LONDON (April 21, 2007) - Aquapac International Limited, from Lambeth in South-East London, has been recognized for its achievement in continuous innovation and development by being awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2007.
The brainchild of three young windsurfers in a London pub back in 1983, AQUAPACÂ® has grown into one of the best-known names in the Outdoor market: a global brand, selling in 55 countries from Hong Kong to Hawaii. Aquapac has an extremely loyal customer following, including military and emergency services as well as outdoor active consumers.
The Queen's Award is the most prestigious award that can be bestowed on a British company and has been described as a Corporate Knighthood.
â€œWe couldn't aspire to a more authoritative recognition of Aquapac as the leading brand in its market. This is a much-deserved acknowledgment of the excellence of our employees' dedication and achievement in more than 20 years of continuous innovation. We are both thrilled and honoured.â€
Tim Turnbull, Chief Executive
Recipients of the Queen's Award are selected by an independent panel of judges who send a shortlist of companies to Prime Minister Tony Blair, and he recommends a selection to Her Majesty The Queen.
Aquapac has been driven by innovation since its incorporation in 1983. Its first product - a waterproof case for the Sony WalkmanÂ® - has been developed to form today a truly comprehensive range of 100% waterproof cases. Protecting everything from your mobile phone and your camera to your PDA or your iPodÂ®. The malleable material allows users to use their electronics entirely as normal while they're sealed safely inside.
The key is the distinctive, patented AQUACLIPÂ® sealing system. Tested by BSi (the British Standards Institution) to the highest waterproofing standards available. Cases sealed by the Aquaclip are guaranteed submersible to at least 5m/15ft and that is backed by a 3-year global warranty (the Warranty Returns Rate is a remarkably low 0.01%).
With fewer than 30 employees and still manufacturing in South-East London, Aquapac has achieved remarkable success as the innovator in its industry. The AQUAPAC brand is relied upon by knowledgeable watersports enthusiasts and professional users worldwide.
â€œYou could say this was the culmination of 20 years of innovation. But we see it rather as a launchpad for the next 20 years - pioneering design and development of products for the outdoor active.â€
Andrew MacAuley, Product Development Director
Innovation at its Best
For more information on the Queen's Award visit: www.queensaward.org.uk
The full range of Aquapac cases can be viewed at: www.aquapac.net
Chronology of Aquapac International
1983 â€“ 1984
Three young bucks in a London pub dream up the idea of a waterproof case for a Sony WalkmanÂ® that would allow them to listen to tunes while windsurfing. They incorporate a company, and set about devising their first case.
The AQUAMAN personal stereo case is launched at the London Boat Show, followed shortly by the AQ2 case for hand-held VHF radios.
1984 â€“ 1993
The AQ2 series carves a solid niche for itself as the professional's choice for VHF radio protection, and they start to be ordered by oil companies in the North Sea, by the Royal Navy, by HM Coastguard, by the RNLI, and by emergency rescue teams all over the world.
1994 â€“ 1996
The AQ2 concept is extended to cases which protect compact cameras, mobile phones and portable GPS units.
1996 â€“ 1997
A new waterproof clamp is launched, and patented worldwide â€“ the AQUACLIP is born, and a revamped range of products, sealed by the Aquaclip, is launched under the brand name AQUAPAC.
Aquapac mobile phone cases win a Design & Engineering Award at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The company is honoured with the Queen's Award for Exports.
The Design Council selects the Aquaclip sealing system as a â€˜Millennium Product'.
The in-house design team files a patent application on its first â€˜wire-through' Aquaclip. The â€˜TC' Aquaclip' is born. This invention creates a watertight seal around a thin wire or tube. Originally designed for portable CD players â€“ sealing around the user's headphone wire. But seven years on its major use is for insulin pumps and cochlear implant processors. Allowing deaf children and children with diabetes to bathe and swim like other children.
2000 â€“ 2001
Aquapac launches the â€˜Aquapac Outdoor Champions' programme, with explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and mountaineer Alan Hinkes agreeing to be Patrons. The programme is a joint initiative with the Association for Outdoor Learning. The aim of the programme is to raise awareness of the benefits of outdoor education and learning for personal development and achievement.
Aquapac becomes the official supplier of waterproof kits to the Kingfisher Sailing Team, led by world- famous yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur.
2002 â€“ 2003
Aquapac is chosen as â€˜Most Innovative Premium Product' at the Incentive World exhibition.
The FLASHPAC, an inflatable hand beacon, is developed in collaboration with a US flashlight manufacturer. It is launched at the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show in Las Vegas where it wins the only Honourable Mention in the National Marine Manufacturers Association's Innovation Awards.
2004 â€“ 2005
The International Sustainable Development Studies Institute uses Aquapacs during their survey of the impact of the Tsunami in South East Asia.
Work starts on the development of a second- generation wire-through Aquaclip. A US patent application is filed. The â€˜MkIII' Aquaclip is an invention which seals around much thicker wires and tubes. All sorts of applications are foreseen for this novel technology, particularly in the medical and military markets.
2006 - 2007
At the 2007 London Boat in January Show, Helly Hansen launches a new sailing jacket which incorporates a built-in Aquapac phone case.