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ChickenGuard has a punt and wins Queen's Award for Enterprise

A 'fox' on a punt chases some 'chickens' on a punt down the River Cam as part of a ChickenGuard's celebrations after being awarded a Queen's Award for Enterprise. Picture: Richard Marsham
A 'fox' on a punt chases some 'chickens' on a punt down the River Cam as part of a ChickenGuard's celebrations after being awarded a Queen's Award for Enterprise. Picture: Richard Marsham

Fulbourn-based chicken coop door company ChickenGuard was presented with a Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short-Term Growth 2019 on Wednesday (August 14).

Staff members, mentors and third-party suppliers attending the reception at ChickenGuard’s Fulbourn base witnessed the presentation and heard the citation by the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Julie Spence OBE.

The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Chris Parkhouse, and the Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Gerri Bird, also joined in the celebrations, as the firm received the international trade accolade for overseas growth over the last three years.

ChickenGuard's founder Ben Braithwaite said: “Everyone at ChickenGuard is incredibly proud to have received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2019. It is a fantastic tribute to the commitment, expertise, and innovation the team provides to chicken owners across the globe in ensuring their chickens are kept safe from predators and can enjoy extra sleep as a result of the automatic timer system.”

Earlier in the day, the ChickenGuard team provided high drama on the River Cam to celebrate their pending award presentation, as four plucky chickens braved the rain and outfoxed their perennial foe in a high stakes punt pursuit through Cambridge. The scenes were enjoyed and captured by many residents and tourists.

Ben added: “As a Cambridge-based business, it fills me with tremendous gratification that we have been singled out for this award. Cambridge is a global hub for the best in innovation, with many businesses excelling on the world stage, so for ChickenGuard to receive recognition is a brilliant moment in the company’s history.”

ChickenGuard’s story started 10 years ago when Ben was given a flock of chickens by his mother. Unfortunately, lack of experience resulted in Ben losing a few hens to a fox and that drove him to seek a better solution to keeping predators at bay. He designed his own automated chicken coop door opener, to keep chickens safely locked out of harm’s reach in the evening and automatically let out the next morning. That simple idea has turned into a global business gaining international recognition.

The company started trading in 2013, and earlier this year sold its 100,000th unit. Its products have been sold to 49 countries. In the last three years, the company’s international sales have grown by 140 per cent and export now accounts for 80 per cent of total sales.

ChickenGuard’s main markets are France, Belgium, the UK and the US, which has a high proportion of chicken owners. Areas targeted for future growth include Australia, Scandinavia and Western Europe.

First established in 1966, the Queen’s Award for Enterprise recognises and encourages the outstanding achievements of UK businesses in the fields of innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity.

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