7 Mar

Finalists gather ahead of Leicestershire Innovation Awards 2024

LLEP site

Leicestershire Innovation Awards finalists met to exchange ideas as anticipation builds ahead of the presentation ceremony later this month.

Shortlisted businesses joined sponsors and other guests gathered at De Montfort University (DMU) last night for a pre-awards event.

The awards are this year being led by the LLEP Business Gateway Growth Hub for the first time.

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE DL, Chair of the LLEP Innovation Board, congratulated entrants for reaching the final shortlist. He said: 
“Everyone reaching the shortlist has, in fact, already succeeded.

“The standard of entries has been so high this year – competition has been incredibly strong.

“Our finalists have all demonstrated exceptional achievement, commercial impact, technical excellence, and creativity – all underpinned by an innovative mindset.

“Our entrepreneurial community throughout Leicestershire is driving growth through innovation, creating jobs and strengthening our economy – we have much to celebrate together.”

Phoebe Dawson, Chief Executive of the Leicester and Leicestershire Economic Partnership (LLEP) noted that innovative thinking was required from the Growth Hub itself as it took the lead on the awards for the first time late last year.

She said: 

“We worked with partners and sponsors to secure the event for 2024, build a whole new nomination platform, and secure a record haul of nominees,” she told the audience.

“The finalists from those nominees are here tonight and it’s great to meet face-to-face.”

Phoebe described the Business Gateway Growth Hub’s work in supporting innovative small businesses over recent years, with gains in productivity made across a host of sectors.

“The Growth Hub will continue joining up the dots for local businesses needing support as the LLEP transitions into a new structure over coming months,” she added.

Government has previously confirmed that central funding for LEPs is to be withdrawn at the end of March 2024. It intends to transfer LEP functions to the control of local authorities.

Phoebe said:

“Innovation remains a central pillar of the Economic Growth Strategy,” Phoebe added.

“The current LLEP-led agenda will transition over coming months to the body which leads future economic growth in our region.”

Attendees at last night’s event enjoyed the opportunity to network, learn more about the shortlisted nominations at the event hosted by sponsor DMU.

Helen Donellan, Director of Research, Business and Innovation at DMU, said:

“Innovation is at the centre of everything we do at DMU, and we’re proud to have been shortlisted for five prestigious Leicestershire Innovation Awards.

“We want to encourage everyone to recognise innovation can happen in each and every organisation no matter how large or small.”

Sponsored by DMU, University of Leicester, and Loughborough University, the awards categories celebrate positive change. Winners will be revealed at SportPark, in Loughborough, on the evening of March 20.

Almost 100 nominations were received for this year’s awards, which form part of Leicestershire Innovation Festival 2024.

More than 1,000 people attended 20+ events during this year’s festival, which focused on the theme ‘Small Change, Big Impact’.