Young entrepreneur and business left 'in depths of despair' after Covid honoured in King's Awards

Mitchell Barnes, 27, CEO of Ryse 3D in Shipston on Stour
Mitchell Barnes, 27, CEO of Ryse 3D in Shipston on Stour -Credit:Emma Trimble/PR image

Two fast-growing Coventry and Warwickshire firms have been recognised in this year's King's Awards. RYSE 3D and Arrowsmith Engineering were both honoured for their outstanding business achievements.

Mitchell Barnes, founder of Shipston-on-Stour based RYSE 3D, is one of the youngest managing directors to receive one of the prestigious awards. His business, specialising in 3D printing, began with him replacing his mum's washing machines in the garage with DIY 3D printers to create models at university.

Seven years on, his firm employs 14 people and has just completed a £1.5m investment drive. It is now supplying 3D printed production parts to 18 Hypercar projects across the world.

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Coventry-based Arrowsmith Engineering also picked up an award in the International Trade category after an export sales boom. It has seen overseas sales rocket by nearly 400% after being in the "depths of despair" following the pandemic - with those orders now accounting for 35% of the firm’s annual £7.6m turnover.

Mitchell, 27, said: “This has been some journey. From replacing my mum’s washing machines in the garage with a few DIY 3D printers to create models at university, to setting up a world class 3D printing factory in Warwickshire and winning one of the hardest to achieve business awards in the world.

“We pride ourselves on disrupting the marketplace and this has seen us win a string of new contracts across the world, printing production performance components for some of the world's most renowned OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).

He added: “40% of our work is now going overseas and this figure is set to grow, with interest coming from five different continents. The King’s Award for Enterprise will help reinforce this international expansion and will certainly open new doors for us when pitching to large OEMs, car makers and potential customers in aviation, renewables and the MedTech sector.

“It’s also a massive external ‘well done’ to our 14-strong workforce. We’ve had to grow quickly and some of our staff have been taken from coffee shops and local bars and trained into skilled engineers on the job. This award is for them more than anyone else."

Jason Aldridge, managing director of Arrowsmith Engineering in Coventry
Jason Aldridge, managing director of Arrowsmith Engineering in Coventry -Credit:PR image

Meanwhile precision components manufactured at Arrowsmith's Bayton Road factory in Coventry are sent to global customers in China, France, Germany, Singapore and Spain for end use in aerospace engines, landing gears and air frames. After a focus on recruiting female engineers, women now make up nearly a quarter of the workforce.

Managing director Jason Aldridge said: "It has been some turnaround from the very depths of despair during Covid to the renaissance we are seeing now and in the future. Civil aviation – a major market for us – literally dropped off the cliff with the pandemic and we had to show good old-fashioned resilience and a fair bit of business innovation to get through it."

He added: “The King’s Award will definitely help us with recruitment, especially when you consider we are competing with some major carmakers and aerospace primes locally. The process is one of the most stringent in business and I’m delighted for our wonderful staff.

"Yes, we have invested heavily in the best technology, but our people are still our greatest asset and selling point. This award is for them.”

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