ centenary, a significant milestone in Wilsons’ history.

Registered Office:
Wilson House, 1/3 Waverley Street, Nottingham, NG7 4HG

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Harold Wilson (Insurances) Ltd. and Harold Wilson Financial Services Ltd. are authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)