UK finalist 2021
James Smith and Luke Smith
Managing Directors, A-SAFE
‘Do the unexpected’ were the words embedded in the minds of James and Luke Smith from listening to their father. And so, they transformed a plastic core business into a worldwide powerhouse in workforce safety. A-Safe manufactures, the world’s first fixed polymer safety barrier, was realised as a concept when one of their plastic pallets stood on its side and ‘looked like a fence’. Having just spent thousands of pounds on steel-fabricated safety barriers in their old factory, they saw a gap in the market for plastic industrial safety and set about owning it.
James and Luke are two entrepreneurs who do not believe in standing still. They have a strong belief that together with their team and customers, they are a ‘family’ collective.
We have always been encouraged to be brave and dynamic, and to explore the possible and seemingly impossible. Curiosity comes naturally; we anticipate, innovate and invent.
The duo has also created a separate R&D company with 70 designers and engineers to develop new ideas and products for the group.
Their key to global expansion has been their ‘global but local’ approach. Contrary to the advice that they should build a network of distributers, the brothers built wholly owned subsidiaries, building great customer relationships and keeping closer to their evolving needs.