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6 December, 2016 - 00:13 By Tony Quested

Ten Businesses of the Year acquired for $50 billion

Tony Purnell Business Weekly Awards

In 26 years of the Business Weeky Awards competition there have been 21 different winners – ARM, CSR, Domino, Horizon Discovery and Pi Group having each won twice. Of these 21 different champions, 10 have been lucratively acquired in relatively short order for a combined $50 billion – mostly by US and all to overseas buyers.

All shortlisted companies receive invitations to the glittering Awards dinner, where you rub shoulders with the region’s key business executives and influencers. Companies that have won awards have traditionally received ongoing investment, outstanding kudos – and in many cases have been sold in highly lucrative exits.

Whether your business is a startup or a mature enterprise; excelling in business, manufacturing, science or technology; scaling globally or exporting like never before, these Awards allow you to highlight your success to date and lay the foundations for greater achievements in the future.

We also have two unique prizes – the Kate Gross Award for Social Enterprise and the Cambridge Judge Business School Woman Entrepreneur of the Year accolade.

The former seeks to recognise the individual or organisation that has done most to further the cause of social enterprise in the last year. The ‘Woman Entrepreneur’ Award was introduced last year and was a fantastic success. 

The overriding objective is to take a lump hammer to what appears to be a reinforced, double-glazed glass ceiling preventing more talented women from starting their own ventures or becoming leaders of existing companies.
From all the category winners we will choose a Business of the Year. Will one of the double winners create history by becoming champion for a third time?

Tony Purnell, who founded Pi and steered through a stream of telematics-related technologies for vehicles from trucks to Formula One race cars, told our Awards dinner two years ago when he was guest speaker that Ford would not have come knocking had he not entered – and won – the Awards.

He said the process gave Pi a discipline and focus on market validity that enabled the business to commercialise its technology much more successfully – making it an attractive acquisition target.

The competition will climax with a glittering presentation dinner at Queens’ College, Cambridge, on Wednesday March 22, 2017.

Having serial entrepreneurs as well as senior scientists & academics vetting applicants adds forensic depth to the judging process. Judges include Sir Michael Marshall – president of Cambridge’s largest industrial employer, Marshall of Cambridge; Acorn co-founder Dr Hermann Hauser;  Sherry Coutu. co-founder of Silicon Valley Comes2Cambridge; Richard Longdon, CEO of AVEVA; Charles Cotton of Cambridge Phenomenon; angel investor Peter Cowley; Harriet Fear of biotech member organisation, One Nucleus; Bob Driver of Cambridge Wireless; and DisplayLink’s John Lee.

Warren East, chief executive of engineering giant Rolls-Royce and formerly CEO at ARM, presented the prizes at last year’s event. He was a guest speaker along with Cambridge entrepreneur Sherry Coutu. Sponsors of the Awards are Mills & Reeve, Barclays, AstraZeneca, MedImmune, Cambridge Judge Business School, PwC, Marshall Group, TTP, St Johns Innovation Centre and Bailey Fisher.

The award categories are:

Startup of the Year: For the most exciting startup enterprise in any sector founded in the last 12 months.

Graduate Business of the Year: For a company founded by a Cambridge University alumnus that has shown outstanding commercial potential or success.

Engineering Excellence: For the engineering or manufacturing company that is deemed by the judges to have done most for the cause of industry in the preceding 12 months.

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

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

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 female entrepreneur who can demonstrate outstanding achievements in the last 12 months.

The Kate Gross Award for Social Enterprise: For the individual or organisation that has done most to further the cause of social enterprise in the last year.

Business of the Year: For the company in any sector that has taken the business world by storm and generated the wow factor.

To enter, visit

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Pi founder, Tony Purnell

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