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21 March, 2022 - 13:27 By Tony Quested

AI, DeepTech, thrusting startups and key investments add further quality to Awards

Entry remains open for the annual Business Weekly Awards as organisers and sponsors continue to broaden the reach of the competition to reflect the technology strengths of Cambridge and the East of England.

The competition began life in 1990 with success for tech startup Pi and in the intervening years life sciences thought leaders, industrial gamechangers and hi-tech trailblazers have shared in the cut and thrust.

The make-up of companies that have won individual categories and the coveted Business of the Year title is exceptionally varied and mirrors the strengths of the cluster.

Entry to date has been strong and it has been great to see the number of high quality sustainable technology companies throwing their hats into the ring. AgriTech is especially well represented this year.

Emerging startups with powerful propositions are also entering in higher numbers but we want more – regardless of the industries they represent. We especially want to see more young companies involved with Artificial Intelligence or some form of DeepTech – very much a strength of the Cluster.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, Business Weekly and the sponsors have acted to realign the timetable for the competition, reverting to a full 12 month distance between presentation of trophies.

For this and other reasons, the decision has been taken to extend the closing date for entries to July 29, 2022 and to hold the bounceback banquet at Queens’ College, Cambridge, on Thursday September 8.

Original plans to hold the dinner at the end of March have been shelved as the last round of winners only received their crystal obelisks last October in a private ceremony.

Lead sponsor Mills & Reeve is already conducting interviews with a large number of early entrants and will be compiling reports. A judges’ meeting will be called on a date and at a venue shortly to be confirmed to sift through all the candidates for trophies. 

New in the 2021-2022 competition is an Investment of the Year category –  for a deal deemed to be a game-changer in terms of amount invested or potential impact following investment, regardless of the amount of money raised. The award categories are:

Young Company of the Year: For the most exciting startup enterprise in any sector that has made significant progress in the last 12 months.

Graduate Business of the Year: For a Cambridge-based company that has shown outstanding commercial potential or success over the last 12 months, either founded by a Cambridge University alumnus or which has significantly contributed to the employment and retention locally of Cambridge graduate talent. 

The Michael Marshall Engineering Excellence Award: For a company or individual who in the last 12 months has added game-changing engineering to any product in any business & industry.

Disruptive Technology: For the company in any sector whose science or technology is deemed to be genuinely game-changing.

Technology Scale-up: For the hi-tech company that in the previous 12 months has broadened its market reach globally, scaled headcount in a major way, secured significantly increased investment or added noticeable power to its core technology proposition.

Life Science Scale-up: For the Life Science business that has shown most progress in the preceding 12 months in terms of scaling headcount, broadening vertical markets or increasing the potency of its pipeline.

International Trade Champion: For a company in any industry that has significantly broadened its export sales or access to global markets.

Lifetime Achievement Award: To recognise an extraordinary career devoted to innovation and commercial success for the benefit of society and the UK economy.

Life Science Innovation: For the organisation or individual who has done the most to further the cause of life science discovery for the benefit of human healthcare.

Cambridge Judge Business School Woman Entrepreneur of the Year: For a woman entrepreneur who can demonstrate outstanding achievements in the last 12 months and who inspires and nurtures other women to excel. 

Sustainability Champion: For the company whose science or technology is deemed to hold most potential to dramatically reduce or eliminate the carbon footprint of businesses and industries.

Academic Entrepreneur of the Year: For outstanding work by an academic as an innovator, founder or consultant in the past 12 months.
AI Innovation: Two prizes here – for the most successful deployment of Artificial Intelligence in hi-tech and in the life sciences.

Quoted Company of The Year: For an East of England business listed on any public market that has delivered best value for shareholders in the last 12 months.

Investment of the Year: For a deal that is deemed to be a game-changer in terms of amount invested or potential impact following investment, regardless of the amount of money raised.

From these a Business of the Year will be selected to join a Hall of Fame that includes Abcam, ARM, Autonomy, AVEVA, British Sugar, Cambridge Quantum, CSR, Darktrace, Domino, Frontier Developments, Horizon Discovery, Ieso Digital Health, Perkins Engines, Pi Group, Ryanair, TTP and Treatt plc.

• To enter the awards visit https://www.businessweekly.co.uk/business-awards/enter-awards or email tquested [at] businessweekly.co.uk (Tony Quested).

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