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29 April, 2022 - 12:31 By Tony Quested

CleanTech startup injects more Oomph into Awards

One of the most exciting young businesses to enter this year’s Business Weekly Awards certainly doesn’t lack ambition!

Startup Oomph Ventures is aiming to win the Disruptive Technology and Sustainability Champion categories while founder Morag Hutcheon has entered the Cambridge Judge Business School Woman Entrepreneur of the Year category.

Oomph’s technology will provide the means for businesses to deliver rapid mobile EV charging. Using smart box battery technology and sophisticated software, the Oomph system will manage the complete process from customer request to EV charge whilst providing comprehensive data management information for the solution provider.

The aim will be to charge the smart box units using renewable energy before delivering charge to an electric vehicle – in an electric vehicle. Systems can either be plug and play or fully customised to each business need and will support carbon reduction policies.

With the option of both recovery and on-demand top up charge, Oomph is looking to blaze a trail in this sector. The company is actively seeking engineers to help take the technology forward.

Morag Hutcheon is former winner of British Female Inventor of the Year 2006 and was recognised by The Queen as a high achiever. A disruptive thinker with 30 years experience working as a business consultant and strategist, Hutcheon has a track record of helping global companies innovate.

She and business partner Professor Phil Gray have worked together for more than 25 years as award-winning designers and innovators for global corporations. 

Among the promising candidates for honours is Arecor Therapeutics which last year raised £20 million through an oversubscribed AIM IPO. Led by CEO Dr Sarah Howell, Arecor is transforming patient care by bringing innovative medicines to market through the enhancement of existing therapeutic products.

Arecor’s proprietary product portfolio is currently focused on diabetes and specialty hospital care. For partners, it develops novel enhanced formulations of their biological products that include biosimilars, biological products and vaccines.

Another exciting contender is AudioTelligence – a spinout from CEDAR Audio – a world leader in audio restoration, speech enhancement and audio forensic investigation. The company’s ‘Aiso for Hearing’ product has been demonstrated to improve speech understanding in noisy environments from five per cent to a staggering 98 per cent – a significant improvement over existing commercially available devices.

The company raised $8.5m in Series A funding in 2021 – a round led by Octopus Ventures with participation from existing investors Cambridge Innovation Capital, Cambridge Enterprise and CEDAR Audio.

Another thoroughbred in a high-class field is CN Bio Innovations which has developed a Liver-on-a-Chip specifically designed for the research of drug metabolism, toxicology and liver diseases. 

Based at Cambridge Science Park, CN Bio Innovations is a leading cell culture company that has developed single and multi-organ microphysiological systems that improve the accuracy and efficiency of drug discovery.

It completed a c.£6.9 million investment round in March, 2021 to support the expansion of its commercial operations across key markets in the US and Europe – including relocation to bigger premises in Cambridge.

The Business Weekly Awards are sponsored by Mills & Reeve, AstraZeneca, Barclays, PwC, Arm, TTP, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Marshall Group, Cambridge Judge Business School, Kao Data, Invoke Capital, Excalibur Healthcare, Cambridge Science Park, Chesterford Research Park, St John’s Innovation Centre and Cambridge Network.

Law firm Mills & Reeve, the lead forensic sponsor for the Business Weekly Awards, is already conducting interviews with entrants and will compile confidential reports for the judging panel.

To return the competition to a 12 month cycle, the banquet at Queens’ College has been booked for September 8 and entries across all categories extended until July 29. This year’s 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.

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

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