Published: 09:00, 23 July 2013
| Updated: 09:48, 23 July 2013
A pioneering internet telephony company created by a Kent entrepreneur has won the Queen’s seal of approval.
Voipfone, a Voice over Internet Protocol system that uses the internet to send and receive telephone calls, has won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the innovation category.
Director Lee Rose, who lives in Woodchurch, near Ashford, joined fellow director Colin Duffy and staff at a presentation ceremony with the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex. He was also due to attended a royal reception at Buckingham Palace.
Mr Rose, 45, said he was “chuffed to bits.”"This is the icing on the cake, it doesn't get better than the Queen's Award, the highest achievement for any business in the UK."
It is the latest in a long line of awards for the £3.5 million turnover company iNet Telecoms founded in 2004.
Mr Rose, the company’s technical director. added: “I first had the idea for Voipfone back in late 2003, I had some previous experience with analogue telephone switchboards and I built software that allowed our conversations to take place over the internet for free.
“It seemed obvious that there could be a bigger business in this, so I developed it further. I had no idea that nine years later, it would have become this successful and it’s a great honour to be recognised by the Queen.”
The company does not have an office and employs 25 staff across the UK and abroad. Directors run it from their respective homes.
The technology gives small businesses the features and functions previously available to large companies but for a fraction of the cost.
Damian Green, Minister of State, Home Office & Ministry of Justice and Ashford MP, said “Many congratulations to Voipfone on this tremendous award. It is always good to see local companies at the forefront of technology, taking on all-comers and matching them. I am sure the company will go from strength to strength and make the most of the opportunities available.”
The firm is allowed to use the Queen’s Award emblem in advertising, marketing and packaging. It can also fly a special Queen’s Award flag from its offices but as it does not have an office, Mr Rose said he hopes to fly it from a flagpole at his Kent home.
London-born Mr Rose is married with three children and moved to Kent in 2000.