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Female co-founder’s company awarded The King’s Award for International Trade amid praise from UK Government minister


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A female co-founder, and her business partner, who were denied support because the business didn’t have ‘hyper-scale potential’, have seen their company awarded The King’s Award for International Trade for 2023.

Join Talent, a hyper-growth embedded recruitment solutions business based in Scotland, is part of the first ever King’s Awards for Enterprise.

Announced today Join Talent is one of only 148 organisations nationally to be recognised with a prestigious King’s Award for Enterprise.

CEO and co-founder, Katrina Hutchinson O’Neill said: “We’re delighted to win this prestigious award, particularly because of the growth we’ve seen over the past few years and our international expansion. As still a young company it’s an especially phenomenal achievement – Join Talent was an idea developed and built at a kitchen table, and the business was bootstrapped at every stage. I guess you could say that, by necessity, we had to
build it the hard way.’

“This award is a testament to the hard work and incredible skill of our brilliant team members all over the world.”

Join Talent’s focus on international trade over recent months and years includes participation in The Entrepreneurial Nation 2.0, an initiative launched by the UAE government in 2022.

The company has achieved year-on-year growth in overseas sales over three years at a steep level, with total overseas sales growing by a remarkable 2,701% over the period. Overseas sales now account for 42.8% of total business, and after the UK, the company’s next five top markets are USA, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Ireland.

UK Government minister for Scotland, John Lamont, said: “It’s great to see Scottish businesses recognised in the first ever King’s Awards. These are considered among the most prestigious business awards in the UK, and each should rightly be proud to be named among the winners.

“Join Talent have done tremendous work in growing their international sales, and their overseas growth is an example to all other companies who are considering exporting. It just goes to show some of the fantastic organisations we have operating in Scotland, and I hope this award can inspire them to even greater achievements in future.”

It hasn’t always been plain sailing for Katrina and the business though. Katrina added: “When we set up the business initially, I was denied support from a female entrepreneur-focused support group because they didn’t consider us to have ‘hyper-scale potential’.

“We have defied those expectations, but I would like to use the platform we now have to support other entrepreneurial women and minority entrepreneurs.”

Employing more than 250 professionals across 21 countries, Join Talent was set up in late 2018, and now has a roster of clients from start-ups to Unicorns and through to FTSE 30 household names.

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