Building the World's Most Innovative Economy

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The inaugural Launch: Great West Awards evening will take place on June 6th 2019. 

This summer Bristol will host The Launch: Great West Awards to celebrate the growth of scientific start-up ecosystems across the South West and Wales. The awards will honour the achievements of science-driven companies across all disciplines with categories that recognise different business stages: from recently incorporated ventures to companies that have secured noteworthy fund-raises and exits.

The term “Great West” refers to the regions of the South West England and South Wales, as defined in the Life Science Sector Deal, part of the UK Industrial Strategy. This influential report highlights the Great West’s blend of fast-growing scientific industry and infrastructure, SME ecosystems, and world-leading research. Added together, these ingredients define a community that is primed to realise two ambitious goals: to become one of the best places to start and grow a business and to help build the world’s most innovative economy.

“The South West displays exceptional research strengths across life sciences, quantum technologies, robotics and advanced engineering. Recently, there has been a major increase in business formation around ideas derived from academic research. By holding an event, agnostic to scientific discipline, we hope to highlight the breadth and depth of emerging technologies within the region” states Dr Ben Miles, CEO of Spin Up Science Ltd, the organising group behind the event. 

“The inspiration for the event came from a desire to unite and champion the growth of science-driven businesses in the region, which historically has lagged behind innovation clusters such as the Golden Triangle. As the barrier to entry for starting a science company continues to fall with improved access to incubation centres and acceleration programs, the region has seen significantly increased commercialisation activity, as innovative scientific ideas are applied to tackle market problems.” 

Dr Andy Boyce, Innovations Manager at the Bristol BioDesign Institute adds that “it will be incredibly exciting to see the companies compete for these awards and be rewarded for all their successes. We have been astonished by the growth of new innovation in the South West, particularly from biodesign, which uses engineering approaches to accelerate innovation in biotech and life sciences. The acquisition of Ziylo for a deal that could exceed $800M is one example of what can be achieved, and there are a range of academic projects and new spinouts following on their heels.” 

 “The scientific ecosystem in the West of England is growing quickly and shows little sign of slowing down, it’s a very exciting time for entrepreneurs, SMEs and investors in the sector,” affirms Dr Ashley Brewer, the Centre Director of Unit DX, a scientific incubator in the centre of Bristol.  

In its first year, Bristol will host Launch: Great West, with the event taking place in other cities across the South West and Wales in subsequent years.  


The Launch: Great West awards will take place on June 6th 2019 at Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel. More information can be found at or on twitter: @LaunchGW.

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