News Staff January 2, 2020

Leamington-based entrepreneur Rob Smith has been recognised in Her Majesty The Queen’s 2020 New Year Honours list ‘For Services to International Trade and People with Disabilities.’

Rob Smith founded The Active Hands Company after overcoming a fall off a cliff and suffering a high-level spinal cord injury leaving him with partial paralysis. The company makes gripping aids for people with hand function disabilities, enabling them to take part in numerous activities as independently as possible. Its gripping aids allow people to hold tightly onto objects such as garden tools, gym equipment, Wii controllers, adaptive bike handles, musical instruments and many more.

The Queen’s New Year Honours list recognises the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people across the UK and internationally, including exporters, entrepreneurs, and business leaders who are contributing to local and global prosperity. It also includes those who are championed by the Department for International Trade.

Antonia Romeo, Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Trade, said:

Excellent to see Rob Smith recognised in the 2020 New Year Honours List, showcasing the best of British innovation.

Active Hands Company has had huge exporting success, as well as demonstrating dedication to people with disabilities across the world, and I wish them all the best as they grow their business.

The company has provided gripping aids for Paralympic gold medal winners, leisure gardeners, injured military personnel and young children all over the world. In 2018, Active Hands reached a turnover of £250,000 – a 25% increase from the previous year. Exports to countries across North America, Asia, Australia and Europe account for more than half of the company’s turnover.