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British exporters, innovators and business leaders recognised in 2023 New Year Honours

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British exporters, innovators and business leaders recognised in 2023 New Year Honours

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Trade Secretary congratulates British exporters, innovators and business leaders from across the UK who have been recognised with Honours in 2023 New Year list

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch is today congratulating British business leaders, exporters and Department for International Trade staff who have been recognised with Honours for their exceptional service to international trade, investment and exporting.

Those honoured represent a diverse range of businesses, from companies exporting technology that supports people with special educational needs and disabilities around the world to business leaders who have championed an array of sectors – from fintech to construction and maritime.

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said:

Trade drives economic growth, creates jobs and supports businesses and communities up and down the country. Our fantastic exporters and dedicated trade officials are the ones who make that a reality and it’s brilliant to see them get the recognition they deserve.

2023 is full of opportunities as we continue to take advantage of our newfound freedoms, unlock new markets and help businesses to sell their products all around the world.

Exporters and business leaders recognised in the 2023 New Year Honours list include:


  • Richard Graham MP, Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Indonesia, ASEAN economic community, Malaysia and Philippines, for services to trade and investment in South East Asia.


  • John (‘Jack’) Gerard Averell Spencer Churchill, Co-founder and Executive Officer of Scanning Pens Ltd, for services to international trade and to the Dyslexia and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities community.
  • Toby Jonathan Sutton, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Scanning Pens Limited, for services to international trade and to the Dyslexia and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities community.
  • Sharon Kaur Jandu, Founder and Director of Yorkshire Asian Business Association, for services to international trade.
  • Alison Lyons, for services to the Department for International Trade and people with disabilities.
  • Stephen Leonard Ingledew, Executive Chair at Fintech Scotland, for services to establishing Financial Technology sector in Scotland.


  • Julianne Ponan, Owner of Creative Nature, an allergen free food brand, for services to business, exports and people with allergies.
  • Iain Mackinnon, former Secretary of the Maritime Skills Alliance, for services to education and skills in the maritime sector.
  • Thomas Richard Chant, Chief Executive Officer of the Society of Maritime Industries, for services to the maritime industry.
  • Robert Geoffrey Oliver, lately Chief Executive Officer for Construction Equipment Association, for services to UK manufacturing sector, construction and UK exports.
  • Paula Boast, Vice Chair of Bahrain British Business Forum, for services to UK-Bahrain business relations.

Staff from the Department for International Trade (DIT) recognised in the 2023 New Year Honours list include:


  • Neil Feinson, Deputy Director for Trade in Goods, DIT, for services to international trade and diversity and inclusion in the Civil Service
  • Ilaria Regondi, Country Director, France and Deputy Trade Commissioner Europe, DIT, for being strategic in several billion pounds worth of exports and investment projects and securing vital healthcare supplies from France during the pandemic.


  • Dr Joanne Lawson, Deputy Head in Procurement and Intellectual Property, DIT, for services to trade, by leading the UK’s accession to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.
  • Dr Sian Thomas, Chief Data Officer, DIT, for services to international trade, investment and cross-government data standards

In addition to recipients nominated by DIT, the following trade professionals have received honours:

  • Dr Linda Yi-Chuang Yueh, Fellow in Economics, St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford and Adjunct Professor of Economics, London Business School, and member of the Board of Trade, for services to economics
  • Lesley Batchelor OBE, Export Champion and Entrepreneur, for services to international trade
  • William Alan Beckett, Chairman, International Trade Forum. For services to Manufacturing and to exports
  • Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald and Trade Envoy to Nigeria, for political and public service
  • Dr Graham Harold Gudgin, for services to economic development in Northern Ireland

Recognised Recipients

Exporters and business leaders recognised in this list include co-founders John (‘Jack’) Churchill and Toby Sutton, both awarded an OBE for services to international trade and to people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Over the last 20 years, Jack Churchill - who himself is dyslexic - and Toby Sutton, have built an assistive technology powerhouse at the heart of the dyslexia and special needs communities. Scanning Pens is an organisation that provides portable text-to-speech pen scanners which empower young and adult readers by giving them the tool to instantly access printed text anywhere. This assistive technology is now used daily by thousands of schools, workplaces and in prisons. The organisation has for many years been active both in the UK and in more than 100 countries. More than 50% of the company’s business is attributed to international trade, and it now has offices in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and India.

