26 Feb

Record haul of nominations for Leicestershire Innovation Awards

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Leicestershire Innovation Awards judges will have a record number of entries to consider in 2024.

Almost 100 nominations were submitted for the annual event, led for the first time this year by the LLEP Business Gateway Growth Hub.

The Leicestershire Innovation Awards recognises the brightest, most innovative businesses in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Dozens of local businesses, non-profits, researchers, and other other organisations have put themselves forward across 10 categories.

This year’s ceremony will be held at SportPark 4, on the Loughborough University campus, on 20 March. 

It will be hosted by Leicester Tigers matchday announcer and former BBC Radio Leicester presenter, turned podcast host, Martin Ballard.

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE DL, Chair of the LLEP Innovation Board, said:

The brilliant response to our call for awards nominations is clear evidence of the growing focus Leicestershire businesses place on the importance of innovation as they start and build new firms, deliver new concepts, increase their productivity and accelerate their business impact.

The awards will once again serve to recognise, reward and celebrate this unrelenting focus on innovation within our business communities – a focus which is delivering for our businesses, but also for our economy and our communities, as our businesses grow, achieve and prosper.

Phoebe Dawson, Chief Executive, Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), said:

The awards are one of the most exciting and dynamic celebrations of local innovators in the Midlands.

Record nomination numbers demonstrate that the desire continues to grow to celebrate and share ideas that are increasing productivity and growth across our city and county.

Judges will bring a wealth of experience over coming weeks as they select the winners for 2024.

Sitting on the panel will be:

  • Kathryn Burchell, Head of Partnerships and Knowledge Exchange, Loughborough University;
  • Scott Charlish, Head of Financial Planning East Midlands, RBC Brewin Dolphin.
  • Martin Coats, Operations and Commercial Development Director, Exemplas;
  • Marcus Harrison, Faster Britain Ambassador, ITS Technology Group;
  • Stuart Hilton, Head of Commercial Partnerships, De Montfort University Leicester;
  • Harjit Saund, Partner in Real Estate, Freeths;
  • Hannah Steggles, Partner, Howes Percival;
  • Will Wells, Deputy Director of Research and Enterprise, University of Leicester;
  • Sarah Windrum, Future Mobility Lead, Horiba MIRA.

Sponsored by De Montfort University Leicester, the University of Leicester, and Loughborough University, the awards’ 10 categories celebrate positive change across a host of sectors.

Categories include include Innovation Catalyst, Innovation in Creative, Innovation in Education & Community, Innovation in Food & Drink, Innovation in Med-Tech and Life Sciences, Innovation in STEM industries; Innovation in Space; Innovation in Sport, Wellbeing and Accessibility; Innovation in Sustainability; University Student Innovation.

There are also categories for Innovator of the Year and Outstanding Contribution Award, both of which are closed to nominations and will be decided by the judges.

The awards form part of Leicestershire Innovation Festival 2024. More than 1,000 people attended 20+ events during this year’s festival, which this year focused on the theme ‘Small Change, Big Impact’.