THERESA May has congratulated a South West chamber of commerce that trounced global competition to walk away with an international award.

Business West, which covers Wiltshire Bath, Bristol and Gloucestershire, were named winners of the Best Job Creation and Business Development Project at the World Chambers Competition.

More than 50 projects from 27 countries put themselves forward for the awards. And there were 18 finalists competing in four award categories.

But only five chambers of commerce triumphed at a glittering awards ceremony held in Sydney, Australia.

Business West was the only UK winner, with other victors hailing from Brazil, Germany, UAE and Colombia. The awards were organised by the ICC World Chambers Federation.

The win, which recognises the launch of Business West’s International Trade Centre, was marked by a letter from the Prime Minister.

In her letter, Theresa May wrote: “With over 50 applications from 27 countries, the fact that Business West Chambers of Commerce was only one of five Chambers to be honoured at this prestigious event makes your award even more special.

“Please accept my congratulations on your win and my best wishes for many more years of success.”

Ian Larrard, director of Business West’s Swindon and Wiltshire Initiative, said: “We are delighted to win this award as recognition of achieving almost half-a-billion pounds-worth of additional export sales and creating nearly 4000 new jobs.”

The chamber’s International Trade Centre had led to a jump of 250 per cent in the number of potential first time exporters using their services, Business West said.

Ian added: “All of this has been against a challenging national and global backdrop, where instability currently tops the media and business agenda in the UK. Yet we have seen that businesses still want to do business with each other.

“By changing the way we talked about export to smaller companies, bringing all elements of business support under one-roof, using our global network of Chambers and private sector partners, and removing the friction between buyers and sellers, we can ensure that, despite what the politicians are doing, we can still drive business growth and success for our members.

“Never has Business West and our network of global contacts been so relevant in driving jobs and growth.”

The British Chambers of Commerce’s David Riches congratulated Business West on their win.

He said: “Through their work, Business West has helped create thousands of jobs, and generated millions of pounds of new export business. They are a shining example for Chambers both in the UK and around the world, for how to boost trade in local business communities.”

Business West will next month collect an Enterprising Britain Award at a ceremony in the House of Commons.