An innovative company in Hemel Hempstead has been granted a royal honour.
Mouthguard provider OPRO, based at The Willows, Mark Road, has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovgation.
The company, which was founded more than 20 years ago by former dentist Anthony Lovat, has been chosen for the accolade for the innovation behind its Snap-Fit mouthguard.
Its significance to OPRO can be gauged by the sales of mouthguard which have doubled over the last two years and now representing a high proportion of the company’s total sales.
David Allen, chief executive of OPRO, which has sold more than 10 million mouthguards, said: “We are honoured and proud to receive this award in recognition of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes across the business.
“As a company, we pride ourselves on leading the way to produce pioneering products and this award perfectly represents that.”
Its innovative products have made OPRO the partner of choice for hundreds of teams and associations worldwide.
These include England Rugby, New Zealand Rugby, Australia Rugby, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), USA Taekwondo, Great Britain Taekwondo, Wrestling Canada Lutte, Irish Hockey and Great Britain Hockey.
Mr Allen said: “We’ve no doubt that this accolade will only help us to continue to grow our presence across the world of sport, as we strive to drive participation levels and foster safe sport by making our mouthguards truly accessible to all.”
The company says the innovation behind its mouthguard has enabled the business to position it as the only provider of self-fit mouthguards, which allow an instant fit, with no boiling or moulding needed to fit the user’s mouth.
The Queen’s Award will be presented to the company during a royal reception this summer at the firm’s offices attended by the Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire.
It is a remarkable triumph for a company that started life in a dining room in Hertfordshire and is now regarded among the most innovative.