St Leonards businessman meets King Charles III at Buckingham Palace

The managing director of a St Leonards business met the King at a reception in Buckingham Palace this week.
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Gary Stevens, from Focus SB, attended the event hosted by King Charles III as a recipient of The King’s Awards for Enterprise 2023.

The Royal reception hosted by His Majesty was held on Tuesday (June 27) and included a mix of award-winning companies, from drugs packaging companies, to medical equipment manufacturers and IT/graphics developers and charities.

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Mr Stevens was part of a group of more than 140 winners at Tuesday’s reception.

Gary Stevens meets the King. Picture: Alex LloydGary Stevens meets the King. Picture: Alex Lloyd
Gary Stevens meets the King. Picture: Alex Lloyd

He said: “As you would expect, there were the covert protection officers who were identifiable with their ear pieces in place. There were also two military officers whose main task was to keep the King flowing and the main crowd back to enable His Majesty to roam freely and interact with the winning representatives.

"The first impression I got was of someone who seems to be very relaxed and comfortable in such events, which has the effect of rubbing off on his very keen audience. He seemed very engaged and more than eager to stop and chat and with a genuine interest in what the winners had won their awards for.

“The King by this time had moved further into the room and eventually, luckily my turn arrived. We shook hands and he asked me what business I was in.

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"I told him who we were and that we had a ‘coals to Newcastle’ story, selling premium electrical products into China and he commented on the level of difficulty that must have posed and asked how business was since the pandemic.

"I told him that one of the key success factors was to ensure that you have the right partner in territory - that goes for any territory overseas. He also asked if Brexit had affected our business in any way and my response was, marginally, but not adversely, but that we may not be typical in UK industry. He congratulated me on our award.

“Winning the King's Award for Enterprise is not only an endorsement of the hard work that we have done in building our export market, but it is also one of the highest accolades a business can achieve. I feel even more proud and privileged to be part of what is a very select few companies who receive this prestigious recognition each year and am looking forward to making sure that Focus SB take full advantage of being a recipient.”