HUDDERSFIELD firms have been urged to bid for industry's top prize.
Officials of the Queen's Awards scheme are touring Yorkshire to drum up more nominations for the 2007 competition.
Some 145 companies across the UK won Queen's Awards this year, the highest total for 11 years.
The 13 firms in Yorkshire to win the coveted awards included Huddersfield chemical firm James Robinson. It was given a Queen's Award for its innovation in developing patented special dyes for ophthalmic lenses.
Other 2006 winners included Batley- based textile firm Meritmill. The firm, which makes furnishing fabric pattern books, won a Queen's Award for international trade.
David Moore, secretary of the Prime Minister's advisory committee which runs the awards, said: "We aim to cover the whole country during our summer promotional campaign.
"It is a good opportunity to visit existing award-holders and find out what use they have made of the award and how it has helped their business.
"The Queen's Award is a powerful marketing tool. A lot of winners tell us it is particularly valuable in overseas markets.
"In the home market it helps firms raise their profile and establish their credibility as quality companies. It is also great for staff morale."
The award is split into four cate- gories: for international trade, innovation, sustainability and a special award for individuals who encourage others to become entrepreneurs.
Nominations close on October 31, so there is plenty of time for firms to apply.
Mr Moore said some people thought the awards were only for big firms. But almost half the 2006 winners were firms employing under 50 people and three-quarters had under 200 staff.
He added: "It takes time to enter the awards, but it is time well spent because all entrants get a detailed report from the award organisers listing their strengths and weaknesses of their application, which is useful business information in itself.
It is still regarded as the most prestigious award a UK firm can win.
"Winners attend a Buckingham Palace reception and receive their award from the Lord Lieutenant at their own premises.
"They can also use the Queen's Award emblem on their literature and products for five years."
A survey of 2005 winners showed that 92% believed winning the award had brought added commercial value while 78% said it had been a significant boost to staff morale.
Some 55% said it gave their firm added recognition in the UK and 44% said it had raised their profile overseas. Some 22% said it had created significant new business.
"There is a lot to gain and nothing to lose by applying," said Mr Moore.
Companies with queries can contact the hotline on 020 72222277.
Application forms can be downloaded from www.queensward.org.uk