• Saturday, May 18, 2024


Asian business wins King’s Award for enterprise

Chocolate maker Harry Specters from Ely, Cambridgeshire, was founded by Mona and Shaz Shah

Ash, Mona, and Shaz

By: Pramod Thomas

AN Asian business which employs people who have autism across the business is among 252 companies whose success has been recognised by the King.

Chocolate maker Harry Specters from Ely, Cambridgeshire, has received the 2024 King’s Award for promoting opportunity.

Harry Specters was founded in 2012 by Mona and Shaz Shah, and inspired by her autistic son, Ash.

From making and packaging the products to administration, design, and photography, autistic staff contribute across various roles within the business.

“This award will serve as a constant reminder of what we’ve achieved and the endless possibilities that lie ahead. Our journey continues, and we are excited for what the future holds. We remain committed to delighting your taste buds while making significant strides towards a better, more inclusive world,” Shaz Shah wrote on the website.

The social enterprise has provided support to over 360 individuals with autism.

Mona Shah, 54, who relocated with her family from Pakistan to Cambridge in 2006, attributed much of the credit for the award to Julie Spence, the Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire.

Shah praised Spence as a longtime advocate who encouraged their application process. Reflecting on the recognition, Shah expressed delight at winning the award on their first attempt.

Their 1,500 square foot factory welcomed a visit from the Duke of Edinburgh in April last year. Shah recounted the Duke’s two-hour involvement in chocolate-making activities alongside their team.

Other winners include Mitchell Barnes, who runs a 3D car parts printing company called RYSE 3D based in Warwick; event security firm Halo Solutions; deVOL, a maker of high-end kitchens; Times Higher Education, the global universities specialist; Mindful Chef, the recipe box provider; and Firmdale Hotels.

They will be given trophies by the King’s lord-lieutenants, receive an invitation to Buckingham Palace and allowed to display the King’s Awards emblem for five years.

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