We won !! National Family Business 2017


The Smart Actuator Company is proud & honoured to announce it was crowned as winners of the Judges Choice as Midlands Family Business of 2017 . We then went on to be awarded the highest accolade of the National Family Business Awards in Wembley being crowned as RBC National Family Business of the Year.

Our family values are very much at the heart of everything we do and we are proud to be flying the flag for family businesses all over the UK & Ireland.

The Smart Actuator Company wins Midlands Family Business of 2017There are 2 generations of family working at the company but really we consider the whole team part of our family team. Earlier in 2017 whilst taking part in some business coaching it became clear that celebrating being a family business was really important. The world is full of many highly successful family business including some big name brands and multi generational success stories. Family businesses really are the heart of a lot of local communities “the shining starts of the British economy” Anita Brightley-Hodges MD of Family Business Place.

“We were amazed and excited to be shortlisted as Regional winners” Tony O’Donnell CEO The Smart Actuator Company said. “To have won came as a surprise but we could never have imagined we would then end the night by winning the National award”. It is validation of the hard work, determination & love we have for our business, our team & our family.

“I entered the business into these awards at a time when we were being told to be ‘less family, more business’ ” said Tonya O’Donnell, Sales & Marketing Director. “Instead we decided to ignore that advice & actually celebrate being a family business. I hoped entering the awards I could show the team & my family just how great I think they are & how proud of us I am. Winning was simply unbelievable.

The Smart Actuator Company wins National Family Business of 2017The judges commented

“The culture of this business really stood out from the crowd, they are warm, friendly, welcoming and encouraging”

“They flew in the face of advice when told the business should be ‘less family, more business’ and thank goodness they did as they have recently gone on to win a Queens Award.”

“In true family business style although recently having been through some sad times they have embraced their love, stood together and carried on”

Family businesses really are special. They can do great things. We at The Smart Actuator Company aim to be proof of that. As we continue to grow we will continue to hold our family values close to our hearts. Our business vision and focus incorporates those family values. We continue to work hard to succeed for not just our immediate family working in the business right now but for the generations who we hope will continue to work in the business, the staff & families who work with us and the community that we live & do business within. Supporting our local community, economy and its people is important to us. Being a family business, innovating in the world of British Industry & Manufacturing all these are things are important to us. We won’t be resting on our laurels we will be working hard to continue to do great things.

Proud to win Judges Choice for Midland Region Family Business of 2017Tell us about your family business (What you do, how you started, who’s involved etc)
The Smart Actuator Company is an engineering manufacturing business. It is 6 years old but actually, we have had a lean manufacturing business in the IT Industry for 25 years so we had a great amount of 1st Generation & 2nd Generation experience in manufacturing & running a family business before we started this company. The Company is owned by father & son. I am the daughter & sister of these two. Our mother also works for the business and we hope to ensure some succession into 3rd generation as well.  We make Electric Actuators. Pretty much the worlds first truly smart electric spanner in a market of dumb ones. We all love working together and are very proud of the work we do together and the success of the company & the team.

What’s your proudest moment/biggest achievement as a family business?
Our proudest moment was very recently in April this year being awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise in Innovation as well as of course being recognised as a family business. In fact, the Queens Award win is all the sweeter because we are a family business and proud to be. It is recognition that a seemingly small family business can really achieve great things. We have invested so much financially, time and effort into launching this venture and to gain such a prestigious accolade feels like recognition for all that hard work.

What do you love about being a family business?
We love being able to bring our family values into our work and business. We love working together as a unit. We love that the business will provide income for not just us but our children and also the team that work with us and their families too. As well as wanting to build a successful business we also create an environment which is a happy and caring place to work. We actually have family members that also work for us. One of our longest working staff members introduced her son into our workforce and he has proved to be an invaluable part of our production team. We work with people we know, like and trust and are very good at identifying skills shortages and supplementing those shortages with people who can help.  As a family, we have strong beliefs in supporting our community, social projects & environmental issues. Working within a family business means we can incorporate those values into our business as well. We have an internal environmental policy & do lots of work within the local community. 3 of the family hold various council positions. Our MD is a District Councillor.  We are also moving towards a large-scale social project in a developing country which we are very excited about.