East Midlands chamber honours one of Notts’ most famous sons

Ashley Long MD of Paul Smith receiving the award from Chamber President Jean Mountain.

Ashley Long MD of Paul Smith receiving the award from Chamber President Jean Mountain.

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Sir Paul Smith, one of Nottinghamshire’s most famous sons, received a prestigious award from East Midlands Chamber at its annual dinner.

Each year, the Chamber’s Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Business pays tribute to a local business leader.

Over the past 40 years, Sir Paul has forged a reputation as the UK’s foremost designer. In that time, he has built a company, in his own name, of global repute.

Famous for its clothing and accessories collections, Paul Smith specialises in an inventive use of traditional craftsmanship and cutting-edge design to create beautifully made, desirable, modern pieces. The collections are sold in 66 countries.

Paul Smith has 17 shops in England and others in Paris, Milan, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Antwerp, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and three in the United Arab Emirates.

Sir Paul continues to be an integral part of the company. He is both Designer and Chairman and is involved in every aspect of the business.

Chamber President Jean Mountain presented the award, which was collected on Sir Paul’s behalf by Ashley Long, Managing Director of Paul Smith Ltd, at the dinner at The Roundhouse, in Derby.

Previous recipients of the Chamber’s Special Award include former Emda Chairman Dr Bryan Jackson, ex-Bombardier and D2N2 LEP Chairman Colin Walton, former Nottingham City Council Chief Executive Jane Todd, Experian founder and Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire Sir John Peace and former Nottingham Trent University Vice-Chancellor Prof Neil Gorman.

Jean said: “Each year the Chamber likes to pay tribute to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to business in our area.

“This year, there were a number of strong nominations and the Chamber Board had a difficult choice to make in deciding upon the most worthy recipient.

“I was delighted to be able to present the award to Sir Paul Smith, an inspiring local businessman who has helped to put his home city of Nottingham at the epicentre of the Made in Britain brand that is lauded around the world.”

Around 520 business leaders from across the East Midlands attended the Chamber dinner. Renowned explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry, Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, were the guest speakers.

During her President’s address at the event, Jean spoke passionately about the key role the region has to play in driving the UK’s economy.

She said: “We’re extremely fortunate to have such a broad-based and well-balanced regional economy, with real strengths in manufacturing and engineering; the service sector; and science and technology.

“Our key strengths lie in two key areas, here, we make things and we move things, which people around the world enjoy.

“This part of the country truly is the UK economy’s Engine for Growth, but as a region, we need to get much smarter in terms of the way we hunt as a pack for funding and resources, like they do in the West Midlands and the North East.

“The UK will thrive only if the Engine for Growth is firing on all cylinders, so it’s vital that politicians, policymakers and Parliamentarians always take into account the important role that this region plays in driving economic growth and job creation in the UK.”