Jack Churchill and Toby Sutton, co-founders of Scanning Pens Ltd, said:

To say we are honoured by this announcement is an understatement. When we first started this venture over 20 years ago, we saw the opportunity to establish a business that could help millions of individuals with their literacy needs. Looking back, it is fantastic to know that through our technology we have supported so many to succeed.

The success of Scanning Pens has allowed us to establish a goodwill organisation, Succeed With Dyslexia, which has made a reality of our wish to spread awareness around dyslexia through positive stories within this often-forgotten community.

Without the support of our families and the whole team, neither of us would be receiving an OBE today. We look forward to many years ahead as we drive our business forward, whilst at the same time helping even more individuals in their daily lives.

Julianne Ponan – awarded an MBE for services to business, exports and people with allergies.

Allergy campaigner and award-winning business woman Julianne Ponan received the honour for the work she has done to educate others about the risks, dangers and realities of living with allergies and anaphylaxis. This recognition is part of her ambition to run Creative Nature, a successful top 14 allergen free snack business in the competitive food and drink sector. Now in its 11th year, Creative Nature sells products online, through major retailers across the UK and exports to over 16 countries around the world. As an Export Champion for the Department for International Trade, Julianne helps other SMEs to explore exporting by sharing her skills and experience. Julianne is also an ambassador for the Anaphylaxis Campaign and MedicAlert where she raises awareness of medical jewellery to provide life-saving information to health professionals in an emergency.

Julianne Ponan, Chief Executive Officer of Creative Nature, said:

I am honoured and humbled to be recognised with the award of an MBE in the 2023 New Year’s Honours list. I’m so thrilled to be counted among so many who have been honoured for their positive work to make our lives and our society better.

Living with allergies in our society is not easy. People like me can feel isolated, excluded and humiliated when we need to ensure that what we eat or drink is safe for us – and that can include what others eat or drink around us.

My team and I create products that can be eaten safely, and I’m very passionate about that.

Stephen Ingledew – awarded an OBE for services to establishing the Financial Technology Sector in Scotland.

Spanning over four decades, Stephen’s career has enabled him to become an influential advocate to make the financial world more open, creative and inclusive through innovative initiatives and progressive ways of working. In 2018, he formed and led FinTech Scotland, which is recognised today as one of the top fintech cluster management organisations in the UK and Europe. FinTech Scotland published the ground breaking Research and Innovation Roadmap, and Stephen is one of the founders of the FinTech National Network which facilitates collaboration across all UK regional fintech clusters. He also sits on the UK Government’s Business Innovation Forum and Scottish Government’s Innovation Steering Group and is both Deputy Convenor of the University of Strathclyde Court and non-executive director of Smart Data Foundry.

Stephen Ingledew, Chairman of FinTech Scotland, said:

I am honoured to receive an OBE for services to financial technology. To be recognised for doing something I am passionate about is incredible and I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the many people who have provided valuable support to me.

It is a huge privilege to be at the heart of financial innovation leveraging expertise across all UK regions to grow the economy, attract inward investment and develop export opportunities, all of which further reinforces the UK’s role as global fintech leader.

Sharon Jandu – awarded an OBE for services to international trade.

Sharon is an advocate for both her community and international trade. She has put Asian owned Yorkshire businesses on the global map by creating the Yorkshire Asian Business Association (YABA) in 2017, with the aim of educating and promoting Yorkshire based, Asian owned businesses at home and overseas. Due to her enthusiasm and experience, YABA has amassed over 3,500 corporate members which continues to grow. Sharon has driven joint trade opportunities between her membership and primarily the Indian Sub-continent, where she embraces the opportunity emerging from the UK’s free trade agreement with India. She continuously promotes Department for International Trade’s assistance, alongside collaborating on events to bring DIT to her membership’s attention. She founded the charity Global Diversity Positive Action in 2015, after witnessing failures first hand as a Justice of the Peace.

Sharon Jandu, Founder and Director of Yorkshire Asian Business Association, said:

It’s an absolute honour and a privilege to receive such a prestigious award for my work educating and promoting Northern based and Asian owned businesses at home and overseas.

I am grateful to the Department for International Trade for the recognition, and I am also really fortunate to be supported by an incredible team.

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