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25 September, 2016 - 17:25 By Kate Sweeney

Winning Business Weekly Awards can put you ahead of the curve

Companies keen to push their profile and find new avenues for sales need look no further than the Business Weekly Awards to enhance their proposition.

Organisations that have entered these Awards since they began in 1990 have won even if they haven’t officially won prizes!

Every company that enters is guaranteed promotion in print and online to a local, regional national and global audience of potential customers, collaborators, investors and – who knows? – acquirers.

Make the shortlist and there are additional promotions along the way to the Awards presentation dinner next March when the winners will be unveiled Oscars-style.

All shortlisted companies receive invitations to the glittering Awards dinner, where you rub shoulders with the region’s key business executives and influencers. On the night you also receive name-checking, on-screen logo branding and biographies in literature on all guests’ tables.

And for companies that win Awards, the payback is clear from the rich history of the competition. Companies that have won awards have traditionally received ongoing investment, outstanding kudos – and in many cases have been sold in highly lucrative exits. So these Awards are your key to not only fame but also a possible fortune.

In these post-Brexit days of uncertainty, simply entering our Awards provides the oxygen of publicity and the lifeblood of  staying at the cutting edge of Europe’s leading science & technology cluster.

In 26 years of the competition to date 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.

Domino went to Japanese industrial giant Brother Industries for $1.12bn; ARM has now delisted from the London Stock Exchange after the $31bn SoftBank deal was ratified; Autonomy went to HP for $11bn; Cambridge Antibody Technology was acquired by current Awards sponsor AstraZeneca for $788m; CSR was snapped up by Qualcomm for $2.4bn; vaccines specialist Acambis was bought by Sanofi for $546m; Virata went to Globespan for $1.3bn; US corporation Danaher acquired inkjet firm Willett International for what now seems a modest $110m; the inaugural and double winner Pi Group fetched an estimated $50m from Ford; and Perkins Engines was sold to US powerhouse Caterpillar Inc for $1.325bn – a bargain price even back then.

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.

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?

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. Sir Michael Marshall – president of Cambridge’s largest industrial employer, Marshall of Cambridge – and serial technology entrepreneur and investor, Dr Hermann Hauser, say they are “honoured” to lead our band of ‘Solomons.’

Business Weekly is also proud to be able to call on one of the UK’s brightest and busiest entrepreneurs, Sherry Coutu who steers two very special initiatives.
A former Cambridge ‘angel,’ Coutu co-founded the Silicon Valley Comes2Cambridge and UK initiatives which helps our companies scale globally with advisory input from US business builders.

She has also created the spectacularly successful Founders4Schools venture which sees hundreds of UK entrepreneurs visit thousands of school and college students to inspire them to consider starting their own companies.
There are two additions to this year’s panel: Bob Driver, the CEO of the influential Cambridge Wireless network; and John Lee, who has been a judge in previous years. Lee is ‘Mr Finance’ at the transatlantic tech business DisplayLink and is also a long-term investor in businesses.

Experience oozes from every pore of three other long-term judges: Richard Longdon, CEO of AVEVA; Charles Cotton, whose Cambridge Phenomenon enterprise charts the global progress of local companies, and Peter Cowley, a Cambridge Angel and also director of two angel investment funds founded by the Marshall Group.

Given the profile of the cluster, life science forms a major part of the Awards and Harriet Fear, chief executive at biotech member organisation One Nucleus, is again one of our leading judges.

A former British government diplomat, Fear has helped elevate the reputational capital of Cambridge life science to a broader world audience of investors and collaborators. She is joined on the panel by representatives of sponsors AstraZeneca and MedImmune and leading lights from other sponsor organisations.

To enter the Business Weekly Awards visit http://www.businessweekly.co.uk/business-awards/enter-awards – you can enter multiple categories.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Pi founder Tony Purnell

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